• Parent and adult child talking over coffee

Crystal clear pricing on probate fees

How much could probate or estate administration cost?

We recognise estates come in all shapes and sizes. That is why we base our estate administration or probate fees, not on the value of the estate, but on the work that is necessary to deal with the estate appropriately.

Before starting any work, we will spend an hour with you to discuss the estate and your needs. This will allow us to give you an estimate of our fees, clearly setting out what is and what is not included.

Our pricing offers good value for the extensive service and experience we offer from our highly qualified team. You will have a single point of contact throughout and this will be the person carrying out the work. Your contact will be based in our nearest office.

To give you an idea of the legal costs involved, we have provided two case studies based on real clients. One was a straightforward situation that was dealt with within a few months. The other was much more complex and took considerably longer to resolve.

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Case studies

A simple administration of a modest estate A more involved estate administration
Mr A, married with one son and two grandchildren, died leaving an estate consisting of:

  • a family home owned as joint tenants with his surviving wife;
  • a portfolio of investments managed by a wealth manager; and
  • both joint and sole bank accounts.

He had made lifetime gifts but in the seven years before his death all gifts were covered by his annual exemptions.

His Will appointed his wife and son as executors, left legacies to his son and grandchildren and the residue of his estate to his surviving wife.

Our fees at present rates were £6,297 including VAT and disbursements*.

The value of the estate was £464,000 and the estate administration took seven months.

Mrs D, a widow, died in a nursing home. Her assets consisted of:

  • an apartment in an attractive seafront retirement complex;
  • three bank accounts;
  • National Savings Certificates;
  • foreign currency;
  • various antiques and jewellery which were sold at auction;
  • a portfolio of investments with a wealth manager; and
  • two further directly held investments.

Mrs D was the beneficiary of a trust which was dealt with separately but impacted on the taxation of the estate.
Mrs D had made 12 reportable lifetime gifts in the seven years prior to her death most of which were identified on a comprehensive review of her bank statements by us as her executors had limited knowledge of her financial arrangements.

Her Will left 21 cash legacies to individuals and charities. The residue of her estate after tax and expenses was split equally between 13 beneficiaries a number of which were living overseas.

The retirement apartment was already on the market at the date of death and took a further 18 months to sell which delayed the completion of the estate considerably.

Our fees at present rates were £31,990 including VAT and disbursements*.

The value of the estate was approximately £1.55 million. The estate administration took 21 months to complete.

Fees for our services will either be fixed or charged on the basis of an hourly rate, depending on the circumstances. Where hourly rates apply, these will be:

Status Hourly rate
Partners/Consultants £300 – £400 per hour
Senior Associates £260 – £300 per hour
Associates £195 – £210 per hour
Solicitors/Legal Executives £170 – £200 per hour
Trainees £125 per hour
Paralegals £90 – £190 per hour

Hourly rates are reviewed from time to time, usually on 1 May each year. Other teams may charge different hourly rates but we would advise you in advance of any changes to rates set out above.

Legal costs for those who want to be more hands on

If you would prefer to carry out some of the work yourself but want the certainty that the important application for the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) has been professionally dealt with, then we offer a ‘Grant Only Service’. You gather the information and evidence of values as at the date of death and, once the Grant is issued by the Court, you carry on with the estate administration. If you need any more help from us with the estate we can help as additional work/fees. We only offer our Grant Only Service where there is no IHT due.

Our Grant only fees are:

For simplified estates where an IHT205 is needed our fees including VAT and court fees are £2,795

For other estates where an IHT400 is needed our fees including VAT and court fees are £3,695

Please contact us to discuss what is included in this service. Court fees are accurate as at August 2021.

VAT & disbursements

Our fees and some disbursements are subject to VAT at 20%. Disbursements are charges payable in addition to our fees, normally to a third party. They can include fees payable to the Land Registry, barristers or search providers. The amount charged for the disbursements depends upon a number of variables so we will be able to advise you of the correct charges when we have further information from you.

*Disbursement costs

A number of additional costs may be incurred as part of the estate administration. These are not paid to Clarke Willmott but are due to third parties for their services and are known as ‘disbursements’.

These include:

  • probate court fees – £155 plus £1.50 per copy;
  • bankruptcy searches – £2 per search;
  • asset searches – £162 (including VAT); and
  • statutory advertisements – £250 – £300 (including VAT).

We will discuss these with you in our initial meeting. Disbursement costs accurate as at August 2021.

Contact a probate and estate administration Solicitor

Emma Pope photo, Partner Private Capital

Emma Pope (née Wiscombe) email-alt

Partner

Taunton

Emma Pope is a partner in Clarke Willmott solicitors' Taunton private client team specialising in high value estates and inheritance tax.

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Rebecca Clarke, private client solicitor, Manchester

Rebecca Clarke email-alt

Senior Associate

Manchester

Rebecca is an experienced solicitor dealing with all aspects of private client work from capital taxes planning and Court of Protection work, to advising private family charitable trusts to dealing with contested probate cases.

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Samantha Neagle, Private Client solicitor, Bristol

Samantha Neagle email-alt

Senior Associate

Bristol

Samantha specialises in the administration of deceased estates with a particular focus on the complex estates of high net worth individuals often involving intellectual property, business and foreign assets.

View profile for Samantha Neagle >

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