Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitor’s Wills & Inheritance team is one of the largest, most qualified and experienced in the area, with a reputation for delivering considered and practical advice combined with technical excellence.
- Our team includes members of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and The Law Society Private Client Section.
- We offer clear communication and easy access to a dedicated team by phone, email or in person, depending on your preferences.
- Once you appoint Clifton Ingram you will have a single dedicated person assigned to you, ensuring that they are familiar with all aspects relating to your matter and providing you with continuity.
- Our team will keep you informed at every stage of the process and can meet with you personally should you wish to discuss any issues.
- Clifton Ingram is authorised under the Legal Services Act and therefore carries a much higher professional indemnity insurance than non-authorised firms for your peace of mind.
- You also have the assurance that if you believe that a regulated firm like us owes you money, you may be able to claim from the SRA Compensation Fund.
Our team is ranked in the Legal 500 who said this about us in their 2019 Edition:
“The 'excellent' Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors has ‘exceptional industry knowledge’ and is ‘consistent in its service delivery, with no surprises or missed deadlines’. ‘Knowledgeable and helpful’ head of Wills & Inheritance Peter McGeown's 'approach is sensible, straightforward and thorough'. McGeown specialises in inheritance and capital gains tax planning, will drafting and all aspects of trust and estate administration, and has a significant involvement with the firm’s specialist contentious inheritance team. Stephanie Rose specialises in wills, probate and estate planning, with further expertise in advising clients on eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare and local authority-funded care, and is recommended as ‘courteous, helpful, professional and efficient’.”
Information about Probate fees
The administration of the estate of someone who has died (often called “Probate” although, in fact, this only refers to a small portion of the work involved) is a complex area of work and no two cases are the same. Accordingly, our fees for dealing with work of this type tend to vary depending upon particular features of individual cases and for this reason, we will here give information about how our costs in relation to Probate work are calculated to assist you in any particular Probate cases of your own which you may wish to bring to us for assistance.
Stages of the process
Broadly speaking, the administration of an estate will often break down into four distinct stages, some of which may overlap.
The initial process, leading from the death of an individual up to the application for a Grant of Probate to their Will, will involve establishing details of the assets of their estate and, thereafter, obtaining valuations of those assets and, where appropriate, completing an Inheritance Tax Account and paying any Inheritance Tax that may be due on the estate before the application for the Grant of Probate may be made, and, thereafter, making the application itself.
2. Gathering up the assets of the estate
The immediate “post Grant” work will involve registering the Grant of Probate once it has been issued by the Court with the various asset holders and cashing in the assets of the estate and gathering them together; bank accounts, shareholdings and so on. At this stage, if there is a house or flat in the estate, then, if it has not already been placed on the market, then presumably it will be placed on the market and hopefully sold.
3. Tax and other administrative matters
Whilst the assets of the estate are being gathered in, the Executors will need to pay the debts of the estate and deal with various administrative matters, in particular liaising with HMRC in relation to the Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and, if appropriate, Inheritance Tax affairs of the estate. In complex cases, this stage of the work in the administration of an estate can take considerable time and will extend beyond the period of time spent in gathering the assets.
4. Winding up and distribution
Once all the assets of the estate have been gathered (stage 2) and the liabilities and tax affairs resolved (stage 3), then the Executors can move forward to stage 4, the winding up and distribution of the estate. Principally this will engage preparing Accounts of the estate showing the receipt of assets and how they have been dealt with and how they are represented, whether in cash or in stocks and shares or whatever other assets may still be held by the Executors at the time they are ready to distribute the estate.
The Estate Accounts will also show what the various beneficiaries of the estate (whether under the deceased’s Will or, if there was no Will, under the rules of intestacy which govern who inherits what when that person dies without making a Will) are to receive in respect of their shares of the estate and, depending on the number of beneficiaries and the complexity of the deceased person’s estate, the distribution stage could be quite complex or, for example, if there is a single beneficiary and relatively few assets, it could be very straight forward. An additional complexity (amongst others) might be if one beneficiary wants to receive an asset from the estate (for example stocks and shares or a property) and other beneficiaries need to be compensated in cash value terms from other assets within the estate so as to ensure that the terms of the Will are honoured and no-one is disadvantaged.
The foregoing is merely an outline of the sort of issues that might arise during the course of the administration of an estate and, as the work involved can vary greatly from one case to another depending upon a great many factors, it is not possible to give any fixed costs for a “standard” estate. The following is, however intended to be a guide to assist you.
If we are instructed to deal with stage 1 (application for Probate) alone, and the estate is straight forward (for example consists mainly of money held at the bank and/or a property and there is no Inheritance Tax to be paid) then our fees should be in the region of £1,800 inclusive of VAT. This reflects approximately 4-5 hours work by a solicitor or senior team member, at an average charge rate, inclusive of VAT, of £345 per hour.
In some cases, especially in the most straight forward estates, individuals may be able to handle stages 2, 3 and 4 without the need for any further input from solicitors or perhaps may be able to handle parts of stages 2, 3 and 4 with assistance from solicitors as required. We are very happy to act either in dealing with the whole of the administration and completion of all stages (which in complex cases will often be the case) or, on certain aspects of the work required in those stages which may be appropriate is less complex cases.
In a very straight forward case, stage 2 (gathering in the assets) might involve up to 4-5 hours work at a charge rate inclusive of VAT of £345 of a solicitor or senior team member. This fee could be significantly higher in more complex estates, rising to perhaps 20 hours at £345 per hour, inclusive of VAT.
So far as stage 3 is concerned, if the tax affairs of the estate are very straightforward (and in particular if there is no Inheritance Tax to pay) this could be undertaken within 2-3 hours work at £345 per hour, inclusive of VAT by a solicitor or senior team member. In more complex cases, especially where Inheritance Tax is payable and in particular where negotiations need to be entered into with HMRC concerning Inheritance Tax, (perhaps in connection with the valuation of assets or disputes about the availability of reliefs, and so on), stage 3 could be very involved indeed and might, in a very complex case, involve up to 75 hours’ time at £345 per hour, inclusive of VAT, for a solicitor or senior team member (although this would be exceptional and most cases would be at the lower end of the spectrum).
So far as stage 4 is concerned, then much will depend upon the size and complexity of the estate. In a very straight forward estate, the preparation of simple cash accounts and distributing the estate would not take more than 3 hours at £345 per hour, inclusive of VAT for a solicitor or senior team member. In more complex estates involving substantial assets and a large number of beneficiaries and possibly involving appropriation of assets, significantly more time would be required, possibly up to as much as 30 hours at £345 per hour, inclusive of VAT for a solicitor or senior team member in the most complex estates, although the majority of cases should be less than this.
During the course of the administration of an estate, various fees may be payable on your behalf (known as disbursements). These would include (although this list is not exclusive):
- Professional valuation fees for chattels and property vary depending on the value of the estate.
- Probate Registry fee (for issuing the Grant) £273.00 (No VAT) plus £1.50 for each Court sealed copy.
- Financial Assets & Liability Search (including Unclaimed Assets Search) fee £222 (inclusive of VAT).
- Bankruptcy Searches against each UK based beneficiary prior to a payment being made £2 per plus VAT name.
- Statutory Advertisements (based on adverts being placed in the London Gazette and one local paper) £150-220 (plus VAT).
- Land Registry Office copy entries £3.00 plus VAT per property.
- Certainty Will search (if required) £105 (plus VAT).
Who will advise you?
We allocate the most appropriate member of our Wills & Inheritance team to your matter once you instruct us, taking into account the size and complexity of the estate and experience required.
You can see details of all members of our Wills & Inheritance team by selecting the department on our People Page here or you can access individual profiles below:
- Peter McGeown, Head of Wills & Inheritance
- Stephanie Rose, Partner, Wills & Inheritance
- Anita Prymak, Senior Associate, Wills & Inheritance
- Alison Cross, Associate, Wills & Inheritance
- Denise Drammis, Trust & Tax Manager, Wills & Inheritance
- Jane Hignell, Trust & Tax Manager, Wills & Inheritance
- Carole Butler - Solicitor, Wills & Inheritance
- Kathryn Fielden, Solicitor, Wills & Inheritance
- Karen Markall - Solicitor, Wills & Inheritance
- Elizabeth Hewitt - Paralegal, Wills & Inheritance