Uncontested probate – Full administration
Metcalfes are able to obtain a Grant of Probate to the Estate and deal with full administration and division of assets if required. This comprehensive service including obtaining the Grant of Probate and the administration of the estate is based upon our hourly charges. The fees will vary according to the number of hours spent on the matter however they can range from £2,500 - £50,000+ plus VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%) depending on complexity.
- Simple Matters £2,500 - £7,500 plus VAT
- Medium Complexity Matters £7,500 - £15,000 plus VAT
- More Complex Matters - £15,000 + plus VAT
A simple probate is likely to involve an estate where there is one property, one bank account (or a number of bank accounts with the same financial institution) and one beneficiary; all of which are located in the UK.
Medium complexity matters
These matters are likely to involve one property, multiple bank accounts with different financial institutions and an investment portfolio, and multiple beneficiaries.
More complex matters
Estates where there is more than one property, multiple bank accounts, multiple other asset classes, and/or more complex asset classes including intangible assets such as shares held electronically, business interests and/or foreign based assets. There may be numerous classes of beneficiaries, the potential for deeds of variation and complex negotiations with HM Revenue and Customs, and setting up trusts arising from the estate or dealing with trusts in which the deceased had an interest at their death. There may also be issues in relation to domicile and tax residency.
Please note - Fees in respect of selling property held by the estate and the ongoing administration of a trust set up by a Will are charged separately.
Average cost and timescale
We estimate that the average matter will take approximately 6 to 12 months and cost in the region of £8,000 plus VAT.
- Dealing with the administration will consist of:
- Taking your instructions and details of the estate and advising generally;
- Advising you about the provisions of the Will and any Codicils;
- Advising about any Inheritance Tax issues;
- Writing to all companies, banks, building societies, insurance companies, National Savings and the like and valuing the assets of the estate as at the date of death;
- Checking the liabilities of the estate and preparing a Schedule of Assets and Liabilities;
- Where appropriate arranging with a Bank for the opening of an Executors Account to pay any Inheritance Tax and probate fees;
- Preparing the appropriate documents for the Grant of Probate and the HM Revenue & Customs Account;
- Telephone or in-person meetings to discuss matters and review Probate papers, statement of truths and any necessary affidavits and filing at the Probate Registry;
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate /Letters of Administration and lodging it with all parties and obtaining the release of all assets;
- Collecting and paying Estate money into our Client Account, where it will be subject to the protection of the Law Society Rules regarding Solicitors Firm’s handling of client monies;
- Paying all debts, liabilities, any legacies and considering interim distributions of residue;
- Dealing with the sale or other disposal or assent of any house or real or leasehold property owned by the deceased in consultation with our Residential Property Team, who will provide details of costs involved once a buyer is found or the executors are in a position to deal with the property in accordance with the terms of the Will, or Intestacy, or a decision is made about transfer of property to one or more beneficiaries;
- Obtaining all information to prepare final Tax Returns, correspondence with the HM Revenue & Customs, completing Tax Returns and applying for refunds. Dealing with Tax arising during the administration period;
- Preparing the estate accounts;
- Sale of shares (can be quite time consuming and more involved than closing a bank account);
- Distributing the estate. The final stages of this work will involve obtaining confirmation from the Revenue that no more tax is due, finalising the accounts. Handing over the remaining entitlements to the Beneficiaries and setting up any necessary trusts created under the Will;
- All correspondence, advice and attendances; all professional care and attention throughout.
There are a number of factors that could make the matter more complex and in turn increase costs. These can include, but are not limited to:
- If Executor wants to appoint an attorney to deal with the estate on their behalf;
- The requirement for a special Grant (for the use and benefit of a minor; in the case of mental incapacity; to an attorney etc);
- Disagreements between executors and/or beneficiaries;
- Complexity of the tax position;
- Difficulty in obtaining information from third parties – asset providers, HMRC, executors etc.;
- Delays in property or other assets being sold particularly foreign shares, accounts or property;
- Post-death Deeds of Variation;
- Corrective Account and/or Claim for Loss Relief;
- Consideration of Capital Gains Tax position including Deeds of Appropriation;
- Negotiations with District Valuer and HMRC re: property valuations and business property;
- Selling shares where no valid certificate is held (indemnities needed etc);
- Further enquiries received from HMRC;
- Further assets and/or liabilities come to light;
- A Form IHT400 (Inheritance Tax Account) required rather than an anticipated Form IHT205 (Return of Estate Information Account);
- Locating the Will (Issues);
- Business or foreign assets – obtaining valuations;
- If the appointment of an Executor fails;
- If Probate Registry raise requisitions on submission of Grant Application.
There are a number of factors that could make the matter simpler and in turn decrease costs. These can include, but are not limited to:
- IHT205 required rather than anticipated IHT400;
- Claim against estate does not materialise;
- Retainer limited to dealing with only certain aspects of the Estate’s administration.
There are a number of disbursements that may need to be paid in addition to the above costs including:
- Probate fees - £155 plus 50p per copy of the Grant;
- Swear fees - £5-7 per personal representative (usually);
- Land Registry fees – dependent on value of property;
- Valuation fees – chattels, property, business, shares etc. dependent on value and type of valuation required;
- Statutory notices - £150 - £250;
- Bankruptcy searches - £2 per search;
- Land Registry Search on title - £3;
- Tracing Application – price on application.
We estimate that the average matter will take approximately 6 to 12 months and cost in the region of £8,000 plus VAT. Your dedicated point of contact will keep you informed of how your case is progressing and any expected delays.
Cherry Stuckey, Senior Associate Solicitor, is based in our Portishead Office whilst Andrew Williams, Senior Associate Solicitor, is based in our Bristol Office. Cherry and Andrew have over 30 years of combined experience supporting and guiding clients through the probate process. They are assisted by a highly skilled and friendly team of Solicitors and Wills and Probate Executives, full team details can be found on our website here.