Probate is the judicial process whereby a will is “proved” and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of someone who has died, or whereby the estate is settled according to the laws of intestacy in force in England and Wales at time of death in the absence of a legal will.
The granting of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person.
Description of services:
The collection and distribution of assets belonging to a person following their death, where these are within the UK and the matters are not contested, and where we are administering the estate on your behalf.
Overview of costs:
- To obtain a grant of representation for an estate that is simple and only requires the completion of form IHT 205: £500 fixed fee plus VAT.
- To obtain a grant of representation for an estate that is more complex or is subject to inheritance tax and / or requires the completion of form IHT 400 and its schedules: £1000 fixed fee plus VAT. NB: The fixed fee services listed above in completing the IHT 205 or IHT 400 includes conference / Skype calls, any meetings (if local to the lawyer concerned), correspondence, completing the forms and preparing an Oath, and then submitting the same to the Probate Registry to extract the Grant.
- The above fees are applicable only where the client undertakes all the administration work i.e. the gathering together of information ahead of the application and dealing with the estate once the grant has issued. Any administration work that we undertake in addition to obtaining the grant would be charged at an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT.
- To administer an estate generally our fees would typically be charged on a time spent basis with an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT. Because of the nature of estate administration work, it is difficult to provide an indication of the cost of dealing with the estate until we have all the information relating to the estate in front of us. Once this information is to hand, we will be happy to agree either a costs budget, which would not be exceeded without prior authority, or a fixed fee (where this is appropriate).
- Any trust administration work which is required to be undertaken consequent upon dealing with the estate would be charged at the hourly rate of £250 plus VAT. A costs budget and / or fixed fee can be agreed once the exact nature of the work to be undertaken is to hand.
Probate registry fee:
£155 when an application is made by a solicitor. Disbursements fees are required in advance. There is no VAT payable on these fees.
£5 plus £2 per exhibit accompanying the Oath/Affidavit. This would usually be paid direct by the applicant and not via ourselves. There is no VAT payable on these fees.
Advertising for creditors:
The costs will depend upon the newspapers where the executors need to place the adverts and is not necessary in all probate cases. The costs are typically around £200-£300 plus VAT, but we would obtain quotes ahead of committing the estate to these.
Experience and qualifications of our lawyers providing probate services:
Please click here to see the full biographies and qualifications of our specialist lawyers, most of whom hold further qualifications, aside from being legally qualified, that give them additional experience and knowledge of estate administration work.
At Excello Law, our ethos is for clients to deal with senior lawyers direct, providing a more personal service with a lawyer with detailed knowledge of their particular matter.
Key stages (England and Wales):
The fixed fee options above cover all of the following stages in completing probate:
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Draft a legal oath for you to swear
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
How long will my matter take?
Dealing with the estate of someone who has died can take a long time. Much depends upon how quickly the client, or the other agencies involved ie valuers, provide the appropriate information to complete the form and draft the Oath.
Where we are retained to deal with the administration as opposed to obtaining the grant only, we are required to make enquiries of all institutions with whom the deceased had a financial connection. It is only once we have all this information will we be in a position to prepare the HMRC account and the papers to apply for the Grant of Probate.
How long this takes will be dependent upon a number of factors including how many assets there are and how long each institution involves takes to respond to us. Additional time can be taken where the deceased assets are not immediately apparent or the deceased’s financial affairs are not in order. We are usually in a position to apply for the Grant within, two weeks to four months, depending upon the amount of assets requiring valuation, and the level of complexity.
Where an IHT 400 is submitted, we have to wait until HMRC returns the receipted IHT 421. This varies considerably between 2-6 weeks.
The issuing of the Grant of Probate is usually issued within 2-4 weeks of the application being submitted to the Probate Registry.
Before finalising the administration of the estate and closing the file it will be necessary to obtain clearance from HMRC that they are satisfied with the information reported and that they do not intend to raise any further queries. HMRC typically take around four months from receipt of the account to raise queries. If they raise queries on the account then, dependent upon the type of queries they have and whether we have the information required immediately, a further 1-2 months can be added to the timescale.
When dealing with a taxable estate, in addition to obtaining clearance from HMRC in respect of the Inheritance Tax position, we must also obtain clearance in respect of the income and capital gains tax position of the estate. We are not be able to start to process of finalising the income and capital gains tax position until all assets have been realised or transferred to the Beneficiaries.