Legal fees for applying for the grant of probate, collecting and distributing the assets
Probate work is complicated because there are many variables that impact on the steps required to collect and distribute an estate’s assets. The fees for probate work listed here relate to uncontested cases where all the assets are in the UK. This includes both testate (where there is a Will) and intestate (where there is no Will) and taxable and non-taxable estates.
We anticipate that as a general rule of thumb, probate fees roughly equate to 1.5 - 2.5% of the gross value of the estate + VAT + disbursements.
As a guidance, for an estate worth:
- £200,000 the fees will likely be in the region of £3,000 to £5,000 + VAT;
- £300,000 the fees will likely be in the region of £4,500 to £7,500 + VAT;
- £400.000 the fees will likely be in the region of £6,000 to £10,000 + VAT;
- £500,000 the fees will likely be in the region of £7,500 to £12,500 + VAT; and
- £1,000,000 the fees will likely be in the region of £15,000 to £25,000 + VAT.
We will handle the full process for you and the exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. In all the above examples, much will depend on the composition of the assets of the estate. 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 may be at the higher end (for a house worth £600,000 and £50,000 in one bank account our fees are likely to be lower and in the region of £2,500 + VAT).
The lower value quotes are for estates where:
- There is a valid 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 less than 8 beneficiaries;
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs;
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC); and
- There are no claims made against the estate.
Included in our costs for the administration of an estate would be the settlement of taxes that arise as follows:
- Income tax up to the date of death;
- Inheritance tax for the estate;
- Capital gains tax up to the date of death; and
- Income tax and capital gains tax for administration period.
Also it is worth noting that whilst a larger estate may be more complicated and therefore will be subject to a higher fee this may not always be the case and with an estate above a certain value, the percentage paid in probate fees may be less than the percentage paid on a lower value matter. Conversely at the other end of the scale, with an estate below a certain value the same steps in probate will need to be undertaken therefore resulting in the fees being a higher percentage value. Much may depend on the inheritance tax (IHT) arising and the nature of the beneficiaries. For example if there is £1m estate being left to a spouse or civil partner in a Will, even though this is a large amount it is likely that no IHT will be paid as the spouse or civil partner exemption applies.
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 not included in this fee are:
- Probate application fee: £155 (no VAT to pay) on an estate in excess of £5,000, if any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50p (1 per asset usually);
- Search fees – copies from Land Registry: £3 - £6 per title;
- Swearing of the oath (per executor): £5 plus £2 for each Will or codicil;
- Registration fee if property being retained:
- £200 for first registration; and
- £150 thereafter depending on the value of the house (sliding scale from Land Registry).
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches £2 per beneficiary;
- Post in The London Gazette and local/national newspaper (protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors): £300 (approximately, including VAT); and
- Telegraphic transfer fee: £30 + VAT per payment.
Potential additional costs or issues that impact on costs:
- If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with;
- If the probate is contested or the lack of provision is challenged by a beneficiary;
- There are assets that are overseas;
- The assets are complicated and/ or of a high value;
- When HMRC investigate tax affairs;
- When Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) investigate benefit history;
- Beneficiaries can’t be found;
- The executors are dead or lacking capacity;
- The Will contains an extensive number of legacies;
- If there is a Trust associated with the estate;
- If there is a deed of variation to alter inheritance which is uncontested; and
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range could be dealt with within 3-6 months. Typically:
- Obtaining the grant of probate takes between 6 – 8 weeks, depending on the nature of the assets;
- Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 6 – 8 weeks and if there is property to be sold this can be longer;
- Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes a further 6 - 8 weeks;
- If the estate is likely to suffer IHT then it will be dependent on how quickly HMRC respond from delivery of the estate papers to them. This can take up to 2 months or even longer;
- If the DWP query the benefits paid, it can take over 6 months for them to respond; and if the estate is contested or challenged in some way then that will significantly alter/affect the ability to administer the estate.
The team’s experience:
The Wills, Trusts & Probate team have a wealth of experience and deliver a high quality service to families and individuals. There are seven permanent staff assisted by support staff.
Find out more about the service and experience that our Wills, Trusts & Probate team provide.
For further information on our fees and on how our Wills Trusts & Probate team can help you or your family please call:
- Peterborough 01733 882800
- Huntingdon 01480 411224
- Oundle 01832 273506
- St Neots 01480 702207