Probate and Administration
Probate is the legal process of administering someone's estate who has passed away. This involves dealing with any money, property and possessions they had at the time of their death. It also involves settling any outstanding debts, collecting money that's owed to the deceased person and dividing the estate amongst the respective beneficiaries (the people who are to inherit the estate).
We can help you thorough this difficult process by obtaining a grant of representation on your behalf. We aim to make our estate administration pricing as transparent as possible. We strive to achieve this by providing personal representatives of an estate with all inclusive fixed prices for our probate services wherever possible to provide certainty of legal costs.
We offer a free consultation to help guide you through the probate process to help you understand what's involved. Here’s a bit more about it.
What is probate?
Put simply, probate is obtaining the authority from the court to deal with a deceased person’s financial affairs in accordance with their will. When there’s no will, a grant of letters of administration may be required.
What is letters of administration?
It’s obtaining the authority from the court to deal with a deceased person’s financial affairs when they have died without a valid will. In these instances the “Rules of Intestacy” apply.
What are the “Rules of Intestacy”?
The “Rules of Intestacy” is a strict order of who’s entitled to a share in an estate that doesn’t involve a valid will and is based on the bloodline of the person who has passed away.
How long does probate take?
Every situation is different and often depends on the size and complexity of the estate. We offer a free, initial consultation where we can get a better idea of your circumstances so we can advise on how long we expect your case will take to complete.
How much does grant of probate or letters of administration cost?
We charge £475 + vat to obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration in order for executors or administrators to be able to deal with the administration of the estate.
What if I want my solicitor to deal with the administration of the estate?
If you would prefer for Russell & Russell deal with things on your behalf, we can do this. Our pricing structure is based on the complexity of the estate to be administered.
If the estate is valued under £325,000 and there’s no inheritance tax to pay, our fee is £750 + vat for dealing with up to four accounts (for example, bank, savings, ISA or NSI accounts). For estates involving four to 10 accounts, the fee is £1,500 + vat.
If the estate is valued over £325,000 and inheritance tax may be payable, we’ll provide a fixed fee quote for you once we’ve gathered all the relevant information about the estate and we understand its complexity.
Please be aware that should something come to light that wasn’t accounted for in the original cost we provided, our fixed fee could be subject to change. Also, if there are over 10 assets that need to be dealt with, we’ll provide a cost for this at our hourly rate.
The prices above are our standard costs, but they may be subject to alteration if administration of the estate falls outside what has been agreed with you or if your instructions to us change. In any case, the amendment in price will be discussed with you first.
Are there any other costs I should be aware of?
If there’s no will, we may need to trace beneficiaries - the people who are to inherit the estate. We may need to identify if the person who passed away owned any stocks or shares and we may even have to investigate the possibility that there is a will, but no one actually knows where it’s being held. These costs are outlined below:
For share/stock holdings
One to three share holdings: £100 + vat
Three to five share holdings: £250 + vat
Six plus share holdings: £300 + vat
Three to five beneficiaries: £100 + vat
Six plus beneficiaries: £250 + vat
What about any other payments?
Other charges to consider are called disbursements. These are compulsory charges related to administering the estate that the government levies.
- Probate court fee: £155 (subject to government review in April 2019)
- £0.50 for each copy of a grant of representation (grant of probate or letters of administration) required
You may have to pay other disbursements, such as:
- accountant’s fee for any income tax return
- asset tracing
- a certainty will search (a will that needs to be located)
- a statutory advertisement fee to advertise for unknown creditors
- any loss of shares certificates or share registrar
- the stockbroker fee for sale of the share(s)
Any or all of these costs will be individual to your circumstances. We’ll advise you if you’re liable for any them once we know the extent of the estate.
What if I want to sell a property I’ve inherited?
If Russell & Russell has been appointed executors or co-executors of the will, we’re responsible for marketing and selling the property. The sale price will also come under our jurisdiction. If this is the case, our fees may be subject to amendment.
What about transferring an inherited property into someone else’s name?
If you’re a beneficiary and you don’t want to sell a property you’ve inherited, but rather transfer it into your own name (or someone else’s), we can help. This type of transaction does incur additional fees which we can provide if you choose to do that.