At Clark Willis, we understand that dealing with the death of a loved one can be a very difficult and upsetting time. We also realise that every person’s Estate is as individual as they are and that increasingly family members or friends are willing to become more involved in administering affairs.
Accordingly, we offer a bespoke Probate service which fits in with your budget, time and personal priorities. Below is a summary of the two main options that we offer.
Professional Fees Summary
Grant Only Service £600 plus VAT
Option A Hourly rate charges (£220 plus VAT)
Option B Fixed Fee 2.5% of Value (plus VAT)
For more detailed information of each type of service and what is included in the summary of fees above, please see below.
Grant Only Service
This is a fixed fee service that is a popular option with clients as it includes peace of mind that the legal paperwork is completed correctly. It includes providing initial advice then the client gathers together the information required to complete the Probate papers and Inheritance Tax account. CW then completes the Probate and Inheritance Tax papers on your behalf. The client would then deal with the ongoing administration of the Estate themselves after Grant of Probate is obtained. We are still available to obtain further help and advice on an hourly rate basis should it be required.
Our Fixed Fee for the Grant Only Service is as follows:
For the standard Estate (where Form IHT205 is required) £600 plus VAT;
For a more complicated Estate (where a Form IHT400 is required) £1,000 plus VAT.
*This Fixed Fee assumes that no Inheritance Tax is payable on the Estate, all the assets in the Estate are in the UK, no Transferable Nil Rate Band is being claimed, no Transferable Residence Nil Rate Band is being claimed, no claim for downsizing on the Residence Nil Rate Band is being claimed, no Agricultural Property Relief or Business Property Relief is being claimed, the deceased is not a beneficiary of a Trust, the life time gifts made in the seven years prior to the date of death did not exceed £150,000 and there are no assets in the Estate which would be subject to the gift with reservation of benefit rules. If any of the above exclusions apply, then we would still be happy to act for you on a fixed fee basis and a quote can be provided based on your personal circumstances.
Full Probate Service
A full estate administration comprises three parts. The first is to confirm the extent of the estate and the value of the assets, the second is preparing the application for Probate/Letters of Administration based upon this and obtaining the same, and the final part is using Probate/Letters of Administration to collect in those assets and distribute them in accordance with the Will or Intestacy provisions.
Due to each individual being unique, it is always difficult to provide a clear indication about the cost of administering a estate before we have met and discussed what work will be required in that particular circumstance. As a guide however, we have set out below what our charges might be on a typical Estate.
There are many factors that can affect the amount of work involved and therefore the price. The variables can include a number of matters for example the number of beneficiaries and number of asset holding institutions we have to deal with. In particular, individual shareholdings can be very time consuming to deal with. If there are multiple beneficiaries or multiple asset holders to contact more letters need to be prepared, estate accounts are more complicated to prepare and more time is spent in dealing with the Estate. In addition, where there is a property in the Estate there may be additional work involved in arranging clearance of the property, disposal of the personal possessions, arranging insurance, settling utility bills and liaising with Estate Agents over sale etc so you can begin to understand the difficulty in setting out an exact quote, unlike for example buying or selling a house.
Our full estate administration service includes:
- Providing initial advice to the Executors;
- Reading the Will and ensuring the correct distribution of the Estate;
- Gathering the necessary information about the assets and liabilities of the Estate;
- Liaising over the clearance of the property and distribution of the contents;
- Completing and submitting the Probate papers;
- Completing and submitting an Inheritance Tax account;
- Collecting in the assets of the Estate;
- Liaising over the marketing and sale of the deceased’s property;
- Placing Trustee Act Notices to protect the Executors;
- Settling the liabilities and expenses due;
- Contacting the beneficiaries and obtaining ID and payment information;
- Making interim distributions to beneficiaries;
- Identifying any income tax or Capital Gains Tax issues arising;
- Preparing Estate Accounts;
- Making final distributions once matters are complete.
We offer two pricing options to enable you to choose between having the certainty of a fixed fee so that you will know exactly what the total charges will be or to choose a traditional hourly rate charge basis which could be higher or lower than a fixed fee depending on how much work is ultimately required.
Our fixed fee rate is 2.5% of the gross value of assets at the death as reportable to HMRC (plus VAT) and is designed to provide peace of mind that you know exactly what our charge will be.
Our hourly rate charge option is calculated on a time spent basis at £220 plus VAT per hour plus a value element amounting to 0.5% of the gross value of the estate. Where we act as Executors the value elements will increase by 0.5%
In order to give an idea on prices we have set out below three typical estates as an example.
In considering the fixed fee price comparison, it should be noted that the estimated hourly rate charges below are for simple estates (all prices are exclusive of VAT) with:
An estate of £90,000 value including a residential property of £70,000 and other assets of £20,000 made up of less than 5 bank accounts and no share holdings. There is a valid Will with no more than a couple of specific gifts and the remainder of the estate is divided between no more than 5 beneficiaries.
Hourly rate costs range (10 to 15 hours) £2,750 to £3,850
Fixed Price 2.5% £2,250.
An estate of £200,000 value including a residential property of £150,000 and other assets of £50,000 made up of various bank accounts and share holdings. There is a valid Will with no more than 5 specific gifts and the remainder of the estate is divided between no more than 5 beneficiaries.
Hourly rate costs range (15 to 20 hours) £4,550 to £5,650
Fixed Price 2.5% £6,000.
An estate of £650,000 value including a residential property of £350,000 with contents to be disposed of, up to 10 bank accounts, up to 10 shareholdings or investments, lifetime gifts not exceeding £50,000, no reportable interest in a trust and no assets outside of the UK. There is a valid Will with no more than 3 specific gifts and the remainder of the estate is divided between no more than 5 beneficiaries.
Hourly rate costs range (30 to 60 hours) £11,350 to £18,450
Fixed Price 2.5% £16,250.
In both probate services there are a number of additional amounts payable to third parties (disbursements) that are in addition to our fees:
- Fees payable to the Probate Registry currently £155 for the Grant of Probate and an extra £1.50 for each sealed office copy of the Grant. So if ten sealed office copies of the Grant are required the fee would be £170;
- Valuation fees payable to a surveyor for a valuation of the property typically in the region of £250 to £500 plus VAT but dependent on the nature and value of the property;
- Bankruptcy searches of £2 per beneficiary;
- Official copy of Title Deeds are £3 plus VAT
- Trustee Act Notices in the London Gazette and a local newspaper, approximately £200;
Additional charges and Exclusions to Standard fees
There are some exclusions from our full admin service fixed price and estimates above, notably:
- The conveyancing costs in relation to the sale of the property to a third party or the transfer to one or more beneficiaries, conducted by our Conveyancing Department, would be in addition to the costs quoted above and in accordance with their standard published charges.
- Income Tax & Capital Gains Tax returns and issues remaining outstanding at the date of death and/or IHT enquiries by HMRC . We would open a separate matter for these and charge you accordingly on a time spent basis.
- Disputes arising over the estate. We would open a separate matter for this and charge you accordingly on a time spent basis.
- Variations of the estate (Deeds of Variation)
- Trusts established under a Will or intestacy.
We would open a separate matter for these and charge you accordingly on a time spent basis.
In addition, the following will incur additional charges to our fixed fee service of 2.5%
- foreign property & assets.
- determination of entitlement under an Intestacy
- documentation requested by the Probate Registry due to issues arising with a Will, for example Affidavits of Due Execution.
- lifetime gift valuations and reporting to HMRC – including regular gifts out of income.
- Completion and submission of income tax returns other than informal reporting (on standard estates)
For our Grant Only service we would anticipate having the Grant or Probate/ Letters of Administration application completed for signature within 4 weeks of full information being provided.
For full administration services, time frames largely depend on the complexity of the estate and/or whether an IHT400 full inheritance tax account is required to be lodged with HMRC. As an indication only, where no IHT is payable, we have included some time frames to give you an indication of the length of time it can take to undertake probate. Certain elements are dependent on 3rd parties and so we have been cautious with the estimates given.
If a property is being sold as part of the administration, the estate administration cannot be completed until the property has sold which is entirely dependent upon the property market.
It may be possible to consider making interim payments to beneficiaries during this period once accounts have been closed dependant on the value of the estate.
Alex Spurr TEP – For experience and qualifications, please see our team pages.
Louise Simpson – For experience and qualifications, please see our team pages.
“Absolutely fantastic service throughout. Friendly and efficient staff and would recommend over and over again for all Law requirements.”
Mrs W, Darlington