At Mason & Beer we aim to provide you with a professional and sensitive service.
How much will it cost?
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. Our advice and assistance can range from matters where application for a Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration is not required to matters where there are multiple Beneficiaries, more than one property, multiple bank accounts / investments / shareholdings, Inheritance Tax issues and possible areas of dispute. The cost of a matter will vary in accordance with complexity but we do appreciate that you want initial guidance and certainty as to the likely costs involved.
As a starting point, legal fees for administering an Estate are approximately 2% plus VAT of the value of the assets within the Estate. In our experience, many Estates comprise a main home and one or more bank accounts together with a few other liquid assets. For those or other relatively straight-forward Estates, in the absence of complexity, we will provide a fixed price for completing the work once the scope of the work is clear.
There are so many potential issues many of which may not be immediately apparent and we will therefore provide you with a more accurate estimate once we have full information. Key factors include : –
- Is there a valid Will?
- Is there any likelihood of dispute as to validity
- Are Trusts created by the Will?
- Will Inheritance Tax be payable? What reliefs and exemptions may apply?
- If Inheritance Tax is not payable, will a shorter Inland Revenue form suffice or will the longer form be required?
- If no Will, who are the next of kin entitled to administer the Estate and make funeral arrangements?
- If a Will who are the appointed Executors? Do they all wish to be involved in the administration?
- Might there be a later Will or a Codicil or do investigations need to be made as to the whereabouts of any valid Will?
- Are enquiries needed as to number, location and status of Beneficiaries, e.g. children, Charities, capacity issues?
- What is the extent of liquid assets, e.g. bank accounts, investments, shares, policies, pensions?
- Is there a main home and / or any other additional properties?
- Are there any foreign assets and / or issues as to domicile or Executors living outside the UK?
- Are there any likely disputes between Beneficiaries on division of assets?
- Are there any significant liabilities or claims that might be made against the Estate?
- Are we appointed under the Will as Executors, solely or jointly, with others? In that event, our charges will need to reflect the additional work and responsibility
- Our charges will not include dealing with any sale or transfer of property in the Estate but estimates can be provided by our Conveyancing Team
- Where other tax issues arise, e.g. income tax / capital gains tax, we will usually suggest that the Executors obtain advice from accountants / tax advisers.
Disbursements (in addition to our fees)
Disbursements are costs related to your matter which are payable to third parties such as the Probate Registry. We handle payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smooth process.
- Probate application fee of £155.00
- Additional copies of the Grant of Probate / Administration £1.50 each
- Bankruptcy only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
- £50.00 – £150.00 plus VAT (£60.00 – £180.00) Advertisement in the London Gazette – this protects Executors against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
- £50.00 to £150.00 plus VAT (£60.00 – £180.00) Advertisement in a local newspaper – this also helps protect Executors against unexpected claims
Potential Additional Costs
- If there is no Will or doubts as to validity or a possible later Will, costs will be incurred in investigations and safeguarding procedures.
- If the Estate includes shareholdings or sometimes other investments, Share Registrar or valuation fees may need to be incurred
- Valuation fees may be incurred for the family home, other properties or vehicles, personal possessions
Until we have all the necessary information, we cannot speculate as to what, if any, Inheritance Tax may be payable but you may wish to refer to a helpful link on HMRC website.
How long will the process take?
If there are no complicating factors, a good guide would be six to twelve months. It may take three to six months to obtain the Grant of Probate, one to three months to collect in and sell the assets and one to three months to then distribute the assets. Main factors affecting the timeline are the sale of any properties or dealing with Inheritance Tax or other tax issues. We have little or no control over the time the Revenue may take. It is not uncommon for DWP to raise questions if the deceased has been in receipt of means tested benefits, which can significantly delay settlement and increases costs.