UK uncontested probate and estate administration fees

Much of the work we undertake is cross-border, multi-jurisdictional and complex. We appreciate the privilege of sitting alongside our clients as a trusted advisor, building strong personal connections to you and your businesses.

Because the services we offer are bespoke, the following fees should be referenced as a guide only.

In those matters we undertake which cover purely UK estates, the costs will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. We will have an upfront costs discussion with the executors at our first meeting and then continue to discuss costs as the probate continues.

For example, in a simple, purely UK probate involving just one beneficiary, only one property and no need to submit a full inheritance tax account to HMRC, our fees may be in the region of £6,000 + VAT.

In a UK probate with multiple beneficiaries and diversified assets such as properties, art, investments, businesses, partnerships, multiple bank accounts, and where inheritance tax is payable, our fees could reach £60,000 + VAT.

This fee range is for estates where:

  • There is a valid Will
  • There are no assets outside the UK
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries
  • There are no claims made against the estate

Where there are assets outside the UK, or there is a dispute over the Will, this will usually increase the fees significantly. We will always aim to give an accurate fee estimate at the outset, but this is not always possible, particularly in the case of disputed probates.

We normally base our charges on hourly rates, which will vary depending on the seniority and experience of the lawyers who carry out your work. Our hourly rates range from £160 to £420 plus VAT for our non-partner fee earners and £495 to £650 plus VAT for partners.

We will sometimes act on a fixed fee basis if requested.

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

Known disbursements include the £215 probate application fee (this is due to increase significantly in April 2019), £247.15 + VAT for newspaper notices, £38 for a Will search, £25 for an unclaimed asset register search and other small amounts for bankruptcy searches and copies of the grant. Unknown disbursements include inheritance tax, executor insurance and fees for accountants, valuers and surveyors.

The precise stages involved in the probate will vary according to the circumstances. However, they will generally involve:

  • Meeting with the executors to discuss the estate and probate process
  • Calculating the deceased's estate
  • Preparing the inheritance tax return and arranging payment of the inheritance tax
  • Obtaining the grant of probate
  • Collecting in the deceased's assets and settling any liabilities
  • Distribution of the estate and finalising the tax position

The precise timescale of the probate will depend on a number of factors including the complexity of the assets and the level and speed of engagement of the executors, beneficiaries, asset holders and other third parties. However, the estimated time frame is set out below:

The first steps before we are instructed by the executors, include reviewing the Will and confirming that all executors wish to act. This stage can take one to six weeks depending on the executors' speed in providing us with suitable ID and proof of address documents and answering other requests for information.

Once we are instructed, initial steps include a meeting with the executors to discuss the estate and probate process, correspondence with the beneficiaries and reviewing property ownership. This stage can take four to eight weeks depending on the executors' speed in providing us with the information we require.

Calculating the deceased's estate, including correspondence with all the deceased's asset holders to request valuations and establishing the estate's income and liabilities can take three to six months. This depends on the speed of responses for requests for information from third parties and from the executors.

Preparing the inheritance tax return and arranging payment of the inheritance tax can take one to three months depending on the speed of input from third party asset holders and the executors. HMRC can take six to eight weeks to respond.

Obtaining the grant of probate, including drafting and submitting the documentation to the probate registry can take one to six weeks. The probate registry can take two to four weeks to respond.

Collecting in the deceased's assets and settling any liabilities can take three to six months, depending on the speed of input from third party asset holders and the executors.

Distribution of the estate and finalising the tax position of the estate can take 6 to 24 months depending on the speed of responses for requests for information from third parties, from beneficiaries and from the executors. If there is an ongoing trust of the estate, the timeframe can be several years.

  • Reviewing the Will and confirming that all executors wish to act
  • Initial meeting with the executors to discuss the estate and probate process, correspondence with the beneficiaries and reviewing property ownership
  • Correspondence with all the deceased's asset holders to request valuations and establishing the estate's income and liabilities
  • Preparing the inheritance tax return and arranging payment of the inheritance tax
  • Collecting in the deceased's assets and settling any liabilities
  • Distribution of the estate and finalising the tax position of the estate

Unless otherwise specified

  • Probates with international assets or where the estate is contested
  • If there is no Will there are 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
  • Any deed of variation or disclaimer
  • Work in relation to the deceased's lifetime tax returns and confirming deceased's lifetime tax position
  • An affidavit of due execution, if required
  • A deed of renunciation by any executor, if required
  • Arranging house clearance
  • Work in relation to any insurance policy covering inheritance tax
  • Tax and trust advice in relation to property owned by the deceased
  • Tax advice in relation to charitable legacies made by the deceased
  • Advice in relation to the transfer of any ISA between spouses
  • Tax advice in relation to selling assets to pay debt
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