Understanding Fees

In addition to the cost of our legal advice and support for administering the estate, there will be a number of additional costs which have to be paid at the same time, and which your solicitor is obliged to collect.

This guide explains our fees and these additional costs (known as disbursements) and gives an approximate indication of costs – or details of where the costs come from. Your conveyancer usually has to pay these costs on your behalf, so they will ask you for money on account in advance or for reimbursement in your final bill.


Our Fees & Charges

On average, the costs of dealing with a straightforward estate where there is one property and two bank accounts with a total asset value of the estate under the current inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 would be approximately £1500 plus VAT.

However, no probate matter is exactly the same, and because of this we can only give you a reliable estimate of the cost once we have a detailed knowledge of your situation. We will discuss this in greater detail at your initial appointment and provide you with a fixed fee once we have all the relevant information.

As part of our services we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identify the type of probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the probate application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft a legal oath for you to swear
  • Make the application to the probate court on your behalf
  • Obtain the probate order and securely send two copies to you
  • Collect and distribute all assets in the estate

There are many factors that increase the complexity of the estate and can extend the time it takes to administer it, and in turn increase the legal costs. Such factors include:

  • Whether there is a will and if it needs to be located
  • Whether any executors have died or refused to act
  • Whether the grant of probate is likely to be contested
  • Estimated total value of assets
  • Number and value of properties and whether they are outside England and Wales
  • The number and value of actual assets and liabilities apart from property
  • The number of beneficiaries
  • If any beneficiaries do not have capacity under the Mental Health Act, or are under 18
  • Whether there are any missing beneficiaries
  • Whether there are any trusts in the will
  • Whether the estate is taxable
  • Whether any gifts were made in the deceased’s lifetime
  • Whether any forensic work is needed to create a family tree under intestacy


Probate Full Administration Service

  • Obtain valuations for all assets and liabilities passing by the will or intestacy and assets or gifts included for Inheritance Tax purposes
  • Complete forms IHT205 / IHT400 and schedules
  • Complete Legal Statement for Executors or Personal Representatives
  • Complete s27 notices to creditors (if required)
  • Take instructions regarding the encashment or transfer of any assets
  • Register the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration with each of the asset holding institutions
  • Collect in the cash of the estate and transfer assets as instructed
  • Obtain information to finalise the income tax position to date of death
  • Complete income tax return for the administration period (if required)
  • Finalise & complete estate accounts
  • Seek approval to estate accounts from Executors or Personal Representatives
  • Complete bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries

Holdens charge the appropriate hourly rate for Probate administration (currently £220 per hour plus 20% VAT which is £44.00 = total £264.00 per hour). The cost for the service is dependent upon the individual circumstances of the matter. As an example, if there is no property and only one beneficiary the cost of the matter will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a share portfolio, various investments and a property, the cost will be at the higher end of the range. An average estate, which includes a property to be sold, is usually administered in the range of 20 to 30 hours which could equate to between £3,500 and £6,500 plus VAT at 20% and disbursements.

The usual disbursements incurred include:

  • Probate application fee £155.00
  • Each additional copy Grant £1.50 (per copy)
  • Bankruptcy searches £2 (per beneficiary)

Items of consideration in relation to the timescales to conclusion of your matter are as follows:

  • If Inheritance Tax is due on an estate, the IHT is required to be paid within 6 months from the date of death.
  • HMRC may investigate the valuations submitted even if the estate is not taxable.
  • If there is a house to sell then we estimate it may take between between 4 to 18 months to administer the estate.

The above timescales are simply guidelines and a lot of variables are involved.

Please note that it can take anything from 12 months to 3 years to administer a large estate.

Any Inheritance Tax or other taxes that may be due will be payable separately. HMRC supply further information on their website which is useful, please visit : https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax if you wish to obtain more detailed guidance.


Inheritance Tax Advice

Inheritance tax is charged by the government and payable to HMRC. You can find out whether the deceased’s estate might be liable to inheritance tax and approximately how much at the HMRC website.

Working out the inheritance tax payable on the estate can be a complex matter and if we feel that specialist tax advice is required, we will advise you of this. We would provide you with a quotation before incurring any costs on your behalf.

There are various tax exemptions and allowances that can reduce the size of the estate, and a great deal depends on the terms of the will. With the right legal advice, it is sometimes possible to vary the terms of a will to reduce the amount of tax due.


Other Fees

There can be many other expenses, costs and fees (known as disbursements) related to your matter that are payable to third parties as part of the probate process. We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, but we will ask you for reimbursement in advance, in stages or at the end of the matter.

Here are some of the common fees that may be payable:

Probate application court fee - £145
This fee is paid to the probate registry office when the application is made.

Oath fee - £7.00 per executor
This fee is paid to the local commissioner of oaths when the executor confirms their right to administer the estate and swears that the contents of the application are true.

Bankruptcy-only land charges department searches - £2.00 per person
This checks whether the deceased or any of the beneficiaries are currently bankrupt, are an un-discharged bankrupt or are about to be made bankrupt by virtue of any pending court actions.

Advertisement in The London Gazette - Approx £90 including VAT (dependent on number of words)
This checks whether the deceased or any of the beneficiaries are currently bankrupt, are an un-discharged bankrupt or are about to be made bankrupt by virtue of any pending court actions.

Advertisement in Local Newspaper - £119 including VAT
A local announcement to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.

Electronic ID checking fee - £5.40 per person
This online identification check has to completed as part of our anti-money laundering obligation.


Conveyancing Fees

Any property within the estate may need to be sold so that the proceeds can be divided or transferred to the named beneficiaries to make them the new legal owners. The conveyancing costs and legal fees involved with this work will be charged separately, and be subject to our usual fee schedule, disbursements and stamp duty.



On average, estates of an asset value of less than £325,000, where there is no inheritance tax to pay, are dealt with within 6 months. Typically, obtaining the correct grant of representation takes 3 months. Collecting assets then follows, which takes approximately 3 months. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 1 month.

However, when dealing with the administration of a more complicated estate, it can take longer to obtain a grant of representation as this requires us to deal with HM Revenue and Customs. It may also take longer to collect and distribute the assets.

Meet Our Wills & Probate Experts

Jennifer Larton

Jennifer Larton

LLB (Hons) Law, BA (Hons) Criminology, STEP

Aimee Mcclintock

Aimee Mcclintock

Trainee Solicitor

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