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Probate Services

Following best practice guidelines, we are pleased to disclose how we charge for probate services.

Staffing

John Lee Ba (Hons) FCA our local senior director is a licenced probate practitioner and has obtained Grants of Probate for many years under ICAEW authorisation. This firm was the 44th ICAEW firm to obtain registration for this work some years ago. John qualified as a chartered accountant in 1983 and has worked in general practice since leaving university in 1978.

Approach to appointments

We generally act as the professional advisors to executors rather than take the formal role as executors. This helps client to control fees. Executors will normally be trusted family members appointed in a deceased’s will, who need our help to obtain probate.

Fixed fee structure

For simple cases where no inheritance is payable our charges commence at £1,250 plus disbursements. Disbursements will include the charges from the HMCTS normally in the region of £155 plus a charge of £1.50 for each copy of the probate grant or equivalent document if a will is not available.

Our charge out rates for a probate licenced director/partner are £200 per hour. We would expect a simple case to take about 10-15 hours of chargeable time. Hence our fixed fee charge represents good value for money and is seen as a contribution to our clients or contacts in these difficult times.

For more complicated cases at the outset, after a complimentary discussion, we will assess the expected time required to obtain probate. This is based on the complexity of each case. That may be due to complications in the will if available, the number or type of assets and liabilities, or whether we are asked to collect the estate funds into a client account. Typical charges will be from £1,950.

VAT at prevailing rates, currently 20%, will be applied to all charges quoted above and below except to HMCTS filing fees which are exempt from VAT.

Complex cases where no fixed fee is available

Where we are asked to assist on complex cases, we will charge an hourly rate commensurate with the level of experience needed to perform the task. That may be at a reduced rate of £75 per hour for administrative tasks rising to £200 per hour where director/partner is required. At the outset we will always give an indicative fee based on the number of hours we expect to incur and then give regular notifications where costs are being incurred.

We consider a complex case one where inheritance tax is clearly due because it is above all normally available nil rate bands and there are other complicating factors. Our charges are not based on the value of the estate but on the time needed to obtain probate.

A complex case may require us to examine trust documentation, examine past financial records, correspond with numerous financial institutions, search beneficiary records, obtain and agree with the HMRC valuations of corporate investments, agricultural or commercial premises. All these factors will affect the charges incurred.

If we are to control the funds raised to pay inheritance tax and the beneficiaries, we will include administrative charges based on time spent. We may be appointed to act as the executor of an estate if the appointed executors do not wish to do so. We generally act as profession advisors to executors rather than act as executors. This helps client to control fees.

Before visiting us please consider these matters:

Examples of the matters we will ask to be able to assess the cost of a probate assignment are as follows:

  • Is there a surviving spouse or civil partner?
  • Is there an authentic will available for inspection?
  • Who are the named executors?
  • Did the deceased grant a power of attorney?
  • Was anyone financially supporting the deceased?
  • Marital state of the deceased at death?
  • How many beneficiaries are there?
  • What are the known assets and liabilities?
    1. Is there any cash?
    2. What bank accounts are there?
    3. Any pension arrangements?
    4. Any investments?
    5. Any trust assets?
    6. Any offshore assets?
    7. Were any gifts made within 7 years of death?
    8. Any properties owned and values?
    9. Is tax likely to be payable?
    10. Was there a recent spouse death?