Price and Service Information – Probate

Price and Service Information – Probate

1.              Introduction

Instructing solicitors can seem like a daunting process but it is easier if you clearly understand the scope of work that will be undertaken for you, how long it will take and how much you will be charged for this.

We are always very happy to discuss such matters with you, both before we undertake any work for you and at any point whilst any of your matters are progressing.
Transparency and a clear understanding of the scope of work, timescales for delivery and costs will be important for you, and are a fundamental part of our service, which has contributed in no small part to us building trusted, longstanding client relationships over a number of years. We would very much welcome the opportunity to start that journey with you too.

Since December 2018, in accordance with their Transparency Rules, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has required all solicitors to publish on their website certain key information for particular areas of legal work. You will find that information set out below for our legal services in connection with Probate.

Whilst we hope that you find this useful, because this information needs to cover a number of scenarios, it is unfortunately lengthy and not as simple as we would like it to be for you.

So, if you need any legal assistance and think that we may be able to help (including matters relating to Probate), please do contact us directly (whether over the telephone or by email) so that we can properly understand the assistance that you require and how best we help you. This will then enable us to provide you with a tailored estimate of charges for your particular requirements, which we are sure will be much clearer and easier for you to understand since they will reflect your exact requirements.

If you would like to provide us with details of your particular circumstances and requirements, click here to request a detailed quote / to arrange a meeting. We would be very pleased to hear from you so that we can assist you with the clear and transparent information that you need.

2.              Grant of Probate Only

2.1           Our Fees

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. In the case of disbursements, where we have indicated that VAT is chargeable on them, the rate of VAT will be 20%.

For Probate work, our charge is calculated on a time basis calculated by reference to the hourly rates set out below (5. Hourly Rates).

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there are a small number of assets, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are a large number of assets, costs will be at the higher end.

As a guide (based on the Scope of Work below) we anticipate that our work will take between 4 and 7 hours work. We estimate our fees will be between £1000 and £2000 (plus VAT).

2.2           Disbursements

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. In the case of disbursements, where we have indicated that VAT is chargeable on them, the rate of VAT will be 20%.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that it is necessary for us to pay to other people, businesses, agencies or entities on your behalf. We will ask you to provide us with the funds in advance to pay these costs.  These costs are in addition to our fees as set out above.

Anticipated disbursements are:

  • probate application fee (for estates of more than £5000) – £273 and any additional copies of the grant will cost £1.50 (1 per asset usually)

2.3           Scope of Work

Included in our fees as set out above is the following work:

  • initial attendance on you to explain the process of applying for the grant of probate/letters of administration;
  • completing an Inland Revenue inheritance tax return on the basis of the figures you provide us with; and
  • preparing the application for the grant of representation and making the application to court on your behalf.

Our fees set out above are on the basis that you provide us with the values of the assets and liabilities to be included in the application papers and also on the basis that the shorter inheritance tax return (IHT205) is required to be completed.

Our fees as set out above do not include:

  • any additional work required, including ascertaining the values of any assets or liabilities and general guidance during the administration period

2.4           How long will my matter take?

Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes between 3 to 6 months from when we have been instructed.

3.         Non-Taxable Estates

3.1           Our Fees

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. In the case of disbursements, where we have indicated that VAT is chargeable on them, the rate of VAT will be 20%.

For Probate work, our charge is calculated on a time basis calculated by reference to the hourly rates set out below (5. Hourly Rates):

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end of the range. For matters involving particular complexity, costs may exceed our published range but we will provide a clear estimate at the outset of each matter.

As a guide (based on the Scope of Work below) we anticipate that our work on each Probate for non taxable estates takes between 30 and 80 hours. Based on the hourly rates set out above of those who will be handling the matter, we estimate our fees will be between £6,000 and £17,000 (plus VAT).

3.2           Disbursements

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. In the case of disbursements, where we have indicated that VAT is chargeable on them, the rate of VAT will be 20%.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that it is necessary for us to pay to other people, businesses, agencies or entities on your behalf. We will ask you to provide us with the funds in advance to pay these costs. These costs are in addition to our fees as set out above.

Anticipated disbursements are:

  • probate application fee – £155 and any additional copies of the grant will cost £1.50 (1 per asset usually)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches – £2 (per beneficiary)
  • post in The London Gazette – £69.50 (+VAT) – protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • post in a Local Newspaper – £102.04 (+VAT) for Hull Daily Mail (price will depend on the charges of the Local Newspaper) – this also helps to protect against unexpected claims

3.3           Scope of Work

Included in our fees as set out above is the following work :

  • registering death and arranging funeral
  • attending property to collect papers, protect assets and secure property
  • initial attendance on you to explain the process of applying for the grant of probate/letters of administration and your responsibilities as executor and trustee during the administration of the estate
  • corresponding with local solicitors to establish whether the deceased had executed a later will with them
  • drafting notice of renunciation and entering into related correspondence
  • registering the death with financial institutions where assets were held, obtaining a valuation of the assets as at the date of death as well as collating the responses
  • ascertaining liabilities of the estate
  • placing statutory notices to creditors
  • advising you of the inheritance tax position and arranging the payment of inheritance tax if relevant
  • completing an Inland Revenue inheritance tax return
  • preparing the application for the grant of representation and making the application to court on your behalf
  • finalising the lifetime income tax position
  • corresponding with the Inland Revenue regarding inheritance tax and valuation of assets as appropriate
  • registering the grant of representation with the financial institutions and arranging the encashment or transfer of assets in accordance with your instructions
  • paying debts and administration expenses
  • corresponding with the beneficiaries and the subsequent distribution of their legacies
  • preparing estate accounts showing the assets included in the estate and liabilities of the estate, expenses paid and income received together with distributions made to the beneficiaries

Our fees as set out above do not include:

  • dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate; or
  • additional work required if there:
    • is no valid will
    • is more than one property
    • are more than 4 bank or building society accounts
    • are other intangible assets (such as shareholdings, stocks or bonds)
    • are more than 6 beneficiaries
    • are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets
    • is inheritance tax payable and the executors need to submit a full account to HMRC
    • are claims made against the estate
    • dealing with trust matters
    • realising foreign assets

3.4           How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 1 to 2 years. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 3 to 6 months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 1 to 6 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 1 to 3 months. The timescales do not include the sale of a property.

4.              Taxable Estates

4.1           Our Fees

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. In the case of disbursements, where we have indicated that VAT is chargeable on them, the rate of VAT will be 20%.

For Probate work, our charge is calculated on a time basis calculated by reference to the hourly rates set out below (5. Hourly Rates):

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end. For matters involving particular complexity, costs may exceed our published range but we will provide a clear estimate at the outset of each matter

As a guide (based on the Scope of Work below) we anticipate that our work on each Probate for a taxable estate takes between 50 and 150 hours. Based on the hourly rates set out of those who will be handling the matter, we estimate our fees will be between £10,000 and £40,000 (plus VAT).

4.2           Disbursements

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. In the case of disbursements, where we have indicated that VAT is chargeable on them, the rate of VAT will be 20%.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that it is necessary for us to pay to other people, businesses, agencies or entities on your behalf. We will ask you to provide us with the funds in advance to pay these costs. These costs are in addition to our fees as set out above.

Anticipated disbursements are:

  • probate application fee – £155 and any additional copies of the grant will cost £1.50 (1 per asset usually)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches – £2 (per beneficiary)
  • post in The London Gazette – £69.50 (+VAT) – protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • post in a Local Newspaper – £102.04 (+VAT) for Hull Daily Mail (price will depend on the charges of the Local Newspaper) – this also helps to protect against unexpected claims

4.3           Scope of Work

Included in our fees as set out above is the following work :

  • registering death and arranging funeral
  • attending property to collect papers, protect assets and secure property
  • initial attendance on you to explain the process of applying for the grant of probate/letters of administration and your responsibilities as executor and trustee during the administration of the estate
  • corresponding with local solicitors to establish whether the deceased had executed a later will with them
  • drafting notice of renunciation and entering into relevant corresponding
  • registering the death with financial institutions where assets were held, obtaining a valuation of the assets as at the date of death as well as collating the responses
  • ascertaining liabilities of the estate
  • placing statutory notices to creditors
  • advising you of the inheritance tax position and arranging the payment of inheritance tax if relevant
  • completing an Inland Revenue inheritance tax return
  • preparing the application for the grant of representation and making the application to court on your behalf
  • finalising the lifetime income tax position
  • corresponding with the Inland Revenue regarding inheritance tax and valuation of assets as appropriate
  • registering the grant of representation with the financial institutions and arranging the encashment or transfer of assets in accordance with your instructions
  • paying debts and administration expenses
  • corresponding with the beneficiaries and the subsequent distribution of their legacies
  • preparing estate accounts showing the assets included in the estate and liabilities of the estate, expenses paid and income received together with distributions made to the beneficiaries

Our fees as set out above do not include:

  • dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate; or
  • additional work required if there:
    • is no valid will
    • is more than one property
    • are disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets
    • are claims made against the estate
    • dealing with trust matters
    • realising foreign assets
    • agricultural property
    • business property

4.4           How long will my matter take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 1 to 3 years. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 3 to 6 months. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 1 to 6 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 1 to 3 months. Often the final distribution is made after HMRC has confirmed it has completed its enquiries (commonly referred to as “clearance”). Clearance depends on the complexity of the estate and can take between 6 months and 2 years from the submission of the inheritance tax return and sometimes longer. These timescales do not include the sale of a property.

5.              Hourly Rates

Where hourly rates are mentioned above, it will mean the hourly rate ascribed to each person dealing with your matter as set out below. VAT will be charged in addition to the rates set out below which are stated exclusive of VAT:

Hourly Charge Rates                         £

K S Webster                                    280

R J Hoare                                        280

G E Martin                                      280

A E Floater                                      230

S A Price                                          210

P K Collins                                       190

C Merry                                            170

S Jeffery                                           175

J Weeks                                            150

M L Humphrey                               150

D Barnes                                          150

L Crabb                                            150

J Pearman                                        75

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the rate of 20%. 

6.              Individuals dealing with the matter

Richard Hoare

Richard is the Head of our Private Client Department and works between the firm’s Hull and York offices.

Richard has advised countless individuals in relation to their personal affairs since he qualified as a solicitor over 25 years ago, and frequently acts for high net worth individuals including company directors and business owners.  He has worked at the firm since qualification and became a partner in 2002.

Richard advises clients regularly in connection with probate and estate administration.  He also has expertise in relation to the preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, and his experience extends to conducting litigation arising from contested Wills and contentious Court of Protection cases.

Kevin Webster

Kevin was admitted as a solicitor in 1986 and has specialised in private client work ever since.

Kevin is a chartered tax advisor and a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners as well as the Law Society’s Probate Section.

Kevin handles the administration of complex estates and often acts as an executor on behalf of clients.  Kevin also has particular expertise in estate and succession planning including the preparation of wills and the creation and administration of trusts.

Geraldine Martin

Geraldine is a fully qualified member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and has twenty years of experience in the private client sector.

Geraldine divides her time between our Hull and York offices and assists clients with a wide range of matters including the preparation of Wills (both straightforward and complex in nature), the creation, administration and termination of trusts, the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney. She also deals with the administration of high net worth estates and provides advice on the mitigation of inheritance tax.

Amy Floater

Amy is an Associate, professional Deputy and full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Qualifying as a solicitor in 2011, Amy has a specialist interest in the protection of vulnerable clients. As one of just a few solicitors appointed by the Court of Protection to act as a professional Deputy, Amy has helped hundreds of clients through very difficult times. As a Deputy and in the course of estate administration, Amy is responsible for administering clients funds worth millions of pounds.

Sally Price

Sally Price is an Associate in the tax and trust department.

Since joining the firm in 2014, Sally has advised numerous clients on the preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Sally also advises upon estate administration in particular assisting with the administration of complex high net worth estates.

Pippa Collins

Pippa is a Senior Solicitor in the tax and trust department.

Qualifying as a solicitor in 2017, Pippa has experience of hundreds of matters. Pippa advises clients on the preparation of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Pippa also advises upon estate administration in particular assisting with the administration of complex high net worth estates.

Charlene Merry

Charlene is based in our Hull office and advises clients on a wide range of personal legal matters including the preparation of Wills, care fee planning, Inheritance tax and the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Charlene also deals with probate and estate administration.

Charlene qualified as a Solicitor in 2021 and has a number of years’ experience advising clients in the private client sector.

Sonia Jeffery

Sonia is a Trust Administrator and joined the firm in 2017.  Sonia is a member of the Association of Tax Technicians and a qualified Accounting Technician.

As a Trust Administrator, Sonia supports the Private Client team with the administration of estates, preparation of trust accounts and tax returns.  She provides help and support on a range of technical issues.

Jannie Weeks

Jannie is a Paralegal in our Tax and Trust department and provides assistance in relation to the preparation of Wills, the administration of estates and the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Michelle Humphrey

Michelle is a Paralegal in the Tax & Trusts team. The focus of her work is assisting Amy Floater in Court of Protection cases.

Denkia Barnes

Denika is a Paralegal in the Tax & Trusts team. The focus of her work is assisting Amy Floater in Court of Protection cases.

Lauren Crabb

Lauren is a Paralegal in our Tax and Trust team and works alongside other members of the team in relation to the preparation of Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and the administration of estates.

Jo Pearman

Jo is a Trust Administration Assistant and joined the firm in 1996.  Jo assists in the administration of estates, including the preparation of estate accounts.

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    Call us

    Hull+44 (0)1482 325 242

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    Grimsby+44 (0)1472 267 770

    Scarborough+44 (0)1723 882 500

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