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We can help you when someone dies in sorting out their affairs. In some cases, you will need to obtain a document from a court to confirm who can act for that person’s estate. If there is a will then this is known as a grant of probate whilst if there is no will then this is known as a grant of letters of administration.
Once a grant is obtained we can also then collect in the assets of the estate pay the debts of the estate and then distribute the estate amongst the people entitled to it. This is known as administering the estate.
Julian Titt and Peter Humphris deal with such matters and for further details see “meet the team”.
Getting a grant
Provided the following is in place namely: –
You provide us with all the necessary documents and information so we don’t have to ask anyone for it and
Then we charge a fixed fee for our work of £780 inclusive of VAT (at current rate of 20%) for obtaining the grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration.
In addition, there is a fee you will need to pay to the court to get the grant. This is currently £155 plus £1.50 for each copy required.
The work involved
Taking initial instructions and obtaining from you details of the assets and liabilities of the estate
providing you with an experienced probate fee -earner
Identify who is appointed under the will or if no will under the law to run the estate
Identify who is to benefit under the estate
Prepare up a statement in support of an application for a grant
Prepare a IHT205 if needed
Submit the application to the court for a grant plus copies
Dealing with any enquiries from the probate registry
Receiving the grant and passing it to you if instructed to do so.
Estates that are not straightforward
Where there is Inheritance tax to pay or any of the conditions (a) to (k) are not met above apply
Where there is a need to prepare an Inheritance Tax form IHT400 whether or not tax is payable then an additional charge will be made dependent on the size and complexity of the estate. We will be able to give you an estimate when we have some idea of this. As a guide where the main asset is the former home of the deceased, there are no more than four bank accounts and no more than four share holdings in public companies then we would normally charge an extra fee of £420 inclusive of vat (at current rate of 20%) on top of the £780 fee mentioned above.
If Inheritance or other taxes are payable on the estate then payment of those is an additional payment that will need to be made from the estate. For details of the rates of Inheritance Tax (or indeed any tax payable by the estate) please refer to the HMRC website.
In cases other than described above then the exact costs will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter and the fee earner dealing with it and the hours taken as well as the value of the estate. As a guide, and based on previous experience, we would anticipate our costs to be in the range of £1,800 to £4,800 (inclusive of vat at 20%). Both Julian and Peter charge £222 per hour (inclusive of vat).
Obviously the more complex the matter the higher up this scale the costs will be whilst simpler matters will be more towards the lower end.
In addition, there may be payments we need to pay other people in addition to any tax payable. For instance, we may need to instruct a tracing agent to try and find relatives of the deceased where there is no will or obtain a professional surveyor to do valuations of properties. As a guide, we have found the tracing agent we regularly use to charge about £600 (inclusive of vat at 20%) for a straightforward matter and a surveyor £480 (inclusive of vat at 20%) for a valuation survey of one property.
Remember these figures relate to getting the grant only and do not include handling any claim that may be made against the estate or which the estate may wish to pursue. We will provide you with estimates of this work should it arise.
Administering the estate
Once a grant is obtained you can instruct us to collect in the money owed to the estate, pay the estate’s debts and pay money due the those benefitting under the estate or transferring assets. If there is only interest arising from assets held by the estate then we can also report these figures to the HMRC for income tax purposes. If however the income received is more complex we recommend the instruction of accountants.
For this service we can indicate a range of likely costs between £1,500 and £10,000 as it depends entirely on the nature of the assets in the estate and the value of it . The simpler the assets and the lower the value the lower the fees should be.
Please note that a sale of any property or land is not included in these figures and neither is the handling of any claim against the estate or which the estate may wish to take itself.
In addition, you may be required to pay for costs we have to pay others, It is usual to obtain bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries before sending them money at a cost of £2 per person. Notices can be placed in the London Gazette (currently £104.52) and a local newspaper to where the deceased died (£200 plus) to protect against possible claims.
How long will it take?
The obtaining of grant of a grant in a straightforward estate should take 4 to 6 weeks. If more complex forms are needed and there is inheritance tax to pay then it could take 3 to 4 months if not longer.
Whether we can act
However, please note that there may be circumstances where we are unable to take instructions or act further such as where you are unable to make payments to us to enable us to pay others e.g. on tracing agents, where we do not have the capacity in the office to do the work properly, the estate or its assets turns out to more complex or difficult for us to deal with or, having done the checks we are required to carry out there is a problem such as a conflict between you and another client.