PROBATE – what are our fees and how are they arrived at ?
Obtaining a Grant of Representation and dealing with the administration of an estate can be complex, sometimes several months to ensure everything is done properly. At Cross Ram & Co we can offer a complete estate administration service to deal with everything for you.
We hope the the following assists as a preliminary guide:
Obtaining the Grant of Probate
Where this is in relation to a straightforward uncontested case and where all the assets are in the UK, with no administration of assets involved, we would normally charge £1000 (plus VAT).
Obtaining the Grant and then dealing with assets and related matters
For applying for the Grant of Probate, collecting in and then distributing the assets, our fees would usually be 2% or less of the gross value of the estate. However every estate is different so a more detailed estimate is provided once the nature of the assets and their value is clear, the exact cost dependant on individual circumstance.
For example, if there is a single beneficiary, no property, no more than three bank accounts and no debts (other than utility bills), costs will be lower than if there are multiple beneficiaries, properties and bank accounts.
Other Factors & Assumptions in determining fees:
That there is a valid Will, no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets or claims made against the estate (If disputes arise this is likely to lead to a significant increase in costs).
Fee levels can also be affected where Tax Returns are prepared, advise given on any variation of the Will and specific Inheritance Tax issues such as carry forward of nil rate band of tax, residence, agricultural or business relief and/or where a fee earner is one of the executors. If there is no Will or the estate consists of share holdings (stocks and bonds), there could be additional costs. Our charges may also reflect the value of the estate involved.
Also note that that we are not able to provide any advice in relation to foreign assets (although we are able to co-ordinate advice with professional advisers in other jurisdictions in relation to assets held abroad to the extent specifically agreed in writing between us – which may incur an additional cost). Nor can we provide advice in relation to dealing with actual claims made against the estate, or contentious matters in dealing with the administration of the estate – these would be a separate matter.
‘The following factors are likely to increase the cost of your matter:
- not having all of the paperwork available, or having missing or incorrect information that needs investigation and correction
- third parties not responding to our communications promptly
- dealing with unusual or complex assets or items (for example: fine art; timeshares; shares in private companies etc)
As soon as any complications arise we would discuss these with you and agree the fee for the additional work being carried out in advance of any additional work being undertaken.’
In summary, we are happy to provide a more accurate fee estimate once a fuller picture is available.
Our team has over 40 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to wills and estate administration with particular expertise in high value estates and inheritance tax matters.
In this connection, it may be noted that the senior partner’s hourly rate is £260. He spends the vast majority of hours on Wills, Probate & Trust -related matters. The hourly rate of his Probate Assistant is £220. She spends 50% of her time on Wills & Probate and the remainder in her role as Cashier and Office Manager. (Rates are subject to review from time to time of course).
Disbursements (costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees) additional to this fee may include:-
- Probate Court application fee of £160.00 (but this is likely to be increased by the Court quite considerably in the near future)
- £7.00 swearing of the Oath (per executor)
- Additional official copies of the Grant
- £235.00 advertising in The London Gazette and a local newspaper – protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
And do note that dealing with the sale or transfer of any property included in the estate is not part of any probate fee estimate.