General Guidance to Clients on Fixed Fee for a Standard Probate Matter
Please let us know if you need this information in large print or have any other specific needs and we will do our best to assist.
Thank you for considering Kitson and Trotman LLP for your probate matter We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate where there is a valid will or, where the deceased left no valid will, the grant of the Letters of Administration. Following the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration we can help in the collection and distribution of the assets.
Below, we set out some pricing and other information about obtaining a Grant of Probate where there is a valid will and individuals are the named Executors or are entitled to take out Letters of Administration. The information explains the relevant process and the likely timescales so you are aware of the stages to be completed and can follow the progress of the matter. It also gives you details of costs and the probable cost range so you can assess the likely cost in your particular case. If you have any queries, please do let us know. We will confirm the costs in our letter to you if you decide to instruct us to deal with the matter.
Please note that this information given below only covers the work needed for the collection and distribution of a person’s assets following their death and is based on the factors given below. It does not cover making your will; dealing with assets outside of the UK, appointing a lasting power of attorney; or more complex probate or estate management matters. We are, of course, very happy to discuss your specific needs and can provide a tailored work plan and cost estimate if you would like one.
You are welcome to look at the Legal Choices website which aims to help consumers understand legal costs and assist them in choosing the right lawyer for their needs https://www.legalchoices.org.uk/
Should you choose our firm, we promise you a personal and efficient service.
The basis of the Fixed Fee
This quote is for estates where:
- there is a valid will or intestacy where the beneficiaries have been located;
- there is no more than one property;
- there are no more than 6 bank or building society accounts;
- there are no other intangible assets;
- there are up to 10 identified and located beneficiaries;
- there are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this 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 made against the estate.
If a matter or transaction does not reach a conclusion, we reserve the right to charge for the work done, using our normal hourly charging basis of between £140 and £255 per hour depending on which fee earner has worked on the matter. This applies even where a fixed rate has been agreed for the whole matter
Stages of the process
The precise stages involved in the handling a probate matter vary according to the circumstances. Our fee, (based on the details and exclusions mentioned above) covers: -
- Providing you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor or fee earner to work on your matter;
- Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries;
- Accurately identifying the type of Probate application you will require;
- Obtaining the relevant documents required to make the application;
- Completing the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms;
- Drafting a legal oath for you to sign;
- Making the application to the Probate Court on your behalf;
- Obtaining the Probate and securely sending one or two copies to you;
- Collecting and distributing all assets in the estate.
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6–12 months. Typically, obtaining the Grant of Probate takes 1–3 months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take 2 – 4 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2–4 weeks.
How much does this service cost?
The service in question as outlined above. We will handle the full process for you. 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 given below. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end. VAT is payable on some charges.
There are 2main elements to the legal costs for this service
- our charges; and
- expenses we must pay out to 3rdparties on your behalf(disbursements)
We anticipate the process will need between 7 and 15 hours of work at between £140 to £255 per hour depending upon the skills and experience of the staff involved. This gives a range of between £1295 and £3825 for the process.
VAT is payable upon our charges at the rate of 20% giving a cost range of between £259 and £765 on the sums shown above
in additional to staff costs there will be disbursements to pay. These are costs related to your matter which are paid to third parties e.g. court fees when applying for the Grant of Probate. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The disbursements included in the fee quoted above include (at Dec 2018 costs): -
- probate application fee of £150;
- swearing of the oath (per executor) £7
- posting of the death in the London Gazette—protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors; £60-£80;
- posting of the death in a Local Newspaper—this also protects against unexpected claims. £185 - £200
VAT is payable on the advertisements at the rate of 20%
Total Range of costs payable to us
The total range of fee cost for the service set out above (with 2 personal executors) are estimated as follows:
Between £ 1295 - £3375
VAT on legal fees
£259 and £765
Between £157 to £444
VAT on Disbursements
Between £12 and £56
Between £1723 - £4640
Our Private Client Team has over a considerable number of years of collective experience in delivering high-quality work in all matters relating to probate and estate administration. This Team can also help with your will, advising on Lasting Powers of Attorney applications and all aspects connected with later life as well as mental capacity issues. The team is based, in our Beaminster, Bridport Lyme Regis and Weymouth offices but visits can be arranged to your home at no additional charge if within one hour’s journey from one of our offices.
Tracy Scammell is the partner who heads the Private Client Team. Regardless of who works on your matter, the fee earners are supervised by Tracy Scammell, who is a qualified solicitor with well over 20 years’ experience of private client work. She is a member of the Probate section of the Law Society, the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners, the Solicitors for the Elderly and is on the Mencap Panel of Solicitors.
For details of the particular members of the team who may work on your matter, please see our website http://kitsonandtrotman.co.uk/under ‘About Us’ and click on the relevant person. The website also has details of the services we offer under the ‘Services’ tab; our offices and contact details.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided, please inform us immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you are unhappy about doing, so or would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints handling procedure by clicking this link http://kitsonandtrotman.co.uk/complaints-procedure Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
We will always attempt to resolve any complaints, but where this is not possible, complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Ombudsman. Details of the type of complaint that each body can address and how and when to contact them are given on the same link but please let us know if you would like any further help on this matter.