Probate and Wills Costs and Charges
Tozers’ fees for the collection and distribution of money, property and other assets belonging to a person following their death, where these are within the UK and the matters are not contested.
Simple and Complex Estates
Simple estates would usually include estates holding assets such as a property or bank accounts. Simple estates would usually have fewer than 5 beneficiaries and would not give rise to a tax liability.
Complex estates would usually include less common or more valuable assets such as an interest in a farm or other business, a substantial share portfolio or other valuable assets. These estates may have many beneficiaries and would often require protracted negotiation with HM Revenue & Customs to agree and settle the tax due.
Your estate may be towards either end of this spectrum or may be somewhere in the middle. Equally, our fees for assisting some estates may fall significantly below or above these figures. These estimates are simply average prices based upon recent instructions; the actual cost to you will depend upon a number of factors which we will discuss with you if you decide you wish to instruct us.
Costs and charges
When undertaking this work in relation to simple estates, Tozers’ average charge for the period from 01/01/2018 to 30/06/2018 was £2,682.08 plus VAT with the lowest fee charged in that period being just above £1,000 plus VAT and the highest being just below £7,000 plus VAT.
When undertaking this work in relation to complex estates, Tozers’ average charge for the period from 01/01/2018 to 30/06/2018 was £11,436.36 plus VAT with the lowest fee charged in that period being just above £3,000 plus VAT and the highest being just above £19,500 plus VAT.
Our charges for the work mentioned above are commonly based on one of the three following options:
- our standard hourly rates,
- our reduced hourly rates plus an additional charge linked to the value of the estate as at the date of death (the additional charge would be linked to the value of the estate and would usually be between 0.1% and 2% of the gross value of the estate) or
- a fixed fee (the availability of a fixed fee option is assessed on a case by case basis).
Our lowest standard hourly rate is £195 plus VAT and our highest standard hourly rate is £320 plus VAT. Our hourly rates vary according to the experience of the lawyer involved. All our hourly rates are subject to review each calendar year so they may increase during the period of any retainer with us.
There will be costs on top. These are fees and charges which Tozers may need to pay on your behalf as part of the process and may include Probate Registry fees, and fees for placing advertisements if needed. A standard Probate Registry application fee is currently £155. The cost of any advertisements will depend upon a number of factors including where the deceased lived; these fees are likely to be in the region of £180 – £280 including VAT where relevant. Other costs may arise depending on the circumstances.
For details of Tozers’ experts in this work, please click on the ‘People’ tab at the top of the page and then choose the option Probate and Wills under ‘Find By Service’.
We understand the stress and emotion surrounding a recent bereavement. The work we will carry out and the time needed to complete matters will vary depending upon various factors including the value and complexity of the estate, the terms of any Will, whether tax may be due and the personal representative’s approach to risk.
Key stages in the administration of an estate
- ascertaining the legally appointed executors or administrators,
- ascertaining the assets and liabilities of the estate and obtaining appropriate valuations,
- applying for a grant of probate or letters of administration, including the completion of HM Revenue & Customs forms,
- obtaining the grant of probate or letters of administration,
- collecting in the assets of the estate and paying any outstanding debts and expenses,
- confirming and paying any remaining tax due on the estate,
- deciding upon and executing the distributions of the estate in accordance with the Will or intestacy
Each estate is unique and so the time taken to complete these stages will vary. For simple estates, we would usually expect to be in receipt of the grant of probate or letters of administration within 3 to 6 months of receiving instructions although these timescales will vary according to the circumstances of the estate. The personal representative may then choose to collect in and distribute the assets promptly which may take a further 3 to 6 months or longer in some cases depending, in part, upon the assets involved.
Personal representatives who choose to release assets from an estate before various deadlines have passed will put themselves at personal financial risk. We will discuss these risks with you should you choose to instruct us. Waiting for the various deadlines to elapse may extend the time needed to complete matters.
For more complex estates the timescales would usually be significantly longer and are likely to be dependent upon third parties, including HM Revenue & Customs. For particularly complex estates the administration may take anything between 18 months and 3 years or longer in certain circumstances. We will discuss the likely timescales with you, in your particular circumstances, should you choose to instruct us.
Obviously, our fees do not include any external costs and charges which we may incur as part of the administration (tax, penalties, repayable benefits, fees and charges for example). You will be responsible for these expenses, in addition to our fees, on behalf of the estate. All VAT is at 20% rate.