Why instruct a solicitor’s firm to get a grant of probate?
- It minimises mistakes, reducing questions from the probate registry and is therefore often quicker.
- There are always questions and issues arising from death and it’s very helpful to have someone experienced comment upon these, providing simple answers and reassurance.
- Funeral providers are often ‘happier’ extending credit to estates that are being dealt with by solicitors.
- It is a lot less stress to leave the matter to solicitors. Losing someone is an emotional time and the last thing you might want to do is to have to deal with the probate registry and financial institutions and administer their estate on your own.
- Putting the matter in the hands of solicitors can serve to avoid arguments between executors and beneficiaries.
Ok, so I’m asking you to get a simple grant of probate. How much is it going to cost and how long how long is it going to take?
The simple answers are (1) generally in the region of £2.5k inclusive of VAT including a probate court fee of £273 and the disbursements listed below, and (2) around 7 months however the longer answer, as you would expect dealing with lawyers, is ‘it depends’ upon what we are required to do and how long it takes us.
Fundamentally we charge £285 + VAT per hour when working for you. The figure above, stripping out the fees, assumes that we will spend about 7 hours working on your file.
It normally takes about 7 hours when there is:-
- A valid will
- No more than one property; the family home.
- There are no more than 5 accounts with U.K. banks and building societies
- There are no unusual assets for example: rights under an existing trust, businesses, intellectual property.
- There are no shares to transfer or sell.
- There is no dispute between beneficiaries about the division of the assets.
- There are no claims against the estate.
- There is no inheritance tax payable. If you want to understand inheritance tax better please follow this link https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax
To be clear we regularly handle large estates that throw up complex questions, no will, disputes be ween survivors, complex inheritance tax issues. We are more than happy to help you if the conditions are not as set out in 1 to 8 above. We provide a more accurate estimate of our costs after a first meeting.
- We charge separately for selling the home. Our current prices can be found here.
- The above service simply gets you a ‘grant of probate” this is in effect confirms your authority for you to go on to gather in money from the estate and to distribute it.
- Generally if the estate is more than £325k but no inheritance tax is payable because of an exemption we charge an additional £500 + VAT for making that exemption claim.
What if I want you to wind up the estate as well as getting the grant of probate?
We are more than happy to act on your behalf, once we have obtained the grant of probate, to wind up the estate.
We charge by the hour to do this we also charge a responsibility fee on top, generally this is 2% of the value of the estate up to and including the first £250k and 1.5% of the estate that exceeds this figure.
What are the steps involved in getting the grant of probate?
Please be aware that the steps below assume a straight forward application. If more complicated facts arise for instance there is no will or it is missing extra steps will be required. Each stage will need to be completed before we can move on to the next stage; delays at one stage will therefore stop the matter progressing.
Step 1 – Instructing us.
- locate the original will.
- report the death to the registry office and obtain the death certificate.
- Use the ‘tell us once process’ to update the government: https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/organisations-you-need-to-contact-and-tell-us-once
- Organise the funeral and bring the bills with you.
- Gather together all the financial information (banks statements, mortgage statements, share certificates, national savings information including premium bands, details of any debts loans credit cards etc, deeds to any property etc.
- Find proof of your identity i.e. passport and driving licence for each executor.
- If there is a property to sell, please obtain and bring with you an estate agents open market valuation.
- Make an appointment to see us and bring the documents with you.
Step 2 – Post meeting work
This is where we get to work on your behalf:
- At the meeting, we will go through the financial information together and we will discuss any concerns that you have.
- We will discuss with you the need to obtain empty property insurance.
- Following the meeting we will write to all the financial institutions to confirm the values at the date of death.
- We may carry out a search to check that there is no later will (or to see if there is a will if one cannot be found)
- We will write to you setting out our likely cost and the advice given at the initial meeting
Time Scale: We usually write to you within 2 weeks. It usually takes 4 weeks from the meeting to get the information back from the financial institutions.
Tips It is a very good idea to keep attending the property to see if any other letters have come in from any other institutions.
Step 3 – Once we have heard back from the financial institutions;
- Update you with the information we discovered.
- Prepare the forms required to obtain the grant of probate.
- Meet you to go through the forms and get your signatures on the forms
- Submit the paper work to the Probate Registry (it usually takes 6 – 12 weeks for the registry to reply)
Time Scale: The meeting and form submission process usually takes about 4 weeks.
Tip Some institutions take a lot longer than others to respond. If you want to help matters along at this stage you could consider chasing them up about once every 10 days.
Step 4 – Sending you the grant
- We will chase the Registry deal with their enquiries if they don’t respond within 12 weeks.
- We will send you the official copy of grant of probate once we receive it. At that time, if we have discussed it earlier, you can instruct us to wind up the estate.
Time Scale: As discussed above it is normally taking the probate registry 12 weeks to produce the documents.