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Dealing with the death of loved one or close friend is difficult and the legal aspects of dealing with someone’s death can be confusing and at times overwhelming. Engaging a compassionate and experienced solicitor will make this situation more manageable and less stressful.
If there is a Will, the executors will need to apply for a Grant of Probate so that they can deal with the assets and distribute them in accordance with the Will.
If there is no Will or the deceased’s Will is found to be invalid, an administrator will need to be appointed to apply for Letters of Administration and the assets will be distributed in accordance with fixed intestacy rules set out in legislation.
We have an experienced team of probate solicitors who will guide you through all the stages of the estate administration process:
We can help with the paperwork and provide guidance on the key decisions to be made.
We will give you an approximate time frame for the estate administration process and will keep you advised throughout.
We provide a personal service and you will always know who is managing your matter. We know how important it is for you to know who are you are speaking to and that you can contact us whenever you need guidance or reassurance.
Fees for estate administration matters are normally paid out of the estate monies, so there may not be a need for you to fund the administration.
Our fees for acting on your behalf to obtain a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration and in the general administration of a straightforward, uncontested estate based wholly in the UK vary depending on the nature of assets and complexity of the estate generally.
The indication of our fees set out below is based upon ‘standard’ estate administration to include the following services:
Stage 1 - Applying for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
For a simple estate, with a few straightforward assets and one or two beneficiaries, our fee guidance range for this stage is £1,800 (+ VAT @ 20% = £360) to £3,500 (+ VAT @ 20% = £700).
For a more complex estate, for example an estate which is taxable and with a greater variety of assets and/or multiple beneficiaries, our fee guidance range for this stage is £2,500 (+ VAT @ 20% = £500) to £6,000 (+ VAT @ 20% = £1,200).
Stage 2 - Administering the Estate
For a simple estate, with a few straightforward assets and one or two beneficiaries, our fee guidance range for this stage is £750 (+ VAT @ 20% = £150) to £2,000 (+ VAT @ 20% = £400).
For a more complex estate, for example an estate which is taxable and with a greater variety of assets and/or multiple beneficiaries, our fee guidance range for this stage is £4,000 (+ VAT @ 20% = £800) to £10,000 (+ VAT @ 20% = £2,000).
Estates that have more complex factors may incur a fee that is outside of these guidance ranges.
As each estate is unique, we base our charges on the amount of time that it takes our solicitor to complete the work.
Our current hourly rates are:
Anthony Ramsden £275 (+ VAT @ 20% = £55)
Simon Loveless £275 (+ VAT @ 20% = £55)
Heleni Hinchliffe £240 (+ VAT @ 20% = £48)
Annabelle Hallam £220 (+ VAT @ 20% = £44)
In addition to this, we consider the urgency with which the instruction needs to be completed, the amount and quality of the information made available to us, and the level of correspondence likely to be required with the Probate Registry, HMRC and third parties.
We will normally provide you with an estimate of our fees and costs up to and including a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (Stage 1) from the outset, making sure that there are no hidden amounts, so that you know what to expect. We will keep you updated if circumstances change and it is necessary to adjust the fee estimate or the amount of costs involved. Once Stage 1 is complete, we will provide a further estimate of fees and costs for Stage 2 based on the level of our involvement and the nature of the assets, again keeping you up to date if it is necessary to adjust the fee estimate or the amount of costs.
The fees given here do not include any conveyancing fees for the sale or transfer of real property (land, houses and apartments) within the estate. Please see our “Sale of Residential Property” section for guidance fees for these services.
Disbursements and Expenses:
Disbursements are costs that relate to your matter and are paid by us on your behalf. They are therefore added to our invoice on top of our fees. Some of the usual disbursements for Probate matters are:
Probate Registry fee - £155.00 plus £0.50 per sealed copy Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (there is no VAT on these fees)
Advertising in the London Gazette and local newspapers to protect against claims from unknown creditors - typically £200 (+ VAT @ 20% = £40) to £300 (+ VAT @ 20% = £60) (we obtain a fee quote for this and ask you to approve it before placing advertisements).
Land Registry fees for copy documents of property titles - £3.00 per document (no VAT is charged on Land Registry fees)
Bankruptcy Searches (undertaken against beneficiaries) - £2.00 per name (there is no VAT on search charges).
There may be other necessary expenses when dealing with the administration of the estate to include valuation fees, indemnity fees for lost share certificates, insurance premiums, foreign lawyers’ fees (if there is an international element to the estate), Counsel’s fees, etc.
Any additional costs of this sort will be set out separately in our invoice and/or costing schedule.
How long do Stage 1 and Stage 2 take?
We currently estimate it takes approximately 6 months to complete Stage 1 and up to a year (or more for complex estates) to complete Stage 2. All processes involved are dependent on third parties such as the Probate Registry and HMRC, so the time taken to complete the administration process cannot be guaranteed. We will, however, endeavour to deal with your matter as efficiently as possible and keep you informed of any delay.