Blanchards Bailey

Our Probate fees

We are a regulated law firm, meaning that we are governed and monitored by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

We MUST comply with the SRA’s Principles and Code of Conduct, where unregulated solicitors and will writers do not. Our obligations include, but are not limited to, us having to:

  1. Act in the best interest of each client;
  2. Provide a service which is competent and delivered in a timely manner;
  3. Take account of our client’s attributes, needs and circumstances;
  4. Make sure the lawyers managing and supervising the matter have the requisite legal and practical knowledge to carry out the work and that they keep their professional knowledge and skills up to date;
  5. Safeguard money and assets entrusted to us by clients;
  6. Keep the affairs of current and former clients confidential; and
  7. Provide transparency in relation to our fees and the service we provide.

We value our clients. So, we act proactively and commercial to assist them achieving their objectives.

The information below is set out to assist you in deciding whether you want to instruct us in relation to administrating an estate. We cannot set out every perceivable situation and therefore you can contact us to find out the likely costs specific to the administration of the estate you are involved with. You are free to accept or refuse any quote that we provide you.

Estate Administration


Fees are fully discussed with you at the outset of your instruction. Your agreement to our charges will be obtained prior to work being undertaken.

When dealing with an estate, whether testate or intestate and whether taxable or non-taxable, there are a number of administration fixed/standard costs that will need to be met, over and above the payment of our fees and any funeral and wake costs. These are payments due to third parties known as disbursements, and often include:

  • Probate Court fees – these are currently £273 plus £1.50 per office copy of the Grant of representation required (no VAT payable).
  • Professional fees – these will be incurred should you instruct a professional to undertake work on your behalf in relation to the estate administration such as an accountant, barrister or surveyor.  These will have VAT included in their invoice, where applicable.
  • H M Land Registry fees – these will be incurred in relation to obtaining official copies of the Register of Title in relation to property or land at £3 plus VAT each, or when bankruptcy searches are made against beneficiaries at £2 plus VAT each.
  • HMRC – Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax, where the estate is taxable.  No VAT is added to these tax payments. HMRC provide tools and calculators at where you will be able to obtain an estimate of the likely tax that is payable on the estate. A more accurate estimate can be calculated once the value of the estate is established. We will provide this as part of the administration. It is normal, although not common, for certain assets, gifts and lifetime expenditure to be considered by HMRC, meaning the exact sum of tax not being known until HMRC confirms it.

Our specialist probate department can assist you with an estate administration in a variety of ways. It is important to note that each estate is unique, and the team here will be able to tailor their involvement to meet your needs. Depending on your wishes, this may be a full estate administration or help with aspects of it.

Our costs in this regard are primarily based upon the nature and complexity of the estate but these can escalate where a client requires an increased level of communication and explanation which we are happy to provide. It is difficult, without meeting the Personal Representative(s) to give an absolute cost, because the amount of work involved does not depend on just the assets and liabilities, whether in number or complexity, or whether the estate is taxable. It also depends on the relationship between the individuals named in the Will (or those involved in an intestacy) as well as others that might be interested in the estate.

If instructed to deal with a full estate administration we usually charge on a percentage basis and typically find from experience that our legal costs will usually fall between 1.5% and 3% of the gross value of the estate, plus VAT and disbursements. Sometimes the percentage range could be more, or sometimes less, however with further enquiries we can provide a more accurate estimate. What could initially appear to be a straightforward estate administration may turn out to be complicated and time consuming. That is why we offer our no obligation appointment to explore the elements of the estate and your requirements, so we can explain how we can help with a view to providing you with an estimate of our charges. Every estate is unique and the needs of Personal Representatives differ, and we endeavour to tailor our services to your needs.

Alternatively and where agreed, we charge on a time basis of six minute units and out hourly rates are:

Partners: £350 per hour

Senior Associate: £310 per hour

Associate / Senior Executive £280 per hour

Solicitor / Chartered Legal Executive £250 per hour to £265 per hour

Graduate Legal Executive: £210 per hour

Executive: £210 per hour

Assistant/Paralegal: £150 to £185 per hour

Trainee Assistant: £130 per hour

Clerk rate: £110 to £120 per hour

Typically and for illustration purposes, our charges for the full administration of a more straightforward estate are estimated at around £4-8,000 plus VAT and disbursements whereas a more complicated estate administration could exceed £15,000 plus VAT and disbursements but these do depend on individual circumstances. More complicated estates may include but are in no way limited to the following:

Several assets and those with a complicated element, more beneficiaries, foreign beneficiaries, foreign assets, Inheritance Tax forms, disgruntled beneficiaries and/or executors, debts owed to the estate, claims made against the estate, issues over severance of the property, gifts, disputed wills, homemade wills, intestacy.

In some cases, the above fee structure is not appropriate and charges are raised purely on a time spent basis. We will advise you of the need to do this at the earliest opportunity and you will need to agree our costs before we continue acting.

Once the Grant application has been made, we normally offer the client the opportunity to fix our fees at an appropriate percentage, so you are clear on what the costs will be to conclude the matter.

When instructing us in connection with the full administration of an estate, our services will include, where appropriate:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced team of probate lawyers to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • obtaining details of the assets and liabilities of the estate, together with values at date of death
  • preparing a Schedule of Assets and Liabilities, setting out the gross and net values of the estate for Probate and Inheritance Tax, purposes for approval
  • applying for an Inheritance Tax reference – where the estate is taxable
  • preparing HMRC’s Inheritance Tax Account (form IHT400) – where the estate is taxable
  • preparing the necessary forms in order to claim the Transferable Nil Rate Band – when a transferable Nil Rate Band is available and the value of the estate warrants this.
  • preparing the necessary forms in order to claim the Residence Nil Rate Band and Transferable Residence Nil Rate Band – when the Residence and transferable Nil Rate Bands are available and the value of the estate warrants this.
  • completing the online HMCTS application process (taking into account any special factors to be raised with the Probate Registry)
  • sending the Legal Statement and IHT 400 to you for signing, or attending you to go through the application papers with you prior to signing
  • arranging for the payment of all necessary Inheritance Tax – for taxable estates.
  • submitting the Inheritance Tax Return to HMRC – for taxable estates.
  • submitting the online HMCTS Grant application and forwarding all supporting documentation to the Probate Registry in accordance with HMRC’s & HMCTS timescales
  • dealing with any queries the Probate Registry might have
  • subsequently receiving the Grant of Probate
  • placing Trustee Act Notices in the London Gazette and local newspaper, to protect against unknown claims from creditors
  • encashing or transferring assets
  • dealing with any queries raised by HMRC regarding the Inheritance Tax Return and, in due course, applying for the official Inheritance Tax Clearance certificate – for taxable estates.
  • paying any pecuniary legacies
  • arranging for the final Income Tax Return to be prepared if required
  • dealing with any Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax due for the period of administration (unless the circumstances require specialist advice)
  • preparing the Estate Account for approval by the Executors
  • once approved by the Executors, forwarding the Estate Accounts to any other residuary beneficiaries for their approval also
  • dealing with all reasonable queries raised on the Estate Accounts by both Executors and beneficiaries
  • making all necessary bankruptcy searches, sanctions checks and Anti-money Laundering checks and arranging final payments to all beneficiaries and dealing with all other formalities in order to conclude matters.

If the estate consists of a property which is to be sold or transferred, this is not included as part of our charges for administering the estate generally.  Our conveyancing department will advise you accordingly and provide you with a separate quote, in relation to their fees. Contentious matters and dispute or claims relating to the estate are not included as part of our charges for administering the estate. We will introduce you to our specialist Probate Litigation lawyers who will provide you with the necessary advice and provide you with a separate quote in relation to any such work. Unless specifically agreed otherwise, our charges for dealing with the full administration of an estate do not include administering assets held in another country.

Grant only costs

Alternatively, we offer a “Grant only” service. This is where we obtain the Grant of Representation on your behalf, based on information provided to us, by you. Our charges for this service range from £1200 - £1400 plus VAT and disbursements (see above) for simpler estates, and £1800 - £2,000 plus VAT for the more complex estate which require a full Inheritance Tax account to be submitted to HMRC but with no Inheritance Tax payable. If Inheritance Tax is payable our charges will start from £2,500 plus VAT. Once the Grant has been obtained this is passed to the Personal Representatives to administer the estate. Of course, if further help is required at this time then we would be very happy to help and the lawyer handling the matter would discuss any costs at this stage.

The UK’s current standard rate of VAT is 20%.

Timescales and stages

Providing an accurate timescale for the administration of an estate is difficult, as it will depend on a lot of factors, including the complexity of the estate as well as the fact that there can often be delays beyond our control as the administration will involve a high level of interaction with third parties.

At the outset of the matter, we need to obtain the necessary information about the assets and liabilities in an estate, which could involve arranging valuations and will include any jointly owned assets as well as those owned solely by the deceased. We will write to you within two weeks of being instructed setting out the information we require, together with the next steps, as well as sending out initial letters to help us obtain information about the assets and liability in the estate. However, as we are often relying on third parties to provide this information, we are unable to provide a timescale for when we may receive the required information.

During the time taken to obtain the information concerning the assets and liabilities of the estate, we will help you secure any property within the estate, as may be required, we will also deal with utility providers and funeral directors as needed.

We aim to draft the papers necessary to apply for the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration if the estate is an intestacy (no Will) and to prepare the required return to HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”), within two to four weeks from receiving the balance of information from the various institutions. These papers will be then circulated to the personal representatives of the estate for approval.

Once we have the approved application papers we will arrange for the payment of any Inheritance Tax that the estate is subject to and we also provide the completed Inheritance Tax Account to HMRC. In our experience, it can then take a further four to eight weeks for the necessary receipt to be issued by HMRC in respect of Inheritance Tax (if a full Inheritance Tax Return is required in this matter) and then a further eight to sixteen weeks for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration to be issued by the Probate Registry (depending on how busy they are).  If we do not need to file an HMRC account then our application for the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration can be sent straight to the Probate Registry along with the other requisite documentation and the Grant is usually issued between two and sixteen weeks.

Following the issue of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration, it can often take several weeks for the Grant to be registered with the various organisations. Following on from this the cash assets will then be encashed or sold and the proceeds, together with accompanying statements need will be received. The period of time this will take depends on the assets of the estate and if there is a property to be sold, which will need to go through the normal conveyancing process and can of course take months. There will also be all necessary Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax clearances to be obtained in respect of the estate, and the Revenue can sometimes take a number of months from the issue of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration to deal with this. We will of course chase accordingly.

After the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration has been issued, and the assets of the estate are being collected, we will prepare estate accounts for consideration and approval, this will be an ongoing process through the administration. Interim distributions would be considered within the preparation and updating of the estate accounts.

As you will appreciate, the estimated timescales mentioned above are without taking into account any delays which may arise due to unforeseen issues, such as the coronavirus, that affect the way in which third parties are able to process and progress matters.

At the conclusion of an estate the final estate accounts will be prepared for the administrators and beneficiary’s approval.  Once the accounts are approved final distributions will be completed.

As you may appreciate, administering an estate is not simple even when it is not complex. Our clients appreciate the service we offer at a very difficult time. We take pride in delivering an excellent service to our clients. Thanks to client reviews we are ranked as the best firm of solicitors in North Dorset on the comparison site Review Solicitors and incredibly ranked in tier 2 of the Legal 500, an independent guide for legal firms. Our team has over 200 years of collective experience in delivering an exception level of service and legal advice in all matters relating to private client work. We have particular expertise in high value estates, international assets, Inheritance Tax matters, dealing with property, etc.

We have a large probate team, providing an excellent and timely service. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Associates, Senior Associates and the Head of the department, Jerome Dodge. If you instruct us to act for you then you will receive additional information about those dealing with your matter in our letter of engagement.

Please click here if you would like one of our specialist probate lawyers to contact you.

So, how can we help?

Whatever your requirements, our team is standing by.

Blanchards Bailey
Blanchards Bailey

So, how can we help?

Whatever your requirements, our team is standing by.

Call us today on
01258 459361