Our fees - Probate

Probate work – staff, experience and rates

Collectively, our team has over 140 years’ experience working in all areas relating to wills and estate administration. Typically we will work as a team to administer an estate – you will be assigned a dedicated solicitor to deal with your matter with the help of one of our experienced assistants. Their work will be supervised by one of the partners in the team.

Solicitors

Alison Allen - Partner Bath Office Head of Trust and Estates Team

25 years’ experience, £300 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:
Full member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) member of the Association of Taxation Technicians, full member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)

Andrew Mortimer – Partner Bath Office

30 years’ experience, £300 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:
Full member of STEP
Notary Public

Rod Smith - Partner London Office

20 years’ experience, £325 per hour
Professional accreditations and memberships:

Full member of STEP
STEP Advanced Certificate in Cross-Border Estates
Sits on the Law Society’s Wills and Equity Committee, is Observer to the Law Society’s Capital Taxes sub-committee and is a member of HMRC’s Agents’ Advisory Group for Trusts and Estates.

Charles Hayward - Partner Bath Office

39 years’ experience, £300 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:

Full member of STEP
Full member of SFE

Kathryn Layzell - Senior Associate Bath Office

15 years’ experience, £270 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:

Full member of STEP
Full member of SFE

Kerry Rogers - Senior Associate Bath Office

11 years’ experience, £270 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:

Full member of STEP
Full member of SFE

Amish Patel - Solicitor London Office

2 years’ experience, £260 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:

Student member of STEP

Sarah Clarke - Solicitor Bath Office

2 years’ experience, £240 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:

Associate member of SFE

Legal assistants - Bath Office

Julie Kane – Chartered Legal Executive, £200 per hour
Sue Norris £165 per hour
Sara Azzopardi £165 per hour
Daniel Jones £140 per hour

Lina Bolton - Chartered Accountant Bath Office £270 per hour

Professional accreditations and memberships:

Full member of STEP

Trainee solicitor

Amy Turner-Bayly

Work we do in a typical UK probate case

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor 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 necessary valuations of all assets and liabilities in the estate
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC returns
  • Draft the application statement for you to sign
  • Make the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
  • Obtain the grant of probate and send copies to you
  • Deal with the executors’ tax position
  • Prepare estate accounts
  • Collect and distribute all assets in the estate

Factors increasing time and costs

  • Registering the death, arranging the funeral, clearing the house
  • Hunting for details of the assets and liabilities in the estate
  • Tracing beneficiaries
  • Dealing with a high number of beneficiaries
  • Dealing with assets held abroad (often necessary to refer to our Cross Border team)
  • Dealing with lots of individually certificated shareholdings
  • Negotiating and settling tax liabilities
  • Agreeing values of assets with HM Revenue & Customs
  • Selling assets such as land or houses
  • Disputes over the estate
  • Dealing with pension fund and insurance policy death benefits
  • Setting up trusts in the will - e.g. for infant children
  • Dealing with creditors
  • Dealing with claims by family and dependants

Disbursements

  • Probate application fee of £155 plus £1 each for official office copies of the grant of probate (PLEASE NOTE that the Government are proposing substantially higher probate application fees of up to £6,000 depending on the size of the estate, possibly applying from April 2019)
  • Bankruptcy searches - £2 per beneficiary
  • Creditors’ notice in The London Gazette and a local newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – around £300

Normal basis for our charges

It is difficult to say give general guidance on how much it will cost to deal with a probate case. Cases which look similar may in fact differ wildly because of their particular quirks. Because of this, it is important that you give us as much information as you can about the estate at the outset so that in return we can be as clear as possible about our costs.

We aim, of course, to be as transparent on our costs as possible, both at the outset and by regular updates as the matter progresses. We need to be very clear so that you understand what work we are doing for the fee, and also what work we will not be doing.

Our normal approach is to give you two choices. You can either pay us on the time spent doing the job, on the basis of our usual hourly rates, or we can give you a fixed fee. If you pay on a time spent basis, we will give you guidance as to the likely band of costs we think will be incurred.

If you choose the fixed fee option, it will only be increased if certain identified, but hopefully unlikely, circumstances arise.

In very simple cases, or if we are undertaking one simple part of the process for you for you, we may well be able to give you a fixed fee which will not increase under any circumstances.

We are prepared to undertake only certain elements of the process - e.g. the work up to obtaining the grant of probate - and to set our fees according to that.

An example of an ‘average’ case

Here is an example of a quote for dealing with a probate case.

This quote is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than five bank or building society accounts
  • There is an investment portfolio
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are less than five beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC or negotiate the final tax bill
  • There are no claims made against the estate

Our costs for such a case

PLEASE NOTE – VAT will need to be added to all figures given, and disbursements (see above) will be payable on top.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE - These costs DO NOT include the costs of selling the property.

HOURLY RATE OPTION

If you select the hourly rate basis of charge, we anticipate the time costs at or current rates would fall within the overall band £6,000 to £12,000, and in all likelihood within the band £7,000 to £9,000.

FIXED PRICE OPTION

If you select the fixed price option, we would set a fixed fee. This could be increased if circumstances arise which require extra work (see above for examples of when this might be necessary).

Timescale for such a case

Getting figures for assets and liabilities, drafting inheritance tax return, obtaining the grant of probate - 2 to 3 months.

Selling all assets, closing accounts - 3 to 7 months depending on timescale to sell the property.

Paying all tax and liabilities, drafting estate accounts, final payments to beneficiaries - 1 to 2 months.

See above for examples of circumstances where time scales need to be extended.

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