Grant of Probate – What is it? The Costs? Get a Probate Quote

A Grant of Probate is the certificate from the Probate Registry which enables the Executors to gather in the assets, pay the bills, and distribute the inheritance. A grant of Letters of Administration is the same thing, but where there was not a valid Last Will so the estate was dealt with under the Rules of Intestacy. But getting to that stage requires a lot of research and form filling, which is why professionals are usually employed. Why not Contact Us for help?

We find the variation in cost for obtaining a grant of probate incredible. A firm that claims to be the largest in the lands probate quote was £8,000. We found a firm that cut the cost down to just £475. The clients saved £7,525 or 94%. We can promise to always do our best, but some cases really do need highly sophisticated advice where the hourly rate will inevitably be higher. But still modest for the level of expertise required. Of course, the Court fees are added on top of the £475, and it is possible the £215 was included in the other probate fee. Read on for Court costs and more, or use the form to the right to get information on probate quotes – or give us a call on 03 300 102 300. We won’t recommend a highly sophisticated service (more expensive!) unless you really need it. Either way, we help you to compare probate quotes, so you get the service your need at a cost that makes sense.

Just letting the local solicitor who may hold the Will do the work may cost you dear: so why not let us get a probate quote for you? No cost, no obligation. – what to do after a death?

You might even find out that a grant of probate isn’t even needed! That is an even bigger saving on probate fees. You would be surprised how often people worry and then it turns out there isn’t a requirement to get probate anyway.

Dealing with the financial affairs of someone who has died can be stressful, and the cost of delegating to some professionals is a lot less than others. So contact us to get a probate quote. Fixed fee probate quotes are available in many cases, provided you have enough information.

Is professional probate help needed?

  • Where Inheritance Tax is likely to be payable – there are penalties for not paying with 6 months of the 1st day of the month following the death. That can be hard to achieve unless everything is well documented.
  • Quarrelsome families often fall out forever – let them blame the third party!
  • Beneficiaries left out, or folk who may have been supported by the deceased, or to whom an obligation was owed.
  • Bankrupt beneficiaries can lead to bankrupt executors!
  • Disputes ideally need defusing as Court action can easily cost the price of a house or more.
  • Estates where tax planning has taken place including gifts and specialist investments. Careful research is needed.
  • Overseas assets – all sorts of complications here.
  • Where the deceased may not be “domiciled” in the UK different tax rules may apply.
  • The family don’t have the administrative skills necessary. With many estates costing less than £500 (+ Court Fees) to sort out, why have all the worry? Our recommended probate price can cover as much or as little of the work as you wish, even if it is just a quick check. Our associates are there to help.

Maybe you don’t need to get a probate quote as you can deal with much of the work yourself. But perhaps you want to clarify a few points and get a final check, just to be sure? We can help…

It costs nothing to get comparative probate price – just tell us a little about the estate and maybe save thousands!

grant of probate

A Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration usually if there is no Will) is the legal document giving the Executors (or Administrators) authority to deal with the assets and liabilities of an estate in accordance with the Will or under the Rules of Intestacy.

Probate quotes do vary wildly from firm to firm – if you find a better one, please do let us know.

What that does NOT mean is that the Executor/ Administrator can do what they wish with the estate. If they don’t follow the Law then they may be sued or even prosecuted for theft

Court Fees to obtain a Grant of Probate

or Letters of Administration. There are three sets of costs, the Probate Registry Court Fees, probate solicitors fees, and expenses of the administration. Let us deal with these in turn.

1) Fees charged by the Registry for the Grant.

Current fees for estates valued at over £5,000 are £215 + £1.50 per copy of the Letters of Administration. Solicitors are charged £60 less. There was talk of dramatically increasing these fees, but the Legislation fell through due to the election.

2) Probate Costs – Expenses of the Administration.

Whoever is the Executor or Administrator of the estate, there will be costs involved in managing the process. Expenses that Executors or Administrators can claim personally are very limited. No chance of making a profit!

However, it may be necessary to pay out for property insurance (you could get sued if you don’t and something goes wrong), urgent repairs and maintenance. Other insurance is available to protect executors. Bankruptcy searches on all beneficiaries, Trustee Act Adverts, tracing services, loans to pay Inheritance Tax, probate fees. Professional fees (we can source small amounts of help or a complete service at sensible fees should you wish it. There is also the cost of the funeral to be considered where there was no prepaid plan in place. See here to sort your own!

3) Do I need Professional Help?

Whilst we ourselves only give very general guidance, we have a range of trusted and experienced associates who can deal with everything from a few minutes help to sophisticated tax planning and trusts.

There are a few occasions when we would strongly recommend asking us to get the right professional help. Remember that once you do anything, you are stuck with seeing the job through, though you can usually delegate to lawyers and recover the costs from the estate.

  • Where you don’t have the administrative skills or perhaps the time.
  • Where there is any possibility of a dispute (unless professionally handled, these soon permanently scar family relationships)
  • Where a life partner or family member is not provided for.
  • Overseas assets.
  • Inheritance Tax liabilities
  • Executors are overseas or miles away from the deceased’s home. It is possible for non-recoverable travel costs to exceed the cost of legal fees.
  • Trusts within or outside the Will or intestacy (no Will).
  • Potentially insolvent estates.
  • Original Will lost.

Remember, you don’t necessarily have to hand everything over, we can help you just to get advice in specific areas.

4) Professional Fees

Lawyers probate fees vary wildly – as you have probably gathered, our job is to point people in the right direction to firms who can offer the necessary level of support and expertise. That may be 15 minutes advice or taking over a multinational estate with all its complexities or anything in between.

Bereaved family members are often in no state to deal with complex forms and administration. But we can offer a halfway house through our associates to check things through with you, cutting probate fees to a minimum.

Professional fees vary from a flat 1% to 4% of the gross estate, to hourly rates, typically over £250 an hour – all plus VAT and often charges for letters, phone calls etc. Some add a sucker punch of an extra commission, on top of the cost of the hourly rate of anything up to 1.8% of the gross value of the estate as a “responsibility allowance” – which can triple the bill. We will not recommend anyone who does that.

Our associates can help with straightforward estates from as little as £95 an hour (November 2019) and for more complex estates we would introduce you to others who can provide more sophisticated help at the low end of solicitors fees (but not expertise) – with no nasty responsibility allowance! Alternatively, a flat % of the gross estate. All plus third-party costs (disbursements) and VAT where relevant.

Probate Fees – Value for Money.  For help call 03 300 102 300

The amount we can save you on Probate fees varies substantially: our best to date is a 94% saving! It is unusual for it to be that much, but there are normally substantial savings to be made. We do ask for any quotes you have had, not so we can quote a little less, but so we don’t waste time when you have had a really competitive quote – we’ll just say so! Probate solicitors fees do vary widely, and there are other professionals who can help.

The basic form is simple, but you are welcome to add additional details to help make our recommendations better.

We are told that some firms charge as much as 4% of the GROSS value of the estate, plus VAT which makes it almost 5% – one pound in twenty (plus third party costs) being lost to the beneficiaries.

Another thing to watch out for is the officially sanctioned ADDITIONAL fee of 1.5% + VAT = 1.8% of the GROSS value of the estate ON TOP OF the normal hourly rate the solicitor charges. We think that is just not cricket.  It amounts to £18 on a £1000 asset or £5,400 one of £300,000 – plus all the time costs. Looking at London properties you “responsibility allowance” element could easily add £36,000 to the bill. The same will apply if the deceased had a mortgage or other debt of the same amounts, so a £500,000 property with a £400,000 mortgage would be dealt with at normal hourly rates – then another £16,200 added to the bill for the heavy responsibility!

We appreciate that many people wish to do as much as possible themselves and may only want a limited amount of help to keep probate fees to a minimum (not that that is always a good idea!) On the other hand, some will want everything done for them.

Our job is to introduce clients to suitable experts and to keep tabs on those experts (via your reports) to ensure they are doing a good job and providing value for money. We used to do it in-house, but experience shows that attracting and keeping good quality staff is really tough. So instead of doing that, we spend our time interviewing solicitors and other specialists to form a panel with various areas of expertise.  We can then chat with you to find out what your needs are, and pass you on to the appropriate panel member, once they have confirmed that they have the staff and time available to do the job.  You don’t really want to be 100th in the queue for attention!

Once you confirm that you wish them to act for you,  and have agreed the probate fees, we will send you a questionnaire so that you can report any issues to us.  This will then influence whom we recommend in future, unless the problems are sorted out quickly.

These are typical Probate Services and options:
(Members of our Estate Planning Peace of Mind Service pay 10% less.)

Option 1: they do all the work – there are two options – a fixed probate fee based on the estate or an hourly rate based on the complexity of the estate and the seniority of the staff who need to do the work.   The hourly rate is ideal where the family wish to do some of the easy work or the estate is really simple.

Option 2: 15 minute telephone review fee £60: no report – just a chat and verbal recommendations.

Option 3: 25 minutes Review including telephone discussion and time spent reading papers in advance on more complex, controversial or taxable matters at a cost £195.  There is no report – just a chat and emailed recommendations.

Option 4Deed of Renunciation (to allow an executor to resign).

Option 5: Deed of Variation – to change the way an estate is distributed – with the agreement of those who lose out!  This may save IHT, or skip a generation so those that need help get it soon, not 20 or 30 years later.  It may also be used to create Trusts, and to protect vulnerable folk.

Typical rate in the market for Probate help is around £288 an hour.  Our associates rates for simple estates typically range from £99 an hour.  For estate where Trusts or IHT are involved, the rate is £149 – still a big saving. Plus third party costs. More sophisticated solicitor led advice will naturally cost more, but will be sensible in the market.  High-level advice may be essential in estates where serious arguments are likely. Not all firms are equipped for Court appearances in disputes.

How much does it cost to get a grant of probate?

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