Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

The exact cost of probate will depend entirely on the individual circumstances of the matter.

For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

Where ever possible Askews Solicitors would like the opportunity to discuss your circumstances with you and provide you with a bespoke quote. We would always do so before you instruct us and confirm such charges in our client care papers.

We can handle the full process for you, however we understand that some clients wish to deal with the more personal aspects of the administration themselves, such as emptying property of contents or marketing any property. We are very happy to discuss these options with you and provide support where required.

Our hourly rate uncontested probate fee structure is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will or an intestacy (no will)
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 10 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are fewer than 10 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets and there are no claims made against the estate by disappointed parties. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs but we would discuss this with you.
  • If there is inheritance tax payable and the executors need to submit a full account to HM Revenue & Customs and settle tax on your behalf, then additional work can become due and our costs may increase, we would discuss this with you.

In general terms, we anticipate acting for you in administering a non-contentious estate will take between 8 and 15 hours work at the hourly rate of the fee earner in conduct of the matter (currently between £150 and £201 per hour) which would be confirmed with you at the outset.

Total costs estimated are between £1,500 and £3,000 (plus VAT). We may also look to charge a value element, depending on the value of the assets in the estate and this is likely to be between 0.5% and 0.75% of the value of property and 1% and 1.5% of the value of other assets, depending on the complexity of the matter and whether the directors of the firm are appointed as executors in the will.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Disbursements which may be charged in addition to this fee:

  • Probate application fee of £273 (from 26/01/22) with 50p per additional copy, however this fee is set by the courts and is currently in consideration by Parliament and this may change in the future.
  • £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor), however this is currently subject to change as oaths may shortly be dispenses with by a change in law enacted by Parliament.
  • Bankruptcy-only: Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary) and £3 if it is necessary to check the title to any property owned by the deceased.
  • If there is property in the estate then estate agents and surveyors often charge a fee and this would be payable by the estate.  We would discuss this and the options available with you.
  • A fee to post a notice in the London Gazette and a local paper, which protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. This is charged by the printers per letter and so the cost is subject to change. This is usually in the region of £250 (incl. VAT).

Potential additional costs

  • Some estates are chargeable to Inheritance Tax, Income tax or Capital Gains tax, and these costs will be raised with you if they become relevant, if we are required to complete tax returns then this may increase our time spent on the matter.
  • We will advise you in respect of insurance policies which may need to be considered by executors to protect property in the estate and any costs of this will be discussed with you.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included and we would pass you to our conveyancing department who would provide you with a competitive quote for such work.
  • If there is a claim by the Department for Work and Pensions against the estate for overpaid benefits, then this can add delays and cost to the estate, we would discuss this with the executors.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 4-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2-3 months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 1-2 months. Once this has been done, we prepare estate accounts and can discuss with the executors distribution of the assets or a partial distribution, which normally takes 2-3 weeks providing beneficiaries co-operate in providing the information required to prove their entitlement.