As you will understand it is not until we have a better idea of the nature of a deceased person's estate: the assets they owned; their family circumstances and the provisions of their Will that we can provide an individual estimate of costs and that is why we offer an initial half hour consultation for free. In some circumstances it may be possible to agree a fixed fee but if not, the basis of our charge is an hourly rate plus VAT at 20% and VAT is chargeable on all of our legal fees and some disbursements.
Set out below are estimates of our fees:-
1. Our fees range from £1,500.00 to £2,500.00 plus VAT for a simple estate where there is a single beneficiary and no land, house or trust to deal with.
2. If an estate is slightly more complex where there are a number of assets, including property and although no inheritance tax is payable, a Grant of Probate is required, our fees range from £2,500.00 to £4,000.00 plus VAT.
3. For a larger estate where there are a number of assets, investments and inheritance tax is payable and where there are a large number of individual or charitable beneficiaries then our fees range from £5,000.00 to £12,000.00 plus VAT. If from the outset or during the course of administration it looks as if there are complexities or difficulties such that our fees are likely to exceed this range, we will advise you as soon as this becomes apparent.
These fee ranges are based on your case being dealt with by a partner whose hourly rate is £240 plus VAT. This person will be your main point of contact. The firm does not employ trainees, interns or casual staff. Bills will be calculated on the basis of time spent dealing with the matter.
When considering the cost of appointing us as professionals, you should bear in mind that a professional can advise on reliefs and exemptions that are relevant to your case including claiming the transferable nil rate band, residence nil rate band, downsizing relief, issues relating to domicile and the correct administration of charitable gifts all of which can result in significant inheritance tax savings which a lay executor may overlook. In addition, a professional can advise executors on their potential liabilities for tax and claims from disgruntled beneficiaries.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties such as Probate Court fees. We handle the payment of these disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose and VAT is payable on certain expenses.
Possible Disbursements on a Probate matter
1. Probate Court fees - £155.00 plus £1.50 per additional copy (a copy for each asset is usually required).
2. Statutory Advertisements - These can protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. The approximate cost for such Notices is £240.00.
3. Office Copy Entries - Range between £3.00 to £30.00; depending on what is required in each individual matter.
4. Bankruptcy Searches - £2.00 per beneficiary each time a distribution is made.
A full breakdown of any disbursements payable on your matter can be provided once we are aware of matters involved in the estate.
The Probate Department is run by Justine Alford who is a Salaried Partner and a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly. She has more than fifteen years' experience. More details about the people who will deal with your case can be found in the biographical section or our website.
The stages involved with the Administration of an Estate and obtaining the Grant of Probate vary according to the circumstances. The most common key stages are itemised below:-
How long will the matter take?
The length of time it takes to administer the estate will depend on many factors including how long asset holders and HMRC take to respond to us. In our experience it can take three to six months to obtain the Grant of Probate and another three to six months to wind up the estate. However, in some larger estates the probate procedure can be longer, particularly if there are foreign assets; agricultural property or business assets; the deceased has an interest in a trust; a property takes some time to be sold; HMRC raises enquiries; the Department of Work and Pension puts in a claim or towards the end of the period of administration it is possible to make a claim for the refund of inheritance tax.
The above information has been designed to give you as much information as we can regarding our prices and services without yet knowing the full details of the matter. Once we know these details, we will give you a fully itemised quotation of all costs involved.
We are confident our fees are competitive given that all of our probate and administration work is completed by a fully qualified Solicitor who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority with many years of extensive experience.
For details of the qualifications and experience of the Solicitor who will be completing the work, please click here.
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