How Much Does A Solicitor Charge For Probate?
Probate is the term given to the process of administering a deceased person’s estate. Where the deceased left a Will, they will have nominated individuals, known as executors, to carry out this process. If they died intestate, meaning they did not leave a Will, the Court will appoint people – often family members – to act as administrators and administer the estate.
While executors and administrators are not legally obliged to instruct solicitors to assist them with their duties, many choose to do so. Some have no previous experience of the probate process and can feel overwhelmed and confused by what is expected of them. The law imposes numerous duties on those tasked with administering an estate, and a failure to adhere to those duties can render the executors or administrators personally liable for any mistakes or wrongdoing. Many, however, are concerned about the level of legal fees the Estate will incur and we are often asked, ‘How much does a solicitor charge for probate?’ We understand these concerns and provide first class legal advice in the most cost-effective way possible. Here, we explain how a solicitor can help lessen the burden of the probate process and provide a breakdown of the likely fees you can expect to incur when instructing us.
How Can A Solicitor Help In The Probate Process?
We offer a comprehensive and complete probate service. Our probate solicitors are specialists in the field and have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the probate process. You will be allocated an expert probate solicitor who will work on your matter from start to finish and be on hand to answer any queries you may have.
Examples of the types of issues we regularly assist with include:
- Identifying the executors and administrators based on the terms of the Will or inheritance laws;
- Advising on the appropriate probate application;
- Advising on the documentation required to support your probate application and assisting you in obtaining that documentation where necessary;
- Completing the relevant probate application on your behalf and ensuring it is correctly submitted;
- Completing the forms required by HMRC in relation to inheritance tax and liaising with HMRC on your behalf;
- Collecting and distributing all of the Estate’s assets in accordance with the Will or pursuant to inheritance laws.
- Paying disbursements where the estate is solvent (save for funeral costs, inheritance tax and probate fees).
How Much Do Solicitors Charge For Probate?
In straightforward cases, our fees are based on the value of the estate, and are 1.5% plus VAT of the gross value of the Estate. Please note that this is subject to a minimum fee of £1,500 plus VAT. Disbursements are payable in addition to our fees.
Disbursements are sums due to third parties (other than us), such as the Court when making an Application, or the Land Registry when conducting Land Registry searches.
Disbursements might include:
- Funeral costs and Death Certificate.
- Costs of clearing the deceased’s house and other properties.
- Gas, electric, telephone and council tax bills.
- Estate agent’s fees.
- Inheritance tax. The current rate of inheritance tax is 40% on the value of the estate that exceeds the inheritance tax threshold, currently £325,000. Certain gifts are exempt from inheritance tax and there may be allowances available to the Estate.
- Probate application fee. This is currently £273 for Estates worth over £5,000.
- Costs for tracing beneficiaries, estimated at £60 per person.
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£5.00 per beneficiary).
- Advert in the London Gazette and local newspaper to protect you from claims against the Estate, charged at roughly £150.00 plus VAT each.
- Will Search at an estimated cost of £350.00 plus VAT.
- Valuating the contents of the deceased’s property at an estimated cost of £500.00 plus VAT;
- Land Registry Fees.
- Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax.
- The costs involved in filing returns or paying any fines and interest owed by the deceased and/or the Estate.
How Much Does A Solicitor Charge For Probate If The Matter Is Complex?
Every estate is different, so the issues that need to be resolved can be wide and varied. Any additional work will be charged at our usual hourly rate. We will explain our billing procedures to you at the outset of the matter and keep you updated on fees with regular estimates and breakdowns.
The types of issues that can lead to additional fees include:
- Dealing with Estate assets located abroad;
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of Estate property;
- Advising and addressing any contested probate matters that may arise. These might be because the validity of the Will is disputed, the conduct of the executors or administrators is questioned, or claims may be made against the Estate.
How Much Do Solicitors Charge For Probate When Providing A ‘Grant Only Service?’
If you intend to administer the Estate yourself but require assistance with obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, we offer a ‘Grant Only Service’.
Incomplete or incorrect probate applications can lead to considerable delays, so it is crucial to ensure the forms are completed and submitted accurately. Under our Grant Only service we will prepare all relevant paperwork and submit it on your behalf. Once the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration have been obtained, you will be responsible for administering the Estate.
Our fees for our Grant Only Service vary depending on the Inheritance Tax situation and range from £950 to £2,000 plus VAT.