How Much Does Probate Cost?

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Looking At The Average Costs Of Estate Administration (Probate)

One of the most common questions we get asked about Probate is how much it will cost.

We know from many years of experience that there is no typical cost for probate services.

Each case will be unique and will therefore have to be costed accordingly.

While that may not sound particularly useful in helping you budget, this guide will hopefully give you an understanding of the processes involved and the reasons behind potential price variations.

If you’d like to discuss your specific case head straight down to our contact form below

Probate Costs

So, how much does Probate cost?

The short answer is: ‘it depends’.

Many variables can affect Probate’s cost, and we will highlight a few of these to give you an idea.

Choosing Bennett Griffin

When approaching solicitors to represent you with Probate, some fundamental criteria must first be met.

For example, if you would like Bennett Griffin to act for you, it’s essential to demonstrate that either:

– you have been appointed as Executor by the Will
– or, if your loved one died without having made a Will, you may be entitled to instruct us to administer the estate under the Intestacy rules.

Our team can discuss this with you during your initial enquiry.

What Can Affect Probate Costs?

Let’s examine some variables that can affect the cost of Probate services.

These can include:

– whether there are lots of different shares or investments
– whether there is only one or many beneficiaries to whom the estate is to be distributed
– whether there is more than one house or flat
– whether there is property or assets abroad
– whether there is valuable artwork or valuable collections
– whether there are substantial lifetime gifts
– if Trusts are involved

There is also much flexibility with what solicitors can help you with.

At Bennett Griffin, our team can agree to deal with everything for you or perhaps only with certain aspects of the estate if, for example, you wish to conduct some of the administration yourself.

We are here to help you as much or as little as you would like.

Probate Costs Example

To give you an idea of how our fees are calculated, here is an example of the sort of estate that can arise and how we would charge for our work on it.

Example Probate Situation

The deceased’s estate had one property valued at £500,000 in which he lived with his wife, who is still living there.

There were two building society accounts, one in the deceased’s sole name and
one in the joint names of the deceased and his wife with £50,000 in each.

There were shares owned by the deceased in BT and British Gas to the value of £50,000.

The sole beneficiary of the deceased’s estate is his wife. There is, therefore, no Inheritance Tax liability.

The deceased had a final salary scheme pension, which will transfer to his wife. The deceased’s son is the Executor.

We are instructed by the deceased’s son to deal with the whole administration of the estate.

Cost Breakdown

Having looked at the above information, we consider the work required to complete Probate on behalf of the Executor will involve the following:

  • Notifying the banks of the deceased’s passing
  • Collating valuations of all the assets in the estate
  • Applying for the Grant of Probate
  • Collecting the assets of the deceased and distributing them to his wife so that she will then be the owner of all those assets.

We would take the instructions of the Executor as to whether he wants the shares to be sold or transferred to his mother.

The deceased’s son said he would arrange and pay for the funeral, contact the pension company to tell them about his father’s death and arrange for the pension transfer to his mother.

He would like us to deal with the banks, transfer the property and sell the shares to convert them to cash.

We anticipate that an estate like this will take between 15 and 20 hours of work.

The hourly rate of our solicitors depends on their seniority and experience.

Probate Costs: Value Element

We also charge a value element to reflect the responsibility placed upon us when dealing with something of value.

It is usual to divide the estate (the total value of the assets left after a death) into two parts:

  • The value of the deceased’s home
  • The value of the remaining estate

The following percentages would normally be applied except in unusually complex cases, e.g. disputed Wills, missing beneficiaries, overseas assets etc., when the percentages may be higher:

  1. The deceased’s home | 0.5% of the value
  2. The rest of the estate | 1% of the value

Probate Costs: Disbursements

Added to our fees will be “disbursements”, which are costs in addition to our fees related to your matter that are payable to third parties.

Not all of these will be incurred in every matter.

They are:

  • Probate Registry fee
  • Additional Court copies of the Grant document
  • Statutory Notices fee
  • Estate Accounts software fee
  • Office Copy Entries of property title
  • Bankruptcy searches
  • Asset Search fee
  • Deeds storage fee
  • Same day transfer fees

How Long Does Probate Take?

Much like Probate costs, the time it takes to complete Probate can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and surrounding circumstances.

The time period that the Probate Registry takes to issue the Grant also has a bearing on the amount of time it takes to complete the estate.

At the moment, the Probate Registry is asking us not to chase them for the Grant until 16 weeks have passed from the date of the application, potentially adding an additional 4 months to the time frame. However, some Grants can be made with 4 weeks of the application.

It is indeed very difficult to predict.

The Royal Mail postal strikes have also added an additional layer of uncertainty.

If we take the example above, three to six months would be a realistic time frame on the assumption that the Grant arrives within 8 weeks of application.

If a return for Inheritance Tax is required, then the time period will increase, regardless of the complexities of the estate.

Additional complications which lead to additional costs will inevitably mean that the estate will take longer to deal with, and then it can be up to twelve months, with exceptionally complicated estates taking longer.

Again, we will discuss this with you and give you our best estimate of the likely timescales, and, of course, we will keep you up to date as the work progresses. We will agree with you at the start of the matter how often you would like to be updated and your preferred method of communication.

Average Probate Costs: Summary

As we have discussed, the average cost of Probate can vary depending on the following:

– The complexity of the estate
– How much work the Executor or Administrator would like us to do on their behalf.

In addition to calculating the cost of our team’s time to carry out this legal service, other Probate costs will include the following:

– Value Element (usually calculated by dividing the cost of the estate by 0.5% or 1%)
– Disbursements (fees payable to third parties)

At Bennett Griffin, we are happy to help as little or as much as is needed at this difficult time.

We recognise that every person and every family dynamic is different, and will tailor our services accordingly.

You can find out more about our probate costs.

And if you would like to find out more information about our Probate services, please get in touch by calling 01903 229999 or emailing or complete the form below.