Bereavement & probate
We are specialists in advising on and assisting with the administration of an estate after someone’s death. Our friendly and efficient service will steer you through the sometimes complex issues you can face in these circumstances.
Why choose us
An executor is legally responsible for ensuring an estate is dealt with properly. Drawing on our professional expertise means you can ensure those responsibilities are fully met.
The value of our professional involvement is not just having someone to do the work correctly. It also means matters can be progressed more quickly because of our practical working knowledge of the law and tax regulations. We can also act as the professional liaison between you, the beneficiaries, and other professionals.
This all adds up to peace of mind for you, a reduced risk that the distribution of the estate will be challenged by beneficiaries, and assurance that no more tax is paid than is absolutely necessary.
The cost of not doing it properly
If you need professional assistance, it can be tempting to go for the cheapest quote. After all, all professional advice is the same, isn’t it? Bear in mind the following:
- Not all ‘probate services’ are provided by regulated advisers so if you are unhappy with their service or have been given incorrect advice, the options to put things right are very limited.
- Not all regulated advisers have the full range of expertise or experience resulting in the potential complexity of certain issues being underestimated, leading to unexpected additional costs and delay
- In the case of more complex estates, the tax saved as a result of applying expert legal advice can often outweigh the cost of that advice many times over, for example appropriate sequencing of asset disposals, use of ‘deeds of variation’, advice about Business and Agricultural Property Reliefs.
Ed Ryder, one of our probate partners, explains the benefits of using Harrowells for your probate.
Our professional charges
We tailor our support to your circumstances and requirements. These can vary in a number of ways:
- The value of the estate and any potential inheritance tax liability
- The complexity of the assets eg investment property, land, businesses, farms
- The number and range of beneficiaries
- Existing tensions or issues amongst family members and other beneficiaries
- Potentially time critical issues, for example, the expiry of land options or planning consents
- Your appetite to undertake aspects of the work yourself
As a result, our professional charges will need to take these aspects into account. As a guide, our probate charges start from £2,400 inc vat and, on average, are £9,600 inc vat. Our fees for probate work are based on the following hourly rates: partner-level solicitor £288 inc vat; associate solicitor £264 inc vat; senior solicitor £240 inc vat; chartered legal executive £240 inc vat; solicitor £216 inc vat; newly qualified solicitor £132 inc vat; paralegal £132 inc vat.
In reality, no two estate administrations are the same and each administration will be carefully considered based on the individual facts before the work is priced. We hope that you find the information below useful but we would be even more pleased to assist you by discussing your individual case in person with a free half hour consultation, or on the telephone.
Typical additional charges
- Probate Court Fee - £155
- Oath swear fees - £7 per Executor or £5 if there is no Will
- Sealed copies of the Grant of Representation - £0.50p per copy
- Bankruptcy Searches - £3.60 inc vat per beneficiary
- Official (‘Trustee Act’) notices in the London Gazette and relevant local press - £304 inc vat
Other charges which may apply
- Property or Land valuations (dependant on agent’s fee structure)
- Share valuations (dependant on broker’s fee structure)
- Valuation of personal items and household contents (dependant on valuation company’s fee structure)
Key stages and timescales
The timescales indicated below are our best estimates of the time it takes us to complete each stage. Drawing on our expertise in probate matters, we adopt a very proactive approach to managing interaction with third parties such as the tax authorities (HMRC). However, be aware that overall timescales of individual matters can be dependent on response times of other parties.
|Key stage||What’s covered||Typical timescales|
|Initial information gathering and valuation of the estate||Meeting to discuss the Will or advise on the intestacy rules. Obtain valuations of the estate assets and liabilities. Notify the beneficiaries of their entitlements.||12 to 16 weeks|
|Preparation of Inheritance Tax papers and probate application||Completing the inheritance tax papers, preparing the necessary documents for the Personal Representatives of the estate, paying the inheritance tax (if relevant) and applying to the Probate Registry for the Grant of Probate or letters of administration if the deceased did not leave a Will.||3 to 4 weeks|
|Collecting in the assets, paying the deceased’s debts, paying legacies, ensuring that H M Revenue and Customs have no further enquiries, and making final payments to the beneficiaries||4-12 weeks|
Your matter will be looked after by a qualified, regulated partner-level solicitor, solicitor or legal executive and the majority of work will be undertaken by them directly. Their work focuses exclusively on advising clients on probate and the related areas of Wills, Powers of Attorney, administration of affairs and Court of Protection. In some cases, they may delegate certain more administrative aspects of work to paralegals or trainee solicitors who also have the same specialist focus.
All staff dealing with probate work attend regular training and development courses concerning relevant probate, inheritance, tax planning and property law. Click the red 'Meet the team' button on this page for more details about our probate advisers.
Click on the buttons below to make a call to any of our offices or to make an email enquiry and find out how we can help you.