Probate fee guide

Introduction

Thank you for considering our probate services. We appreciate that bereavement is an extremely stressful and difficult time. Dealing with a person’s financial affairs after they have died can be an extremely difficult task especially as these days people are leading increasingly complex lives. Irrespective of whether or not they have left a Will or indeed whether they are wealthy the responsibility for the next of kin can be overwhelming.

Our Team

All members of our private client team are qualified (or training) so you can be sure that upon receiving your instructions the estate will be administered professionally by a team who have many years of experience in this area of law.

Many of our team are members of the Society of Trust Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly which gives them an added depth of expertise when administering an estate.

From the outset, we will give you a clear timeframe as to how long we expect the estate administration to take and it is our aim to keep all those involved in the estate administration advised at key stages throughout.

The process of an estate administration can sometimes be time consuming and complex with unexpected delays such as enquiries from HMRC or unexpected disputes between beneficiaries. Please be wary if you are comparing quotes online as sometimes unrealistic time estimates or charges may be quoted. At Dunn and Baker, if circumstances arise which will lead to unexpected additional costs or delays then we will notify you as soon as possible and agree a revised timescale and cost estimate.

What will it cost?

Usually our charges are calculated on a time basis and will be between £111.00 an hour plus VAT and £185.00 an hour plus VAT depending on the complexity of the estate. In addition disbursements such as court fees and the provision of statutory notices may be payable. All usual disbursements will of course be brought to your attention before we commence work, whilst any unexpected costs and disbursement will be discussed and agreed with you during the administration.

If there is a property to be sold during the estate administration these charges are the same as set out elsewhere on this website.

(Fees will vary and are dependent upon individual circumstances).

We find that many of the estates which we administer are liable to inheritance tax and we have a specific expertise in this complex area of estate administration. However, the tax rules are constantly changing and it would be difficult to provide you with an estimate of any tax that may be payable at this stage. Please feel free to call us and we would be happy to provide you with further information or alternatively an inheritance tax calculator can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hmrc-tools-and-calculators#inheritance-tax-and-bereavement.

To give you a realistic idea of our charges, we set out below some examples:

 

Michael Jones

Michael died on the 1st February. His funeral was on the 10th February. His widow Mary contacted us on the 10th. Michael had made a simple Will leaving everything to Mary.

Assets of the estate

Type of Asset Estate Value
Their house, which was in joint names and passed straight to Mary £400,000.00 ÷ 2 = £200,000.00

 

Bank account, which was also in joint names and passed to Mary £30,000.00 ÷ 2 = £15,000.00
Shares in 4 Companies, which were in Michael’s sole name £50,000.00
Personal effects (passed as legacies) £1,000.00
Gross estate £266,000.00
Funeral – £5,000.00
Net estate £261,000.00

 

What we did

  • We saw Mary, provided her with some initial advice, checked her identity documentation, explained the probate process and gave an estimate of our costs;
  • We arranged for a local estate agent to value the property;
  • We obtained a valuation of the monies held in the bank account and also a valuation of the shares;
  • We completed an inheritance tax form (this is required even though no inheritance tax is payable) and an Oath for Mary to swear;
  • We sent the Oath and inheritance tax form to the Probate Registry;
  • When the Grant of Probate was received, we arranged for the shares to be transferred to Mary via the Company Registrars;
  • We registered the property in Mary’s sole name;
  • We prepared an estate account which showed details of the estate and what we had done to assist Mary in the estate administration.

What it cost

Dunn and Baker’s fees £2,000
VAT £400
Probate court fees £155 + 0.50 per official copy (x5)
Oath fees £5 + £2 per exhibit i.e. the Will
Total £2564.50

 

The matter was completed around three months after Michael’s Death.

 

Arthur Smith

Arthur died on the 1st March. He was divorced, had no children and had lost contact with family members. A family friend contacted us and following considerable investigations, we located five cousins. One of whom Tim, agreed to administer the estate.

Assets of the estate

Property £600,000
3 bank accounts and national savings and investments and some premium bonds £200,000
Car £5,000
Shareholdings £20,000
Gross estate £825,000
Funeral (£5,000)
Mortgage on his house (£100,000)
Net estate £720,000

 

What we did

  • We met the neighbour, made further investigations into the family background and they eventually traced Tim;
  • We met Tim, checked his identity documentation, explained the probate process and gave an estimate of our costs which he approved;
  • We arranged for an estate agent to provide a valuation of the property and subsequently arranged for a plumber to drain the central heating system down;
  • We applied to the banks for valuations of the shares and obtained an up to date figure for the money outstanding on the mortgage;
  • We applied for valuations of the contents and the car;
  • We completed an inheritance tax form, calculated the amount of inheritance tax due.
  • We completed an Oath and saw Tim to run through this documentation;
  • We arranged for the initial inheritance tax and the funeral expenses to be paid by the bank;
  • We sent the inheritance tax form to HMRC together with a cheque for the initial inheritance tax due;
  • We subsequently lodged the probate documentation with the Probate Registry;
  • When the grant of letters of administration (equivalent to probate where there is no Will) came back we arranged for the various shares to be sold and the bank accounts to be encashed;
  • We instructed a local estate agent to market the property;
  • We paid any debts and ongoing expenses in connection with the property until it was sold;
  • We arranged to make interim payments to the beneficiaries as monies came in;
  • We assisted Tim in negotiating a price for the sale of the property and dealt with the legal sale formalities;
  • We answered queries from HMRC as to some valuations originally obtained and agreed with them that there was no further inheritance tax payable.
  • We liaised with Arthur’s accountants to go through his tax affairs;
  • We completed an estate account which showed all transactions which took place during the estate of administration;
  • This was approved by Tim and his co-beneficiaries and we subsequently made final distributions.

What it cost

Probate Costs
Dunn and Baker’s fees on probate £7,000
VAT on Dunn and Bakers fees £1,400
Probate Court fees £155 + 0.50 per copy (x5)
Oath fees £5 + £2 per exhibit i.e. Will
Statutory advertisement £250
House clearance £350
Probate valuation of the house £200
Total £9,364.50
   
Other Costs
Inheritance Tax £158,000
Dunn and Baker’s fees on sale of house £1150
VAT on Dunn and Baker’s fees on sale of house £230
Dunn and Bakers fees liaising with mortgage provider £100
VAT on Dunn and Bakers fees liaising with mortgage provider £20
Estate Agents fees on sale of house (inc VAT) £6,000 (1% of property)
Total £165,500

 

The estate was largely wound up in about 9 months; however the property proved difficult to sell and we were only able to finally wind the estate up 15 months after Arthur’s death

 

William Brown

William was a widower who died in June 2015 leaving an estate worth 2 million pounds. There was a property, numerous investments with a stockbroker and antiques. His Will left legacies to 10 individuals and the residue was divided between 20 charities.

What we did

  • We administered the estate similar to Michael and Arthur’s cases as above;
  • We kept the charities informed throughout and in particular liaised with them as to how they wished the individual investments to be dealt with bearing in mind their charitable status;
  • Confirming with HMRC that there was no inheritance tax payable. Registering the estate with HMRC for income tax and paying tax for the administration period.

The estate was finally wound up in early 2018.

What it cost

The legal fees were around £21,000.00 including VAT. There was no inheritance tax payable as the bulk of the estate went to charity.

Probate court fees, estate agents fees and other expenses amounted to a similar amount as seen in Arthur’s Smith example.

Summary

The examples above are designed to give you a rough idea of our likely charges and other costs that may be applicable. No estate is the same, and for this reason it is very difficult to accurately predict costs. However, we hope the above examples assist you in your understanding of the probate procedure.

Please feel free to call us with your individual circumstances when we will be pleased to provide you with a costs and time estimate based on your situation.

 

Associated team members