Some probate solicitors charge fees on an hourly rate whilst others charge a percentage of the value of the estate. This fee is usually between 1% to 5% of the value of the estate, plus VAT.
On top of this there will be court or application fees, meaning that the final bill will probably be higher.
There is normally an upfront fee for probate, whether you carry it out yourself or employ the help of a probate solicitor.
The cost of probate, until 1 April 2019, when new fees are expected to come into force, will be as follows:
- Application fees for probate will be £155 if you apply through a solicitor and £215 if you do it yourself
- Estates worth less than £5,000 do not pay a fee
- Additional copies of the probate form can be ordered for 50p each. Several copies are needed for the administration process
- Copies ordered after the grant or letter has been issued will cost £10 for the first copy and 50p for additional copies
- Sealed and certified copies which you could need to access assets outside the UK also cost 50p per copy
- All grant copies issued will also include a copy of the will, if there is one
The flat fee structure for probate fees will end on 1 April 2019 and will be replaced by an incremental fee scale based on the value of the estate. For those with estates of high value, the price increments will increase steeply whilst those valued at under £50,000, will pay nothing at all.
Estates worth more than £2 million will incur £6,000 in probate fees alone, though the Government assures the new fees will not cost more than 0.5% of the overall estate’s worth.
Fees for probate will vary depending on what services you require from your solicitor.
Fixed Fee Specialists And Probate Fees
Specialist probate solicitors charge a fee based on an estimate of the complexity of work involved.
Your probate solicitor may offer certain services which they include in their probate fees. They may deal with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for the Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax matters. Larger companies may include a funeral depending on what plan you purchase. Look out for price match offers and whether upfront costs are required. All these factors might influence your choice of probate solicitor.
Our research has found prices starting from £1,500 excluding VAT and disbursements. There are a number of factors which can affect the complexity of an Estate and therefore the quote you receive. This includes value of the assets, what they are, whether or not there is a Will, and the number of Beneficiaries.
Hourly Rate Probate Fees
Solicitors who charge an hourly rate or a percentage fee usually base their prices on the value of the estate. This will usually be between 1% and 5% of the value of the estate plus VAT. Those dealing with large estates will be paying a large fee if this is the route they choose. However, the complexity of the estate may require a lot of advice and help and could lose money further down the line if probate isn’t done correctly.
Many solicitors will only give a rough estimate of their fees. A ballpark figure will be subject to revision, although you might be given a questionnaire that gives a more accurate picture of the work involved in your case.
Fees are often revised as the job progresses and interim payments may be required. Remember to factor in VAT if it’s not included in the price quoted. ‘Disbursements’, which cover items such as Probate Registry fees will not be included in the price, so factor them into the overall price too.
Some solicitors combine an hourly rate for ‘time spent’ with a percentage charge. If so, they must let you know at the very outset and charge a lower percentage for large estates than small ones.
When solicitors costs are charged by the hour, it is important to inform them of the full details of ALL the estate as quickly as possible. Some divide labour, which may keep costs down for you. If a solicitor’s costs seem excessive, you can get them checked by the court.
Banks sometimes offer a probate and estate administration service but this can often end up far more expensive than solicitors costs or those of a specialist company. It is inadvisable to consider carrying out probate through your bank.
Comparing Probate Fees
When you are choosing a solicitor for probate there are a few things to keep in mind.
For each quote you receive, make a list of what is included in each one. Each provider might offer a different service to another. Some probate services will be involved in every step of the process. Others might just help you apply for a grant of probate.
A certain solicitor or bank might have been involved in writing the will, in which case, they may try to insist on administering the estate. Remember, you do not have to use their services. If they insist, you can formally request they step down and even petition a court to have them removed if their insistence becomes too much.
Third party services, like the sale of property/assets, might add to the cost to probate a will. Ask your potential probate provider for a detailed breakdown of the costs of such services in their quote.