Wills, Trusts and Probate Costs Information
If Fosters are instructed to act in the administration of an estate, the costs and timescale will vary according to the estate of the deceased person. We therefore set out a range of costs and timescales.
Glossary of Terms
Grant of Probate (a Court Order applied for to 'prove' the Will of a deceased person, made by the executors appointed by the deceased person in a fully valid Will);
Grant of Letters of Administration (a Court Order applied for in relation to the estate of a person who died without a fully valid Will, appointing 'Administrators' to act in the administration of the estate).
Typical instructions received
We may be instructed to provide:
Advice only, for example:
- Advice as to the validity of a Will;
- Advice as to those entitled under the Rules of Intestacy;
- Advice in relation to a Deed of Variation;
- Advice to an executor or administrator as to their legal duties and obligations;
- Advise as to whether a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is necessary;
Applications for the Grant on behalf of the executor or administrator, the executor or administrator having themselves obtained full probate information which we use to apply for the Grant on their behalf. The executor or administrator deals with the administration of the estate themselves.
We deal with all or part of the administration which could include:
- Registering the death;
- Making the funeral arrangements;
- Obtaining full details of the assets and liabilities of the estate;
- Drafting the Oath;
- Completing the relevant HMRC form;
- Applying for the Grant;
- Registering the Grant with the various financial organisations;
- Receiving the estate funds;
- Distributing the estate in accordance with the Will or rules of intestacy;
- Preparing Estate Accounts
Advice only instructions will be completed in two weeks, comprising an initial meeting and follow-up letter of advice.
A typical timescale where an estate does not require an application to be made for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration is 3-6months.
A typical timescale where an estate does require an application to be made for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is 9-12months.
- Advice only instructions: Costs range from £160-£460 plus VAT;
- Grant only applications: £800-£1,200 plus VAT plus disbursements (see below);
- Estate Administration - no Inheritance Tax payable: £1,500-£5,000 plus VAT plus disbursements;
- Estate Administration - Inheritance Tax payable: £3,000-£25,000 plus VAT plus disbursements;
- We provide a parameter of our costs when significant estate information is known, for example £1,500-£2,500 plus VAT plus disbursements.
This is based on our hourly rates, the value and complexity of the estate and our experience of dealing with comparable matters. Our current hourly rates (subject to VAT) start from £220:
An example of a narrow costs estimate
Mr X died leaving a fully valid Will appointing his three daughters as his executors. His estate comprised a mortgage-free freehold property valued at £250,000, a Premium Bond holding valued at £30,000, a current account and an ISA savings account valued at £5,500 and £89,000 respectively. We acted for all three daughters who had a good relationship but whom all worked full time and did not have the time or knowledge to administer the estate. They had all acted as his attorneys during his lifetime and knew full details of his estate. They had registered the death and made the funeral arrangements. Mrs X had died four years earlier leaving her entire estate to her husband. In such a case, Fosters costs would be estimated at £2,500-£3,500 plus VAT plus disbursements;
An example of a wider costs estimate
Miss H died intestate having lost contact with the majority of her family during her lifetime. We acted for a cousin who had herself been estranged from family members. Miss H left a large estate, subject to the payment of inheritance tax. A tracing agent was instructed to locate the beneficiaries. The first beneficiary located had lost mental capacity and had no-one appointed to give valid receipt for the funds due to her from the estate. In such a case, Fosters costs would be estimated at £7,500-£12,000 plus VAT plus disbursements and would be subject to a regular review of our costs estimate as further information emerged.
Factors that will increase costs and timescale
Typical factors include:
- Difficulty ascertaining the financial assets held by the deceased at the date of death and the need to instruct third parties, e.g. Unclaimed Assets Register;
- A change of taxation status of the estate during the administration, e.g. assets emerging that make the estate subject to the payment of inheritance tax when previously it was believed that the estate was non-taxable;
- Protracted negotiations with HMRC are necessary to agree the amount of Inheritance Tax payable by the estate;
- Fosters acting for one executor or administrator and another firm acting for other(s), e.g. where executors or administrators do not agree;
- Difficulty locating beneficiaries;
- Difficulty in obtaining documents to prove available tax reliefs resulting is us having to obtain duplicates, e.g. copies of Grant of Probate of first spouse to die, copies of marriage certificates;
- The need for post-death tax planning to mitigate the payment of inheritance tax by the family in the future;
- Instructions to prepare a Deed of Variation of the estate;
- Where a trust is created within the Will, e.g. for minor beneficiaries;
- Here a claim is made against the estate or the executor or administrator is put on notice of a possible claim;
- When an unforeseen complexity arises or where the way in which a client asks us to proceed means additional work.
Factors that will decrease costs and timescale
Typical factors include:
- Full details of the assets and liabilities of the estate are known at the point of instruction to us;
- Full details of the beneficiaries are known;
- Where the executors or administrators obtain the probate figures themselves and we deal with the application for the Grant and the administration of the estate;
- Appointing a 'lead' executor or administrator to receive all correspondence and communication from us, avoiding the need to duplicate such work and therefore increase our time spent on the matter;
- Providing us with requested information promptly;
- Trusting us to update you at significant points in the administration eg when the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is issued.
Disbursements are payments that we make to third parties on your behalf. To confirm, these are separate payments for which the estate is liable in addition to our costs.
Typical disbursements in Probate matters are:
- Probate Court Fee in application for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration - £155.00**;
- Sealed Copies of the Grant - £1.50**;
- Trustee Act Notice - £200-400 plus VAT;
- Bankruptcy Search Fees - £2 plus VAT per beneficiary;
*Costs quoted apply only where (a) all assets held by the deceased are in the UK and (b) the matter is not contested in anyway. One example of a contested estate is where a claim has been made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
**Only payable where a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is required to administer the estate of the deceased.
We are always happy to discuss any initial questions you may have as to how we can best assist you. For more information please contact us on 01603 620508 (Norwich), 01953 607724 (Wymondham), 01502 573307 (Lowestoft) or please complete our online enquiry form.