Applying for a Grant of Probate, collecting and distributing the assets
The following example is based on an estate where the second spouse has died and they received the entire estate from their predeceased spouse. Neither the deceased or their predeceased spouse made any lifetime gifts over the annual exemption (currently £3,000 per year), the deceased did not have any interest in a trust or hold overseas assets. The executors are dealing with the Estate agents in relation to the sale and arranging the distribution of the personal possessions.
We anticipate this will take between 12 and 14 hours work at £200 per hour. Total costs estimated at £2,400-£2,800 (+VAT). (Please note that the fees will be charged at the rate of the fee earner assisting you charges). Our highest fee earner’s rate is £230 plus VAT per hour.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
This estimate is for estates where:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 4 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are 2-3 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
- There is a full transferable nil rate band
Disbursements in addition to this fee:
- Probate application fee of £155 plus 50p for every office copy
- £7 Swearing of the oath (for each executor)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 + VAT for each beneficiary)
- £70 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
- £100 Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
We will handle the full process for you. This means that we:
- Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Draft a legal oath for you to swear
- Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
- Obtain the Probate and securely send a copy to you
- Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
Potential additional costs
- If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
- Making a claim for the transferrable nil rate band or residence nil rate band
- Finalising the deceased’s income tax to date of death
- Finalising income tax during the administration period
- Liaising with Trustees were the deceased received an entitlement from a trust
- Dealing with overseas assets and dual taxation
- Location of missing beneficiaries and arranging insurance
- Dealing with disputes, placing caveats etc
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6 – 9 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 16 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 6 – 8 weeks. Once this has been done, and provided it is safe to do so we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 3 – 4 weeks.
Before making any distribution the Executors need to decide whether or not they wish to place Statutory Notices in the newspapers. Statutory Notices are notices which are placed to allow any unknown creditors two months to come forward and make a claim against the Estate. If you do not place the Notices in the newspapers and an unknown creditor comes forward, at a later date, you will be personally liable for any monies due to the unknown creditor
In addition there are certain individuals who can a bring claim in an Estate within a six month period from the date of the Grant being issued. Those are surviving wife, husband, cohabitee, children (including step children and children of the family), civil partner or anyone being maintained by the deceased. As they can bring a claim on the last day of the six month period, the safe date for distribution will be ten months after the date that the Grant has been issued. If you were to distribute prior to this time, then as Executor you will be personally liable to anyone bringing a claim against the Estate.
Although this will not delay the administration of the Estate it could delay any distribution. If you do wish to distribute within this period it is worth considering early distribution insurance. We will be happy to assist you with a quote.