Wills & Probate Costs

When somebody dies there is a likelihood that a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will) will be required if that person owned a property or had bank accounts that held over a certain amount of money. We will be able to advise you if a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) is required.

If a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) is required there are two services that we can provide:

  • We can handle all of the administration of the estate; or
  • We can apply for the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) for a fixed fee.

With both services we will provide you with a dedicated and experienced legal advisor to work on your matter who can provide you with guidance as to which service would be most suited to the circumstances.


Administration of the estate

This would include an initial appointment with the Executors of the deceased’s Will (or Administrators of the estate if there was no Will) in order to gain information regarding the deceased’s assets and liabilities. Following the meeting we would make contact with the necessary institutions i.e. banks, pension providers etc to enable us to prepare the papers to obtain the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) and make payment of Inheritance Tax (if applicable). After we had obtained the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) we would call in all of the assets and make payment of all liabilities and expenses. Once all of the assets have been called in and all liabilities/expenses have been paid we will prepare Interim Estate Accounts or Final Estate Accounts for your approval. It may be possible to make interim distributions before the administration of the estate is finalised. This is at the discretion of the Executors (or Administrators) and we will advise you if we consider this to be appropriate. Once these matters have all been concluded we will distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will or as otherwise agreed by all relevant persons.

Please note that the above is a simplified process of what happens throughout an administration of an estate and is not an exhaustive list.

How much does this service cost?

If you instruct us to administer the estate on behalf of the Executors (or Administrators) our charges will depend both on the size of the estate and the number of hours of work it takes to deal with the estate administration. We are able to provide an accurate cost estimate after the first appointment once the size and complexity of the estate is known.

Expected charges
  1. For estates valued up to £200,000. Fees will be between £1000-£3000.
  2. For estates valued between £200, 000 and £325,000. Fees will be between £3000 – £5000.
  3. For estates valued from £325,000 upwards. Fees will be between £5000 – £10000+.

Please note that all of the above are not inclusive of VAT and disbursements. Also if there is a property to sell or transfer this will attract a separate fee to be charged by one of our property solicitors.

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.

Costs are likely to be at the higher end of the range if:

  • There are multiple beneficiaries;
  • There is a property/multiple properties
  • There are multiple bank accounts, investments or share holdings (stocks and bonds);
  • There is no valid Will and a genealogist needs to be instructed;
  • There are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets or there is a claim against the estate. In this instance it is likely that the matter would have to be referred to a specialist contentious probate solicitor;
  • Inheritance Tax is payable

We will be able to provide you with an estimate at the initial meeting, taking into account the information that you provide us regarding the estate and we will keep you updated with any revision of estimates throughout the administration of the estate if applicable.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The disbursements that are likely to be included are:

  • Probate application fee of £155;
  • If any additional copies of the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) are required they will cost 50p per extra copy;
  • £7 swearing of the oath (per Executor) or £5 swearing of the oath (Per Administrator);
  • Certainty Will Search of £114;
  • Land Registry Search fee of £3;
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary);
  • £150-£300 to post a Section 27 Trustee Act 1925 Notice in the London Gazette and a local newspaper. This is done to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

How long will this take?

On average, estates can take up to a year to be finalised; however depending on the circumstances of the matter it can take up to 2 years plus.

At Cowlings, we will endeavour to finalise an estate as efficiently and as quickly as possible and we will keep you updated with regards to timescales.


Grant of Probate for a fixed fee

We can help you through the difficult process of administering an estate by obtaining the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) on your behalf, whilst you attend to the rest of the administration of the estate yourself. This would involve you providing one of our legal advisors with the necessary information (assets and liabilities in the estate) so that they can draft the application papers on your behalf before arranging for you to approve and sign them.

How much does this service cost?

Our fixed fee for this service is £500.

Please note that the above is not inclusive of VAT and disbursements.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The disbursements that are likely to be included are:

  • Probate application fee of £155;
  • If any additional copies of the Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration) are required they will cost 50p per extra copy;
  • £7 swearing of the oath (per Executor) or £5 swearing of the oath (Per Administrator);
  • Certainty Will Search of £114;
  • Land Registry Search fee of £3.

How long will this take?

On average, this can take up to 6 months to complete. This can often depend on how quickly you are able to provide our probate solicitor with the required information.

We can assist you in dealing with such matters at any of our offices and the following people may undertake the work on your behalf:-

Call us on 01709 587538 for more
information or e-mail us here