The key stages of work we carry out are obtaining the Grant of Representation, collecting assets, and distributing the estate. We also arrange for any taxes due to be paid and prepare estate accounts, where needed.
We can help with all or some of the key stages depending on your requirements. As qualified tax advisers, we often prepare and file the tax returns to date of death, prepare and file tax returns for the estate administration period and produce beneficiary income statements. We can also provide tax advice and where trusts are created, assist with Trust Registration, administration, and ongoing compliance.
On average, obtaining the Grant of Representation takes 3 – 6 months, collecting assets takes a further 3-6 months and distributing the estate a further 6 -12 months. For a simple estate, the work usually concluded within 12 months.
In our experience, all estates are different, and this can affect the overall costs and time it takes to complete the work. We offer a free initial consultation to identify the nature and number of assets in the estate, including whether inheritance tax is payable. This also provides the opportunity to discuss and agree the scope of our work. We are flexible and can work with you assisting with as much or as little of the process as you would like us to. It helps us to provide an accurate estimate of our likely charges at the outset when we have detailed information. We have a probate questionnaire which we can send you to fill in or go through with you to help collate the detail.
We charge on a time spent basis at our agreed hourly rates and not a percentage value of the estate.
Our current hourly rates for employees involved in this work are set out below and these are reviewed annually. These rates are subject to the addition of VAT, currently at 20%.
Director: £250 – £350 plus VAT
Manager/Senior Manager: £125 – £200 plus VAT
We monitor time costs monthly and issue fee notes quarterly.
Based on our current hourly rates and experience, our fees usually fall within the following ranges:
Simple UK estate: £3,000 – £8,000 plus VAT
Complex estate: £8,000 – £25,000 plus VAT
Highly complex: £25,000 plus VAT and above
We consider an estate simple if it has a valid Will with easily identifiable beneficiaries and consisting one UK residential property and a range of bank accounts. There would usually be no tax to pay.
A complex or highly complex estate may include several specific or cash legacies in the will, business assets, investments, insurance policies, trusts, domicile considerations and/or foreign assets. Tax would usually be payable and claims for available reliefs may need to be made. Formal estate accounts for the estate administration period would normally be required.
Disbursements are costs which are payable to third parties. The probate court fee is £273 plus £1.50 per extra sealed copy of the Grant of Probate, fees for legal and public notices are typically £200 + VAT. There may also be charges to pay for valuations or the transfer or conveyance of properties. We can organise valuations, transfer of conveyance of properties with a suitably qualified third party who will make a separate charge for their services.
When you engage us, as a formality, we issue the executors (or person(s) entitled to take out the Grant of Representation) with an engagement letter. Our engagement letter sets out the scope of our work and our standard terms and conditions of business.
Unless the estate is highly complex, our normal practice is to include in our engagement letter an estimate of our likely fees up to the end of the first key stage – obtaining the Grant of Representation. We can of course give further estimates if requested at the next key stages.
We provide probate services through our trust corporation, Dua & Co Limited, which is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales – ICAEW. In accordance with ICAEW regulations, our standard terms and conditions of business detail our firm’s complaints procedure, how and when you can complain to the ICAEW and/or Legal Ombudsman as well as our firm’s professional indemnity insurance and arrangements in respect of the ICAEW’s compensation fund.