Our costs for dealing with probate

 This page gives you information about our fees for dealing with an uncontested probate, including applying for the grant and collecting and distributing the assets in the estate, and the expenses you will incur in connection with our work.

Not all estates are the same, and the cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the estate. If you call one of our experienced probate team on 01223 578070 (Cambridge) or 01223 518317 (Histon) and provide us details of the estate, the general provisions of the Will (or confirm if no Will was left), we can give you a personalised quotation which will you give more details of our fees and all the expenses likely to be payable in your particular case.

Our probate team

 Probate and estate administration are dealt with by Laura Hodsdon and Richard Lane in our Cambridge office, and by David Parker, Claire Sturt and Samuel Parr in our Histon office. David Parker is the head of our probate team.

You can find details of their qualifications and experience by following the link to Our People here

What work do you do in handling a probate?

We can help you through the process of obtaining probate and administering the estate at what can be an emotional and difficult time.

We will:

What fees and expenses will I incur for you dealing with probate?

 The total costs to you will be made up of:

Our fees and some expenses are subject to VAT, currently 20%. In the information below, figures in brackets include VAT.

We will look at each of these elements in turn.

Our fees

Our fees include all the work normally involved in submitting the inheritance tax return, obtaining the grant of probate (or letters of administration), collecting the assets, paying off the liabilities and distributing the net estate. Our fees will reflect the value and nature of the property in the estate, whether or not there is a valid Will, if IHT is payable on the estate, and the number of beneficiaries.

In a simple case, our fees will range from £1,500 (£1,800 including VAT) to £3,500 (£4,200 including VAT). An example of a simple case would be one where the person who has died is survived by their spouse and:

If the administration of the estate is more complicated or more time consuming to administer, our fees will normally range from £4,000 (£4,800) to £10,000 (£12,000).

In the most complex , high value cases or if more time intensive work is required our fees will likely be higher and would range from £10,000 (£12,000) to £150,000 (£180,000) but we will discuss the likely costs with you before we start work on such an estate.

Where partners in our firm are appointed as executors and trustees of the estate, we will charge for their work at an hourly rate of £235 (£282) plus a percentage of the value of the estate – 1.5% of the value of assets other than the principal residence where the value element would be  0.75% of the deceased’s share of that residence, in both cases plus VAT.

Our experienced probate team will be able to give you more accurate information on our fees when we have more information from you.

Our expenses

The expenses we will incur in the typical probate are:

Inheritance tax (IHT)

IHT is a tax which is charged at 40% of the value of the estate above any tax-free allowance that applies to the deceased’s estate (which could include a nil-rate band (of up to £325,000) and a residence nil-rate band (of up to £125,000 (currently)) and any reliefs that apply (some types of business assets and agricultural property are effectively free from IHT, and charitable gifts)

Sometimes the arrangements set out in a Will or that apply on intestacy are not the way in which the beneficiaries themselves would wish for the estate to be distributed or are not the most tax efficient distribution of the assets in the estate.  If required, we could advise you on the effect of a Deed of Variation (also known as a Deed of Family Arrangement) if all effected beneficiaries were in agreement to amend the way in which the estate be distributed: this would involve additional fees being payable, as the preparation of a Deed of Variation is not part of the ordinary work of administering an estate.

When you provide us with the details of the property comprised in the estate and its value, along with any liabilities of the estate, and details of whether lifetime gifts were made by the deceased, we can guide you as to how much IHT will be payable on the estate.

Is everything included in your fees?

Our fees include all the legal work normally involved in administering an estate. Sometimes, when we look into the assets in the estate, we may find that additional work is required, in which case we will tell you and inform you what additional fees are likely to be incurred. Our fees for such unexpected work will be charged according the time we spend, at an hourly rate ranging (depending on the experience of the fee earner handling your transaction) from £150 (£180) to £250 (£300)

The information set out above on our fees does not include:

How long does all this take?

So the whole process, from beginning to end, can take between 4 and 18 months. Obviously, the simpler the estate, the quicker it can be finalised.  If appropriate, Interim distributions to the beneficiaries can be made at times throughout the administration process if the personal representatives agree and authorise this.