Our Fees – Grant of Probate and Estate Administration for Simple UK Estates

Typical Fees: £750+VAT (£900) to £15,000+VAT (£18,000)

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 £750+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 Probate

  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 Oath 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 but we aren’t able to do this within the fixed fee service for Grant of Probate due to the amount of work and time typically required
  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. Identifying and tracing the beneficiaries of the estate.  If there is no Will this will follow the rules of intestacy
  2. Collecting all assets in ready for sale, transfer or distribution
  3. Making distributions/payments to beneficiaries
  4. Transferring non-monetary assets
  5. Paying off funeral expenses, debts and other liabilities
  6. Managing any property in the estate (for example paying bills or selling the property)
  7. Preparing final estate accounts and arranging for signature by the main beneficiaries

What services are not included in a standard Probate and Estate Administration?

Where an estate is more complex there will be extra steps involved and our fees will be higher than a simple estate.  We generally charge an hourly rate or agree a fee as a percentage of the value of the estate but we will always agree the basis of our fees in advance before starting work.  Items we would consider non-routine or more complex include:

  1. Estates with overseas assets or where the deceased lived abroad
  2. Estates with disputes between any of the parties involved
  3. Registering/notifying the death (this is normally done by the family but we can assist if you would like us to)
  4. Estates where there is no Will, no surviving spouse/civil partner and no surviving adult children
  5. Carrying out searches for a Will on the national will database or elsewhere
  6. Advice on appointing executors where this is not covered in a Will
  7. Dealing with inheritance tax, income tax or capital gains tax issues or investigations
  8. Advice on varying the Will or the estate
  9. Completing the Inheritance Tax form IHT217 or IHT402 to transfer unused nil rate band
  10. Detailed advice on the meaning or validity of the existing Will

Other Costs (also known as “Disbursements”)

During the Probate process we will need to make some payments to third parties on your behalf.  These are commonly called “disbursements” and we will add them onto your bill without any mark up.

For Probate, these costs may include:

  • Probate Registry fees at the current rate (£155 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 (50p per copy at present and we normally order at least 5 copies)
  • Valuation fees for any antiques or unusual assets
  • House clearance fees
  • Property maintenance fees – insurances, bills etc
  • Advertising statutory notices

Key stages and timescales for your case

  1. Initial meeting to discuss your matter and gather the necessary information
  2. We will send you a client care letter explaining the terms of our engagement for you to sign and return
  3. We will gather together all of the necessary paperwork belonging to the deceased and then go through it to establish their assets and liabilities
  4. We will write to their banks, lenders, pension providers, investments managers, council tax department, DWP, HMRC etc to obtain values for their assets and liabilities
  5. We will obtain a rough valuation of any property they own by comparing with sale prices of similar properties
  6. Once all assets and liabilities have been ascertained we will complete and submit the Probate Application form to obtain the Grant of Probate and an appropriate number of copies of the Grant, sealed by the court.  We will pay the Probate fees at this point.
  7. We will complete and submit the Inheritance Tax forms and arrange with you for payment any Inheritance Tax due at that point.
  8. We will then discuss with you whether you would like us to administer the estate on your behalf or whether you would like to take over at that point
  9. Identifying and tracing the beneficiaries of the estate
  10. Collecting all assets in to the estate ready for sale, transfer or distribution
  11. Making distributions/payments to beneficiaries and selling or transferring non-monetary assets
  12. Paying off funeral expenses, debts and other liabilities
  13. Managing any property in the estate (for example paying bills or selling the property) until sold or transferred
  14. Preparing final estate accounts and arranging for signature by the main beneficiaries

Our Private Client team

Owen Thomas – Head of Private Client

Experience:  Owen is a solicitor with over 17 years experience giving advice on Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate, Estate Administration and other private client legal issues.

Percentage of time spent on Private Client law:  100% 

Charge out rate (where applicable):  £217/hour

Nick Welch – Director

Experience:  Nick is a Director of Backhouse Solicitors and a solicitor with over 35 years experience giving advice on Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate, Estate Administration and other private client legal issues.  He also specialises in commercial and property related legal issues.

Percentage of time spent on Private Client law:  50%

Charge out rate (where applicable):  £250/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):  £130/hour