How much does probate cost?

If you have lost a loved one, you will undoubtedly be going through a stressful time. We can provide clarity and guidance.

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We do not believe that the legal costs of a probate solicitor should be a source of uncertainty, especially when managing someone’s estate after they’ve died. Being an executor or a personal representative of an estate can be a stressful and complex process, especially if you are dealing with grief. There are many unknowns that you may face but we do not believe that your legal costs should be one of them. (Where VAT is stated to be payable this is currently at a rate of 20%)

It is difficult to estimate a likely fee before we know anything about the nature and complexity of a particular estate.

However, as a rough guideline, for straightforward estates our fees up to the point of obtaining a Grant of Probate are likely to be;

£3,000 – £6,000 + VAT for an estate which is exempt from IHT;  

£5,000 – £10,000 + VAT for an estate where IHT is payable;

More complex estates may require more hours and therefore are subject to greater costs. These can range from:

£12,000 + VAT to £25,000 + VAT for medium complexity
£25,000 + VAT for higher levels of complexity

If you are unsure abut the level of complexity involved, please get in touch and we will be happy to have a free, no obligation discussion with you.

Who will be managing my estate administration?

We have offices across England and if you do choose RWK Goodman to carry out your estate administration, we will make sure that your legal contact is in a location that is convenient for you. We have a number of regional heads who will either be responsible for or supervising your probate. You can see the team of Partners here.

How long does it take?

Estimations assume that the deceased’s death has been registered with the Registrar, death certificate obtained and funeral arranged already. If help is needed with this we can advise, and where appropriate arrange, but there may be additional costs associated with that.

On average, estates that fall into the category whereby our estimator can be used to provide a quote are usually dealt with within 6 to 12 months, however to add slightly more context to this, the various stages and time frames would be in the region of the following:-

  • Registration of death and obtaining valuations of the assets of the deceased, together with completion of the relevant Inheritance Tax return and drafting of specific oaths for the personal representative/executor to swear – 2 to 4 months
  • payment of Inheritance Tax (if applicable) and return of receipt of payment of the Inheritance Tax from HMRC – 1 month
  • applying for and obtaining the Grant of Probate – 2 to 4 weeks
  • upon receipt of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration, encashing the assets – 1 to 2 months (plus, if for example a house needed to be sold)
  • once all monies are received distribution of the assets with full estate accounts provided – 2 to 4 weeks.

Are there any additional costs with estate administration work?

There may be a number of additional costs, these are commonly referred to as disbursements. The probate fee estimator does not include disbursements in its calculations. VAT is charged on most disbursements, but not on court fees. Where VAT is stated to be payable this is currently at a rate of 20%.

Common disbursements would be:

  • Probate Court fee – £155, with a cost of 50p for any additional copies of the grant
  • £5 per personal representative/£7 per proving executor on swearing of the oath (we can advise what this means)
  • bankruptcy searches (against deceased and beneficiaries) £2 per individual searched
  • notices in the London Gazette and paper local to where the deceased died to protect the executors/personal representatives – we can advise on this, and the costs associated.

What are the hourly rates?

The rate you will be charged will depend on the location, the seniority, as well as the urgency of your legal work. The table below indicates the different pricing points for these criteria.

Role | Standard regional rate | Standard London rate |
Eq Partner £290 £400
Salaried Partner £270 £340
Senior Associate £250 £270
Associate £220 £240
Solicitor £210 £220
FILEX £200 £210
Consultant £290 £400
Legal Assistant £100 £120
Trainee £150 £175
Paralegal £135 £150

What services are included in the price?

We believe that we should be clear and open with you when it comes to the work that our probate services include. It goes without saying that our legal services include everything that the majority of cases needs to move an estate through probate,  successfully and efficiently. However, please see below for a comprehensive list on what is included in our probate services.

  • Initial client meeting
  • file opening etc
  • engagement letter/letters to executors
  • sort papers and check Will for any problems or advise on intestacy if no will
  • register death with asset/liability holder to obtain valuations
  • letters to beneficiaries/legatees seeking confirmation of identity
  • draft IHT400/IHT205/IHT217 and oath for Executors/personal representatives
  • apply online for IHT reference – if needed
  • client meeting (swearing papers)
  • paying Inheritance Tax if due
  • apply for the grant of representation (probate or letters of administration)
  • grant received
  • completion of forms to encash assets
  • letters to asset holders (with grant)
  • receive assets into the estate
  • bankruptcy searches, pay legacies, liabilities and expenses
  • bankruptcy searches/payments on account to beneficiaries
  • completion of tax affairs/IHT clearance
  • preparation of estate accounts
  • letters to executors for approval of accounts
  • letters to beneficiaries for approval of accounts
  • calculation of amounts due to beneficiaries/bankruptcy searches
  • completion of R185s if appropriate
  • snr partner liason time.

The following services are not included as standard in our probate work.

  • The personal tax return (Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax etc.) of the deceased for the period from the end of the tax year to the date of death, and during the administration of the estate.
  • The sale of or transfer of title to any property contained within the estate to a beneficiary.




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What other services can we assist you with?

Estate Administration

Let us help take away the burden and worry of estate administration. We have designed our service to be quick and stress free, whilst keeping you informed every step of the way.

Applying for probate

Before you can administer an estate, in most cases you will need a grant of probate. We can help you apply for and obtain probate. You can then chose to administer the estate yourself, or ask us to help you.

If someone dies without a will

Our solicitors regularly assist in estates where someone has dies without a will. We can help create clarity and handle all the steps to ensure that the assets are divided correctly.

Property transfer

If an estate requires a transfer of equity in the form of a property transfer then our solicitors are able do this for you. A property often forms the largest part of an Estate and we can help make the transfer quick and efficient.

Help with tax implications

We understand all the tax implications you might face and your concerns around how much to pay. We manage the complexities of your tax liabilities to reach a speedy and satisfactory solution.

Our services in Wills, Trusts and Estates

How we can help to protect you and your loved ones

If somebody dies without leaving a Will or their Will is not valid then this is known as dying intestate. At RWK Goodman we can provide legal advice on intestacy and how this may affect an inheritance.
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