Probate and estate administration
As probate specialists, we help families and executors to sort out all the legal and financial matters when someone close to them dies, completing all the necessary paperwork in order to distribute the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries, according to their last will and testament, or intestacy.
Our probate team has three specialists and one assistant. As we advise on probate and estate administration matters all day, every day, our technical knowledge and experience are second to none which means we encounter very few situations that we have not seen before.
As no two estates are the same, we offer a flexible service tailored to meet the needs of individual executors. Following an initial review meeting and completion of an estate administration questionnaire, which helps us understand the scope of work required, we provide executors with a bespoke fee estimate for administering the estate and applying for probate.
We will guide you through the process of what constitutes probate, why probate is required, what is a grant of probate, and how you get probate. Our lawyers will work with you throughout the probate application process, helping to make the estate administration as straightforward as possible.
We advise on:
- obtaining the grant of representation from the Probate Registry
- preparing estate accounts
- setting up any trusts arising under the will or the intestacy rules
- dealing with property in probate
- post-death tax planning and the preparation of deeds of variation
We can also help if there are no surviving relatives able to manage the various administrative tasks that have to be dealt with after someone’s death. We can register the death, liaise with the funeral directors, deal with vacant property (including its sale, transfer) trace and notify beneficiaries, and sort out any outstanding liabilities.
"Thank you for all your help - you’ve been great with Mum and us all at a very difficult time. Truly grateful."
Quality assured: Wright Hassall is Lexcel accredited, the Law Society’s legal practice quality mark for practice management and client care.
The fee scale indicated in the table below relates to uncontested estates and reflects the amount of work required to administer the estate, rather than a percentage of its value. For instance, a simple estate with one or two beneficiaries, a property and a bank account will be at the lower end of the fee scale (regardless of its value), whereas a more complex estate with several beneficiaries, bank accounts, investments, properties, farms and private company shares will be at the higher end.
The fixed fees below represent an average fee scale (including VAT)
NB: This fee scale is a guide only. We will send you a questionnaire to complete so we can establish how much work will be involved in administering the estate before giving you an accurate estimate.
|Fixed Fee (including VAT)||Estimated completion time|
|*Grant of probate only||
£1,860[Standard Grant of Probate]
£2,040[Standard Grant of Probate claiming double nil rate band
|Fees based on hourly rates (including VAT) which range from £186 to £240 depending on the seniority and experience of the lawyer advising.|
Average fee scale (including VAT)NB: This fee scale is a guide only. We will send you a questionnaire to complete so we can establish how much work will be involved in administering the estate before giving you an accurate estimate.
|*Grant of probate and IHT return (IHT 400)||£2,400||£6,000||Four months to obtain the Grant of Probate, six – eight months to settle the IHT position|
|*Full estate administration||£4,800||£15,000+ depending on the complexity of the estate.||Two to six months to obtain the Grant of Probate, six to twelve months to complete the administration depending on various factors as noted in drop down box below.|
|We are happy to discuss a fixed fee for the services above rather than charging our hourly rate.|
|Disbursements: The prices above do not take into account any costs payable to a third party such as Probate Court fees (£155) and office copies (£1.50 per copy), will and asset searches (£114 and £162), bankruptcy searches (£2.40 for UK, £100 estimated for overseas) and statutory notices (£170 estimated), all figures inclusive of VAT if applicable. Dependent on the nature of the estate there may also be valuation fees, estate agents commission and conveyancing costs, and any taxes payable to HMRC in the estate. For more information please see the Gov.UK website.|
|Face to face review meeting||Price (including VAT)|
|Initial meeting to discuss the scope of what is likely to be involved in administering the estate. If we are instructed to act in the estate, this cost will be incorporated into our overall estimate and included in our first invoice. We reserve the right to charge separately if not instructed.||£200 - £300 (based on hourly rates and will vary according to the experience and seniority of the lawyer advising.|
*Grant of probate
Work involved Timescales Review of the will and executor’s duties At initial meeting/1 week Review of the assets and liabilities/ Consider any appropriate nil rate bands, allowances and exemptions and gifts affecting the inheritance tax position / Prepare IHT400 and statement of truth, calculate any tax owed, advise on timings and options for payment 2-3 weeks from when information received from executor Arrange for signing of inheritance tax forms and statement of truth/ Submission of IHT400 and request receipt for payment of IHT 1-2 weeks dependent on meeting arrangements Submit application to the Probate Court, with tax receipt to obtain the Grant of Probate 3-4 weeks after above Issue of the Grant of Probate by Probate Court and requisite number of office copies to pass to executors to collect and distribute the assets of the estate Currently 6-8 weeks from submission (would usually be 2-3 weeks) Consider IHT loss relief claims on assets sold by executors, report any corrective figures to HMRC, deal with any HMRC queries and obtain IHT clearance 2-3 months once details provided by executors
*Full estate administration
Work involved Timescales Review of the will and executor’s duties At initial meeting/1 week Prepare and submit statutory notices to claimants in the London Gazette and local press and undertake Will and asset searches for later Wills or unknown assets in the deceased’s name. Review of assets and liabilities and obtain valuations 3-6 weeks depending on assets Contact all beneficiaries and advise them of their entitlement 3 weeks unless later contact agreed with executor Consider any transferable nil rate band etc. 4-6 weeks once asset details known Prepare the relevant tax forms (IHT205 or IHT400) and provide Statement of Affairs to executor/ Calculate any tax owed, advise on timings and options for payment 5-8 weeks depending on asset information received Arrange for signing of IHT papers and statement of truth 1-2 weeks after above Pay any IHT due, submit the IHT form and obtain receipt from HMRC 4-6 weeks after above Apply to the Probate court to obtain Grant of Probate and requisite number of office copies Currently 6-8 weeks after above (would usually be 2-3 weeks) Collect assets, pay outstanding liabilities, reimburse Executors’ expenses and pay legacies Up to 8-10 weeks from issue of Grant Send a Beneficiary Statement of Affairs to the residuary beneficiaries and correspond with executors and beneficiaries regarding the transfer of assets and distribution of the estate. Up to 8-10 weeks from issue of Grant Consider IHT loss relief claim on assets sold by executors, report any corrective figures to HMRC, deal with any HMRC queries or additional payments including income tax and capital gains tax and obtain IHT clearance. Depending on realisation of assets timescales, e.g. sale of property Prepare estate accounts for executor approval, pay balance to beneficiaries and prepare tax deduction certificates 2-4 weeks of administration being complete
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