Uncontested Probate Costs

Uncontested Probate Costs

Introduction

Uncontested probate is where there is no dispute over the Will and distribution of assets.

Below we provide you with information on our Legal Fees, disbursements and the length of time it will take to complete your matter.

Legal Fees and Disbursements

Legal Fees is the amount you will be required to pay for all of the work performed by us in actioning your instructions, from commencement of your case to conclusion. VAT will be payable on our fees and some disbursements, currently 20%, and we will clearly confirm which disbursements carry VAT in our formal quotation or as we advise you to incur them.

Our fees are calculated on a ‘time-spent’ basis rather than being based on a percentage of the value of the estate. As such every estate is different and the estimated fees depend very much on the complexity of the estate. We will always give an estimate at our first meeting.

Obtaining a grant of probate only

We estimate that if you require us to obtain a grant of probate only and you are happy to deal with the remainder of the estate, our fees will normally be between £1,500.00 – £2,500.00 plus VAT. (£1,800.00 – £3,000.00 Inc VAT)

Standard case

We anticipate that a standard case will take between 12 and 20 hours work at £275.00 plus VAT (£330.00 Inc VAT) per hour. Total costs would be estimated at between £3,000 – £6,000 plus VAT (£3,600.00 – £7,200.00 Inc. VAT).

The exact cost will depend 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 higher.

We will handle the full Administration process for you.

Our Standard Fee estimate above is for estates where: –

  • There is a valid will.
  • There is no more than one property.
  • There are no more than £325,000 in bank or building society accounts.
  • There are no other intangible assets.
  • There are 1 – 2 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 HMRC.
  • There are no claims made against the estate.
  • There is no tax clearance awaited for either inheritance or income tax.

More complex cases

We anticipate that the majority of more complex cases will take between 20 hours and 35 hours work at £275.00 plus VAT (£330.00 Inc VAT) per hour. Total costs would be estimated at £6,000 – £9,500 plus VAT (£7,200.00 – £11,400.00 Inc VAT)

The most complex cases taking longer than 35 hours work will cost more than £9,500 plus VAT (£11,400.00 Inc VAT)

The complexity of an estate will depend on many of the following factors, such as:

  • whether inheritance tax is payable
  • if there is a large number of beneficiaries or assets
  • if there are labour intensive assets (for example a property that we need to clear
  • if there are a large number of individual shareholdings outside of a portfolio
  • if there is more than one property or rental properties
  • if there are foreign assets
  • if there is a business
  • if there are related trusts
  • if there are negotiations required with DWP or HM Revenue & Customs or the District Valuer
  • if there are complex tax calculations (for example income or capital gains tax)

Our average fees assume that:

  1. The transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise.
  2. All parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from any parties providing documentation.

If at any stage our fees change, we will notify you and discuss the reason for any changes. This would typically occur if you change your instructions or your case involves an unforeseen complexity.

  • We will add VAT to the charge at the rate that applies when the work is done.  At present VAT is 20%.
  • We will charge the sum of £27.50 plus VAT (a total of £33.00 Inc. VAT) for electronic money transfers.
  • None of the above fee estimates include conveyancing fees which are estimated separately, and the estimates are made assuming that there are no claims against the estate or disagreements between beneficiaries or executors, we are able to easily contact and/or trace all assets and beneficiaries, and we receive timely responses from executors, beneficiaries, HMRC and other third parties.

Disbursements

These are costs that will be incurred by the estate that have to be paid to a third party, such as the Land Registry or court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. You will be provided with a full list of disbursements in our formal quotation. If you need to incur any further disbursements during your case, you will be notified in advance of the reason and the amount.

The likely disbursements in an estate administration matter are:

  • Probate application fee of £273.00 plus 50p per copy of the grant required
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
  • Post in The London Gazette and a local newspaper £150.00 – £200.00 – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • Land Registry search fee of £3.60 per copy of Register of Title for a property

Timescales

The timescales for finalising an estate are difficult to predict accurately, particularly if there is a property that needs to be sold, but as a guide a simple case can sometimes be finalised within 6-12 months, most more complex estate between 12 months to 24 months, and many of the most complicated estates will take longer than that.

Stages of the Process

  • The precise stages involved in an uncontested probate vary according to the circumstances. We have set out the key stages of a standard transaction: – 
  • Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter.
  • Undertaking regulatory checks.
  • Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries.
  • Accurately identifying the type of Probate application, you will require.
  • Obtaining the relevant documents required to make the application.
  • Completing the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms.
  • Drafting a legal statement for you to sign.
  • Making the application to HMCTS / The Probate Registry on your behalf.
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate and securely sending copies to you.
  • Collecting and distributing all assets in the estate.

Potential additional costs

Further potential costs may arise where: –

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (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. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 + VAT (£1.80 inc. VAT) (1 per asset usually).
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

Fee Earners Our private client team has many years of experience in dealing with all aspects of probate and estate administration.  We have four members of the team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Nigel Sims, Solicitor and Head of Probate and Estate Administration. – for more information on our probate team, please click here https://bookersandbolton.co.uk/about-us/meet-the-team/