Probate | Curtis Parkinson

0115 964 7740 - law@curtisparkinson.com

Coronavirus – COVID-19: Whilst our offices remain closed, all our staff are working and our telephones are fully operational. We’re also offering meetings via video for advice on Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney or Probate and 'Drive In' appointments for Notorial services. As ever, please contact us if you have any queries. More >>

Probate

Probate

What Is Probate?

‘Probate’ is the distribution of a person’s property, money and possessions after they die.

Providing you have left a will, the person/s named in this (the executor) will be responsible for organising this distribution as per your wishes. If you have died without leaving a will, the law will decide who gets what. If the named executor cannot, or does not want to be involved in probate, it normally falls to your next of kin.

Probate can, on some occasions, be complicated. The executor will need to apply to the Probate Registry to be appointed prior to being able to do anything as well as trying to understand the jargon and relevant documents – all of which can further add to the stress of losing a loved one.

This is why many people choose a solicitor to either act as an executor as we have the experience to sympathetically handle the affairs of the deceased, thus taking the burden from a grieving person; or guide an executor through the process.

We can advise on the appointment of a suitable executor when drafting your will.

Our Fees – Probate (Uncontested)

We are required to publish prices for carrying out probate work in relation to uncontested cases where all the assets are in the UK. This includes situations where there is a valid Will (testate) and where the deceased has died without a Will (intestate).

Please note: the following examples are illustrative and as such, our costs are estimated and not exact.

Hourly rates

We normally charge on a time spent basis for the work that we undertake
(prices below are exclusive of VAT):

  • Solicitor with 8 years post qualification experience – £280.00 per hour
  • Solicitor with 4 years post qualification experience – £260.00 per hour
  • Other Solicitors and Legal Executives and fee-earners of equivalent experience – £240.00 per hour
  • Trainee Solicitor, Paralegals and fee-earners of equivalent experience – £146.00 per hour

We’re able to provide a fixed fee quotation for some types of work but it will depend on your individual case. As a guide, we’ve provided some examples of typical fixed fee probate matters below.

It should be noted, whilst we try our best to cover all bases when we provide a fixed fee quotation, the final cost may change if the information we’re given is incorrect or if circumstances change.

How much does this type of service typically cost on a time spent basis?

Example – Estate Value £200,000
Obtaining Grant of Probate & Estate Administration

We anticipate this will take between 4 and 10 hours work at £280 per hour.
Total cost estimated at £1,120.00 to £2,800.00 (+VAT).

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 cost estimate assumes we’ll handle the full process

For estates where:

  1. There is a valid will
  2. There is no more than one property
  3. There are no more than 4 bank or building society accounts
  4. There are no other intangible assets
  5. There are 1-4 beneficiaries
  6. There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  7. There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  8. There are no claims made against the estate

Expenses or Disbursements

Expenses are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Probate Application fees. We handle the payment of the Expenses on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The following are a list of common expenses, it will depend on your circumstances as to which are relevant.

Expenses not included in the cost estimate above

  1. Probate Court Fee
    (application fee for probate unless the estate is less than £5,000.00) – £155.00
  2. Settling Fee
    (if the oath required for probate or affidavit requires checking) – £12.00
  3. Identity Verification
    Mandatory (Anti Money Laundering electronic verification per person required – England only) – £15.00 + VAT
  4. Certainty Will Search
    (To search to see if there is a Will or later Will) – £100.00 + VAT (approximate)
  5. S27 Statutory Notice
    (To advertise for unknown claims & creditors) – £200.00 + VAT (approximate)
  6. Unclaimed Asset Search
    (Check if there are any other assets, you’re not aware of) – £150.00 + VAT (approximate)
  7. HM Land Registration Fee
    (Depending on type of application and value of property/consideration – Check Fee) – £40.00 (approximate)
  8. Copy Property Title
    (To check ownership of property at HM Land Registry) £6.00

Potential Additional Costs

  1. 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.
  2. If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50
    (1 per asset usually).
  3. Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
How much does this type of service typically cost on a fixed fee basis?

A few factors can affect the complexity of an Estate. For example, whether there’s a Will, how many Beneficiaries there are and the value and nature of the assets.

Some of our clients prefer the option of a fixed fee so that they have certainty. As you might expect, depending on individual circumstances, the costs involved in handling the process will vary.

However, to help you understand our pricing structure, we’ve listed below four typical examples of estates valued within the current Inheritance Tax (IHT) threshold of £325,000. You will see a headline price, that includes our fees, VAT and associated third party expenses or disbursements.

 

Example One – Estate Value £200,000
Obtaining Grant of Probate ONLY and where short form IHT 205 is required

  • 1 Valid Will
  • 1 property
  • 2 bank accounts
  • No liabilities
  • 2 Executors
  • 2 Beneficiaries

Total Estate value £200,000

BREAKDOWN OF COSTS

Legal fees £530
VAT on legal fees £106
Expenses / Disbursements (£163):

  1. Probate Court Fee – £155
  2. Bankruptcy – £8

Please note – there are also several additional optional searches we can perform. For a guide to these, please see Optional Searches below.

TOTAL COST FOR EXAMPLE ONE: fixed fee of £799 (inc. expenses and VAT).

This fee includes:

  1. Curtis Parkinson obtains the grant of probate
  2. Client administers the estate, collects the assets and distributes to the Beneficiaries

 

Example Two – Estate Value £200,000
Obtaining Grant of Probate & Estate Administration and where short form IHT 205 is required (includes collecting and distributing assets)

  • Valid Will
  • 1 property
  • 2 bank accounts
  • No liabilities
  • 2 Executors
  • 4 Beneficiaries

Total Estate value £200,000

BREAKDOWN OF COSTS

Legal fees £1490
VAT on legal fees £298
Expenses / Disbursements (£213 in total):

Probate Court Fee – £155
2. Bankruptcy – £12
3. Land Registry Fee – £40
4. Copy of Title – £6

Please note – there are also several additional optional searches we can perform. For a guide to these, please see Optional Searches below.

TOTAL COST FOR EXAMPLE TWO: fixed fee of £2,001 (inc. expenses and VAT).

This fee includes:

  1. Curtis Parkinson obtains the grant of probate
  2. Curtis Parkinson administers the estate by collecting assets and distributing to the Beneficiaries

This fee does not include sale of property, only transfer of registered land to Beneficiaries

 

Example Three – Estate Value £325,000
Obtaining Grant of Probate ONLY and where long form IHT 400 is required

  • Valid Will
  • 1 property
  • 4 bank accounts
  • No liabilities
  • 2 Executors
  • 6 Beneficiaries

Total Estate value £325,000

BREAKDOWN OF COSTS

Legal fees £1090
VAT on legal fees £218
Expenses / Disbursements (£171 in total):

  1. Probate Court Fee – £155
  2. Bankruptcy – £16

Please note – there are also several additional optional searches we can perform. For a guide to these, please see Optional Searches below. 

TOTAL COST FOR EXAMPLE THREE: fixed fee of £ 1,479 (inc. expenses and VAT).

This fee includes:

  1. Curtis Parkinson obtains the grant of probate
  2. Client administers the estate, collects the assets and distributes to the Beneficiaries

 

Example Four – Estate Value £325,000
Obtaining Probate & Estate Administration and where long form IHT 400 is required (includes collecting and distributing assets)

  • Valid Will
  • 1 property
  • 4 bank accounts
  • No liabilities
  • 2 Executors
  • 6 Beneficiaries

Total Estate value £325,000

BREAKDOWN OF COSTS

Legal fees £2890
VAT on legal fees £578
Expenses / Disbursements (£171 in total):

  1. Probate Court Fee – £155
  2. Bankruptcy – £16

Please note – there are also several additional optional searches we can perform. For a guide to these, please see Optional Searches below.

TOTAL COST FOR EXAMPLE FOUR: fixed fee of £3,639(inc. expenses and VAT).

This fee includes:

  1. Curtis Parkinson obtains the grant of probate
  2. Curtis Parkinson administers the estate by collecting assets and distributing to the Beneficiaries

This fee does not include sale of property, only transfer of registered land to Beneficiaries

The Probate process

How long will the Probate process take?

It’s difficult to set a timescale for probate and administration, but if you have any expectation you must let us know when instructing.

On average, estates such as the one in our example above, would be settled within 3-6 months. Where there’s no requirement for HM Revenue & Customs to provide a certificate for probate the process is more straightforward and would generally take between 4-8 weeks.

Once probate is received or the property is sold, finalising administration will normally take around 4-8 weeks.

Stages of the process

As circumstances vary, the probate process will also vary. At the outset, we will explain fully when you become a client.

However, as a guide, we’ve listed below the most common stages in the process:

  1. You instruct us and provide all necessary identification evidence
  2. Pay any money required on account of costs and expenses
  3. You provide details of the estate
  4. We verify the details of the estate
  5. We carry out searches and identification checks
  6. Obtain further information if required
  7. Make application for probate
  8. Close accounts and settle liabilities
  9. Prepare estate accounts for approval by you
  10. Distribute to beneficiaries
Optional searches, tax liability, risk assessments, fee assumptions, and common factors that increase cost and time

Optional Searches

Statutory Notice

Statutory Notice requires creditors and claimants to come forward within 2 months. If you do not and should not have known about the debt, you can then distribute without being personally liable as executor/administrator. Without this, you will be personally liable even if you have distributed the estate.

The cost is approximately £200.00 + VAT.

Unclaimed Assets Search

An Unclaimed Assets Search is a thorough search of accounts that the deceased may have held, without this you may be at fault for not making a thorough search and become personally liable if other accounts come to light at a later date.

The cost is approximately £150.00 + VAT.

Certainty Will Search

This performs a National Will Register search.
It includes a REACH search which contacts solicitors closest to the deceased last known addresses and places they may have made their Will. If a will cannot be located it places a Missing Will Notification on the Certainty Missing Will Register (accessible by solicitors only). Without this, you may be at fault for not making a thorough search and become personally liable if another Will (or a Will) comes to light at a later date and you have dealt with the estate incorrectly.

The Approximate cost is £99.00 + VAT.

PERSONAL FINANCIAL DANGER TO YOU!

If you do not carry out the Certainty Will Search and there is a later Will (or a Will), these are some of the possible consequences for you:

  1. The cost of dealing with the administration of the estate and correcting
  2. If you have paid out monies to the wrong beneficiaries – you may have to pay this out of your own monies to pay to the correct beneficiaries
  3. You could be sued for negligence and or breach of fiduciary duty
  4. You may have sold items, property and the real beneficiaries would not have wanted you to do – you may have to try to correct this or pay compensation

There are many other risks and you are personally responsible out of your own monies!!!

Tax Liability

There are various taxes that can be relevant to an estate, it is case specific.

Inheritance Tax

We will always advise which tax is applicable to the estate in question. For an overview, please visit Direct Gov – Inheritance Tax.

Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax

If income tax or capital gains tax is applicable, we can obtain a quote and instruct an accountant on your behalf to deal with tax returns.

Risk Assessments & Fee Assumptions

  1. There is no dispute and you are instructing us in your proposed capacity as Executor/Administrator and will provide us with all the information in a diligent manner and co-operate with us diligently throughout.
  2. If new or unforeseen matters come to light you must notify us immediately so that our risk assessments and costs can be revised.
  3. If you do not instruct us to undertake bankruptcy searches, will search, unclaimed assets search and enter a statutory notice the risk to you personally increases.
  4. If the deceased was in receipt of any benefits which were means tested i.e., they only received them due to their level of savings and or income
  5. You must obtain clearance from the DWP prior to distributing any monies. Essentially, if the deceased claimed benefits that they were not entitled to in life then the DWP can and will request these back. You as the administrator are personally responsible for this and if you have distributed the estate and can’t recover it from the beneficiaries it WILL come out of your own monies! It can take over 6 months to deal with a claim from DWP or get clearance.

All beneficiaries are co-operative and diligent – if not, they can increase the time on your matter considerably.

Common factors that increase cost & time

  1. Property Sale – you will need to agree a separate fee with our conveyancing department
  2. Disputes & disagreements
  3. Delay in providing accurate documentation or information requested
  4. New matters arising
  5. DWP investigating the estate
  6. HM Revenue & Customs investigating the estate
  7. Tax returns being required
Disputes between beneficiaries

Disputes between beneficiaries can be extremely frustrating, particularly where the dispute itself is arguably disproportionate. In those circumstances, the Executor(s)/administrator(s) have one of two options:

  1. Either leave the beneficiaries to ‘fight it out’ and you hold the estate assets (or enough assets without delaying payment to other beneficiaries) pending determination of the dispute, or
  2. Where the dispute is causing unnecessary delays and neither beneficiary is willing to issue proceedings, the Executor(s)/administrator(s) may threaten and, if necessary, seek court directions

In these circumstances where we are the Executor(s)/administrator(s), we may apply to the Court for directions, the costs of which will be borne by the Estate. If you are the Executor(s)/administrator(s) and you refuse to make application to the court if so advised, we may in our absolute discretion terminate our retainer. We will have to revise our costs estimate if disputes arise, they can take a considerable time and cost to resolve.

Commissions & Authority to Retain Received Commissions

It is part of our business plan that where we receive commission from an Independent Financial Adviser that you agree to this commission being paid

to and retained by us and shall belong to us without us having to account to you for the receipt of the monies.

If we receive commission, you will be notified in writing of the amount and terms. Upon notification you agree that your irrevocable consent is then given, and such commission may be retained by us, without our being liable to account to you for it.

In doing so you allow us to maintain reasonable fees in relation to the foundation fees however the receipt or not or the size of the commission has no influence upon us in relation to the choice of Independent Financial Adviser.

Curt Thomas FILEX and Kenneth Curtis Solicitor, Partner and member of STEP who also supervises handle Probate matters. You will see we regularly receive excellent reviews.

Read Our Reviews

Meet Our Lawyers

Would You Like to Make an Appointment?

Please get in touch to arrange an appointment, or simply ask a question about our Wills, Trusts, Probate and Power of Attorney services.

Maggie Eley – Wills 1

Had my will revised today. Mr Curtis was polite, efficient and explained things well. Would recommend them for this service.

Maggie Eley

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:08:38+01:00

Maggie Eley

Had my will revised today. Mr Curtis was polite, efficient and explained things well. Would recommend them for this service.

Shirley Bennett – Wills 2

Curtis Parkinson were recommended to us and were exactly as described: kind, patient and helpful. They explained everything, but kept it simple.

Shirley Bennett

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:10:14+01:00

Shirley Bennett

Curtis Parkinson were recommended to us and were exactly as described: kind, patient and helpful. They explained everything, but kept it simple.

W. H. Watmore -Wills 3

Curtis Parkinson were very knowledgeable but easy going and helped us with setting out our will. I would definitely recommend them.

W. H. Watmore

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:11:42+01:00

W. H. Watmore

Curtis Parkinson were very knowledgeable but easy going and helped us with setting out our will. I would definitely recommend them.

Joanne Goldstein – Wills 4

All of my meetings were both friendly and professional. They made the process of dealing with my parents' wills and probate a non-complicated process.

Joanne Goldstein

Curtis Parkinson
4
2019-09-04T11:14:10+01:00

Joanne Goldstein

All of my meetings were both friendly and professional. They made the process of dealing with my parents' wills and probate a non-complicated process.

T. King – Wills 5

I'd recommend Curtis Parkinson for their kind and considerate staff. They helped me with my Will and LPA - everything was done on time.

T. King

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:15:05+01:00

T. King

I'd recommend Curtis Parkinson for their kind and considerate staff. They helped me with my Will and LPA - everything was done on time.

John Harrison – Wills 6

Curtis Parkinson were prompt, efficient and great value for money. They were informal, yet professional and gave good advice.

John Harrison

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:25:04+01:00

John Harrison

Curtis Parkinson were prompt, efficient and great value for money. They were informal, yet professional and gave good advice.

Michael Eaton – Wills 7

Curtis Parkinson were very efficient - they replaced my old will with a new one in the space of only a week. I would recommend them.

Michael Eaton

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:25:42+01:00

Michael Eaton

Curtis Parkinson were very efficient - they replaced my old will with a new one in the space of only a week. I would recommend them.

Geoff & Sheila Watnall – Wills 8

Curtis Parkinson dealt with matters without deviating from matters in hand. Quick response, very efficient and likeable manner.

Geoff & Sheila Watnall

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:26:34+01:00

Geoff & Sheila Watnall

Curtis Parkinson dealt with matters without deviating from matters in hand. Quick response, very efficient and likeable manner.

Rita Welbourne – Wills 9

I've never had a will before so I didn't know why one was needed, but Curtis Parkinson explained it to me. I'd highly recommend them.

Rita Welbourne

Curtis Parkinson
5
2019-09-04T11:27:23+01:00

Rita Welbourne

I've never had a will before so I didn't know why one was needed, but Curtis Parkinson explained it to me. I'd highly recommend them.

Debbie Spencer – Wills 10

Curtis Parkinson helped me to understand will writing. They were friendly and took the time to really go over detail.

Debbie Spencer

Curtis Parkinson
4
2019-09-04T11:28:10+01:00

Debbie Spencer

Curtis Parkinson helped me to understand will writing. They were friendly and took the time to really go over detail.
4.8
10
Curtis Parkinson
Partnerships & Accreditations