PROBATE AND THE ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES

No one can take away the grief when someone dies. But what we can do is to offer a discreet, sensitive and comprehensive service to resolve the legal and financial consequences that inevitably arise. By dealing with the paperwork and the legalities quickly and efficiently, we hope that we can at least remove one burden from your shoulders.

We offer a complete service for the administration of estates in England and Wales, including advising when the estate involves foreign assets. Our service includes:

 

  • advising you on the procedures involved

  • obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration

  • completing the HMRC returns

  • settling any tax liabilities

  • settling any debts and funeral expenses

  • advising on family provision

  • collecting in the assets of the estate

  • distributing the estate to the beneficiaries

  • preparing administration accounts


Where appropriate we also deal with:
 

  • Establishing will trusts

  • Obtaining Settled Land Act grants

  • Obtaining grants de bonis non

  • Resealing foreign grants

  • Tax planning for estates

  • Advice on succession

  • Caveats and citations

  • Probate actions

Our fees

Some estates are inevitably more straightforward than others.  So that our charges fairly reflect the complexity of a matter, we charge typically according to the time needed to be spent by our professional staff to deal with each matter.  We are also happy to work on a fixed fee basis where the scope of the work can be agreed at the outset. 

Our current hourly rates are:

  • £265 + VAT for partners

  • £235 + VAT for senior solicitors

  • £215 + VAT for solicitors

  • £180 + VAT for conveyancing assistants

  • £135 + VAT for trainee solicitors

Our probate and estate administration work is undertaken by partner and head of department Ben Williams and solicitors Thea Holloway and Iain Milne. They have been specialising in estates and probate work since 2004, 2011 and 2017 respectively.

Typical fees

We are always happy to provide estimates of our charges for particular estates, but our typical charges for simple estates are:

  • Grant only (ie no administration):  10 - 20 hours

  • Grant and administration :  15 - 30 hours 

A simple estate would be one with:

  • a valid will

  • a single property

  • a small number of bank or building society accounts

  • no other intangible assets/investments

  • a small number of beneficiaries

  • no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets 

  • no inheritance tax payable

  • no requirement for the executors to submit a full account to HMRC

  • no claims made against the estate

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.

Factors that would make an estate one of greater complexity include:

  • the absence of valid will

  • multiple properties

  • more extensive investments

  • a larger number of beneficiaries

  • inheritance tax payable

  • an existing trust

  • a will creating a trust

  • life policies

  • lifetime gifts

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.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to the estate that are payable to third parties, such as probate fees.  The most likely disbursements will be:

  • Probate application fee: £155.00

  • Copy probates: 50p each

  • Swearing of the oath: typically £7.00 per executor

  • Statutory advertisements:  £250 – £300  + VAT​

How long will it take?

On average, simple estates are typically dealt with within 4 - 6 months. Obtaining the grant of probate usually takes 2 - 4 months. Collecting assets then follows, which takes around a month. Once this has been done, we can prepare estate accounts and distribute the assets, which normally takes another month.

       Grays Solicitors LLP

       Duncombe Place
       York

       YO1 7DY

t:     01904 634771

f:     01904 610711