Legal Costs

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The Law Society - Conveyancing

Uncontested Probate Application Costs

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

Our fees are calculated in accordance with the time spent on the matter and the value of the estate in accordance with our general charging rates.

We have listed two different potential estate models with costs, to provide a context into which you can place your own estate circumstances. Please do contact us directly with the details of your estate and we can provide an estimate of costs based on the particular circumstances involved:

Simple Estate Model for a Single Person

Dorothy has recently passed away with two accounts held with her local high street bank, two ISA’s held with a local building society, premium bonds and one 65+ NS&I bond. She owned a freehold property in her sole name, worth under £500,000, and the combined value of all her assets which will be sold or disposed of in any one tax year is less than £500,000. Dorothy has left all to be divided equally between her two adult children. No charge is made based on the value of the estate in this instance.

We would anticipate that the legal work involved in the administration of Dorothy’s estate would take between 8 and 12 hours to achieve Grant of Probate, and a further 4 to 5 hours post Grant unless work is required on income tax matters. The cost of this time would be between £3,000 and £4,675+VAT, plus disbursements (please see below).

Moderately Complex Estate with Mark-Up Charged

Jeremy has recently passed away, leaving legacies to various family members and charities, with the residue of his estate passing to his surviving spouse/civil partner. Jeremy held accounts with four different high street banks, some joint and some sol, ISA’s with two building societies, NS&I 65+ bonds and premium bonds, a life insurance policy and five different sets of shares in five different FTSE companies. He jointly owned a large, freehold property worth £800,000, his share being worth £400,000. The estate value, including the property, is £750,000. In light of the size and complexity of the estate, a mark-up is applied according to Law Society rules.

We would anticipate that the legal work involved in the administration of Jeremy’s estate would take between 12 and 25 hours to achieve Grant of Probate, depending on the complexity of the shareholdings involved, with a further 8 to 10 hours post grant, including the registration of the estate with HMRC and the submission of an income tax return for the period of administration. The cost would therefore be estimated at between £5,000 and £9,625+VAT, plus disbursements.

The mark-up on the estate would be based on the Law Society’s recommended rates of 0.5% on the gross value of the property in the estate and 0.875% on the gross value of the rest of the estate, which equates to £5,062.50+VAT.
The exact cost will depend on both the individual circumstances of the matter and the seniority of the solicitor acting, as per our charging rates above.

Likely disbursements include:

  • Probate application fee of £155 plus 50p for each copy
  • £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor) £5 for the oath and £2 for each exhibit ie will and any codicils
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
  • AML searches for each beneficiary (£6 for UK searches)
  • Post in The London Gazette and Local Newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors Approx
  • £200 but depends on the number of words
  • Certainty National Will Register search (if needed) £95+VAT
  • Unclaimed Asset Register search £25

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Future Changes to Probate Court Costs

A new structure for probate fees, based on the value of the estate, is planned for introduction from April 2019. The proposal has been revised this year and has now been presented to the Houses of Parliament for approval.
The current information suggests that the scale of court fees for estates will be as follows:

Value of EstateNew Court Fee Estimate
less than £50,000FREE
£50,000 - £300,000£250
£300,000 - £500,000£750
£500,000 - £1 million£2,285
£1 million - £1.6 million£4,000
£1.6 million - £2 million£5,000
More than £2 million£6,000

Clearly this is a significant increase from the current rates on almost all estates likely to pass through probate, although we have yet to receive confirmation that these bands and rates are now fixed. Please see the link below for the latest announcement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/announcement-on-probate-fees

Potential additional costs

  • 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.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 to 12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 20 to 30 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4 to 12 weeks. Sale of shares and land may take longer. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4 to 12 weeks.

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