Fees start at: £1,000+VAT

Probate is the process of getting legal permission (“Grant of Probate”) to administer someone’s estate after they die.  It is also often used to describe the process of administering the estate after Grant is obtained, although this is technically known as Estate Administration.

Dealing with the death of a loved one is stressful enough without having to worry about form filling and dealing with HMRC.  At Backhouse Solicitors, we can assist with all or any part of the process from a fixed-fee service to obtain the Grant of Probate for £1,000+VAT up to a full estate administration.

What services are included in this figure?

The probate process is most easily understood as two separate stages, obtaining the Grant of Probate and then Administering the Estate to distribute all assets to the beneficiaries and pay any liabilities.  Here we outline the typical steps for a complete Estate Administration, split for convenience into the two main stages.  Please note the process describes an uncontested, straightforward, UK-only estate, but this will be just right for most clients that we see.

Stage 1 – Obtaining Grant of Representation

  1. An initial meeting with one of our solicitors to discuss your circumstances and explain the probate process to you. Our free 30 minute consultation policy means that there is no charge if you would prefer to end the meeting during the first half hour.
  2. Where there is a Will – acting for the executors of the Will to obtain the Grant of Probate.
  3. Where there is no Will – acting for the surviving spouse, civil partner or adult children to obtain the Grant of Letters of Administration.
  4. Drafting the necessary Statement of Truth supporting the application for Grant of Probate.
  5. Completing the short form Inheritance Tax return IHT205. Where the estate is large enough to pay Inheritance Tax, we will instead complete the long form Inheritance Tax return IHT400. Where a form IHT400 is required, our fees are typically between £1,500 – £2,000 + VAT + Disbursements.
  6. Paying any Inheritance Tax due.
  7. Obtaining the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration and court copies.

Stage 2 – Administering the Estate

  1. In addition to obtaining the Grant of Representation: contacting all banks, building societies, financial information, utility companies etc…
  2. Identifying and tracing the beneficiaries of the estate. If there is no Will, this follows the rules of intestacy.
  3. Collecting in all assets ready for sale, transfer or distribution.
  4. Making distributions/payments to beneficiaries.
  5. Transferring non-monetary assets.
  6. Paying off funeral expenses, debts and other liabilities.
  7. Managing any property in the estate (for example paying bills or selling the property).
  8. Preparing final estate accounts and arranging for signature by the personal representatives.

We can provide an estimate of our fees for administration of estate at first interview.

Fees are charged on the time spent at the hourly rates set out below.

As a guide, fees are generally estimated at between 1% to 2% of the gross value of the estate.  However, for straightforward estates, we estimate our fees at between £3,000 – £4,500 + VAT and Disbursements.

A straightforward estate would be one in which:

  • There is a valid Will which is not being contested.

  • There is only one property.

  • There are no more than 3 bank or building society accounts.

  • There are no other intangible assets i.e. shares.

  • There are no more than 4 beneficiaries who are traceable.

  • There are no trusts in the Will.

  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC.

  • There is no requirement to obtain clearance from HMRC for income or capital gains tax.

  • There are no claims made against the estate.

  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets

Other Costs (also known as “Disbursements”)

Examples of disbursements include:

  • Probate Registry fees at the current rate (£300 at present for estates over the value of £5,000) – these will be payable in virtually all cases

  • Court fees for sealed copies of the Grant of Probate (£1.50 per copy at present and we normally order at least 5 copies)

  • Valuation fees for any antiques or unusual assets

  • Advertising statutory notices

Our Private Client Team

Colin Murphy – Solicitor

Experience: Colin qualified as a solicitor in 1996 now specialises in giving advice on Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate, Estate Administration and other private client legal issues. Colin is a full member of The Association of Lifetime Lawyers (formerly SFE – Solicitors for the Elderly), and a full member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Percentage of time spent on Private Client law: 100%

Charge out rate (where applicable): £350/hour

Tina Prajapati – Solicitor

Experience: Tina started working at solicitor’s firms in 2013 and has over 10 years experience.

Percentage of time spent on Private Client law: 100%

Charge out rate (where applicable): £260/hour

Wendy Smith – Probate Executive

Experience: Wendy has worked in Probate and Estate Administration for over 30 years in industry and legal practice.

Percentage of time spent on Private Client law: 100%

Charge out rate (where applicable): £240/hour