Howells Solicitors Probate & Estate Administration

Probate and Estates Administration

Probate and Estates Administration

The death of someone close to you is traumatic.  The task of dealing with potentially large amounts of documents, ascertaining the assets and liabilities included in the estate, ensuring that any tax issues are resolved correctly and all tax is paid, applying for a grant of probate in addition to being under pressure from beneficiaries may feel like too much at a time when grieving is all consuming. It is a lot to deal with at a time when you probably can’t face it, but that is what is required of you if you are the Personal Representative or Executor. 

What is Probate?

When someone passes away and leaves property, money and possessions, which is referred to as their estate, someone needs to sort out who gets what.

The person who has been appointed to arrange this may need to apply for, what is known as, a ‘grant of representation’. This proves their authority to administer the estate. What form this takes will depend on whether a Will has been left or not.

The process of applying for the grant and the document you use to manage the estate is referred to as ‘probate’.

Obtaining a Grant only in an estate that does not have any Inheritance Tax to pay

This information about the costs is for an estate 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 between 1-3 beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If a dispute arises it 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 against the estate and the estate does not include; A business, farms, farmhouses or farmland, an interest in another estate, loans or mortgages payable to the deceased, foreign assets, assets held in trust, National Heritage assets or unlisted stocks and shares an control holdings.

The fee for this service is between £750.00 + VAT to £950.00 + court fee of £155.00 plus 50p per additional copy of the grant you request.

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.

What does the fee include?

  • Meeting with you to discuss your requirements
  • Advising you regarding the terms of the Will or the estate distribution on Intestacy (where the deceased did not have a Will).
  • Providing advice and information to you regarding your responsibilities as a Personal Representative
  • Drafting the Inheritance Tax form and witness statement and sending it to you to sign
  • Sending the documents to the probate registry to apply for a grant; and
  • Sending you the original grant and any additional copies you have ordered.

What is not included in the fee?

  • Administering the estate
  • Dealing with any disputes between the Beneficiaries
  • Responding to any challenges brought against the estate
  • Our costs for selling any property
  • Obtaining the date of death values of the assets and liabilities
  • Tracing any unknown assets;
  • Tracing any missing Beneficiaries
  • DWP enquiries; and
  • Resolving any trust issues that may arise
  • Preparing estate accounts

Obtaining a Grant only in an estate where there is Inheritance Tax to pay

The fee for this service is between £950.00 + VAT and £1,500 + VAT + court fee of £155.00 plus 50p per additional copy of the grant you request.

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 information about the costs is for estate 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 between 1-3 beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If a dispute arises it is likely to lead to an increase in costs
• There are no claims against the estate and the estate does not include; a business, farms, farmhouses or farmland, an interest in another estate, loans or mortgages payable to the deceased, foreign assets, assets held in trust, National Heritage assets or unlisted stocks and shares and control holdings.

What does the fee include?

  • Meeting with you to discuss your requirements
  • Advising you regarding the terms of the Will or the estate distribution on Intestacy (where the deceased did not have a Will).
  • Providing advice and information to you regarding your responsibilities as a Personal Representative
  • Drafting the Inheritance Tax form and witness statement and sending it to you to sign or meeting with you to explain the contents;
  • Submitting the IHT forms to HMRC
  • Sending the documents to the probate registry to apply for a grant; and
  • Sending you the original grant and any additional copies you have ordered.

What is not included in the fee?

  • Administering the estate;
  • Dealing with any disputes between the Beneficiaries
  • Responding to any challenges brought against the estate
  • Our costs for selling any property
  • Obtaining the date of death values of the assets and liabilities
  • Tracing any unknown assets
  • Tracing any missing Beneficiaries
  • DWP enquiries; and
  • Resolving any trust issues that may arise.
  • The payment of any tax – this will have to be funded by other means.

Administration of an estate

This work usually takes between 10 and 12 hours work at between £135.00 to £250.00 per hour. The range of hourly rates applied will vary according to the seniority and qualifications of the people handling the probate. The fees could usually therefore be between £1350 and £3,000 plus VAT charged at 20%..

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.

We will look at the facts of each case to be able to decide what is the most appropriate funding arrangement and agree this with you at the start of the matter.

This information about the costs is for estate 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 between 1-3 beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If a dispute arises it is likely to lead to an increase in costs
• There are no claims against the estate and the estate does not include; a business, farms, farmhouses or farmland, an interest in another estate, loans or mortgages payable to the deceased, foreign assets, assets held in trust, National Heritage assets or unlisted stocks and shares an control holdings

When you instruct us we will send a letter to you setting out the basis upon which we will charge our fees.

Possible disbursements:
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.

• Probate application fee of £155.00
• Bankruptcy – only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
• Post in the London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – £90+ VAT
• Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. This price will depend upon the location and the exact amount will be confirmed to you.
• Unclaimed Asset Register search – £25.00

Potential additional costs include:
• If there is no will or if the estate consists of any shareholdings there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. If it is necessary to make an application for the Transferable Nil Rate Band or the Residential Nil Rate Band additional costs will apply. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information.
• If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost 0.50p per copy (1 per asset usually).
• Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. We can assist with this and a quote can be provided where necessary.

What is included?

  • Meeting with you to discuss your requirements
  • Advising you regarding the terms of the Will or the estate distribution on Intestacy (where the deceased did not have a Will).
  • Providing advice and information to you regarding your responsibilities as a Personal Representative
  • Obtaining valuations of the assets and liabilities in the estate
  • Drafting the Inheritance Tax form and witness statement and sending it to you to sign or meeting with you to explain the contents
  • Submitting the IHT forms to HMRC
  • Dealing with any income tax that is payable or eligible for a refund
  • Sending the documents to the probate registry to apply for a grant
  • Encashing the assets and paying any liabilities out of estate funds
  • Preparing estate accounts
  • Contacting all beneficiaries to advise about their inheritance and carry out bankruptcy searches
  • Distribute the estate; and
  • Sending you the original grant and any additional copies you have ordered.

What is not included?

  • Dealing with any disputes between the Beneficiaries;
  • Responding to any challenges brought against the estate;
  • Our costs for selling any property;
  • Tracing any unknown assets;
  • Tracing any missing Beneficiaries;
  • DWP enquiries; 
  • Resolving any trust issues that may arise; and
  • Dealing with any property that was owned outside of England and Wales.

Time scales

Estates can be complex files to deal with which can include unexpected problems, disputes between beneficiaries and personal representatives, tax issues, and business interests, for example.

Estates which are relatively simple to deal with e.g. there is a valid Will, there is no more than one property and 4 bank accounts, no more than 3 beneficiaries who are identifiable and living in England and Wales, no dispute between the beneficiaries, there is no inheritance tax to pay and no claims against the estate, then we would ordinarily expect the case to last between 3 and 6 months.

In cases where there are complicating factors and inheritance tax to pay some cases can last up to 12 months.  When we meet with you and have obtained the information we require, we will be able to provide you with more information as to the likely timescale it will take to complete your file.

2 steps to contacting Howells:

Step 1

Call our New Enquiry Team on 0114 249 66 66  or email enquiries@howellsllp.com for an initial chat about your situation.

Step 2

We’ll listen carefully to you, clarify what you’re trying to achieve, and then explain if and how we can help you. We will take some initial information and liaise with a legal professional regarding your case. If it looks like we can help, we will book you in for a consultation with a legal professional.

The Team

Our team are highly knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of Wills and Probate. They are passionate about helping people take control of their affairs and ensuring rights and wishes are upheld. The team will put you at your ease immediately – while their professionalism and eye for detail will have you leaving relaxed and reassured.

We can meet with you personally in the comfort of our offices in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. If you are physically unable to attend any of our offices, a home visit can be arranged.

Lindsey Rawson
Partner
0114 249 6672
Louise Tissington
Paralegal
0114 2496692
Millie Nicholson
Paralegal
0114 249 6638
Stephanie Chung
Solicitor
0114 249 6766