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Probate & Estate Administration

Efficient & Excellent Value For Money

When a person dies their financial affairs have to be dealt with, irrespective of whether or not they left a Will. This can be an extremely difficult and distressing time and our specialist team of Probate Lawyers have the experience, skill and understanding to take the pressure from you. We will help you understand the terms of any Will and explain what needs to happen next. We will also help you through the process of what to do if someone dies without a Will (Intestacy).

Our Expertise

  • Probate Services

    Depending upon the size and nature of the Estate it may be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate, a formal document issued by the Court and authorising those named in it to deal with the administration of the Estate. Our service includes corresponding with financial institutions, applying for the Grant of Probate and liaising with HM Revenue & Customs in respect of all taxation matters. Our Residential Property Team will be able to assist with the sale of any property in the Estate and we can also attend to the sale or transfer of any other assets and pay all liabilities before arranging the distribution of the Estate to the Beneficiaries.

  • Estate Administration

    As the Personal Representative of an Estate you have the responsibility for its administration. This means working out the value of the Estate, paying all debts and distributing the balance. At North Ainley we can support you on each step of the way and offer particular advice if there are any international aspects to the deceased’s affairs or if any Trusts need to be established to give effect to the terms of the Will.

  • Questioning the Validity of a Will

    There are a number of legal grounds upon which a Will could be challenged, including where it has not been signed or witnessed correctly, where there is some suggestion that the person making the Will did not have the mental capacity to understand what he or she was doing, or if there is some suggestion that the person making the Will was put under undue pressure from a third party to make provision in their favour. Whether or not the particular circumstances would render the Will invalid is a matter that we can provide expert advice upon.

  • Contested Trusts & Probate

    An individual can bring a claim against an Estate under the Inheritance Act if they believe that adequate financial provision has not been made for them in a Will. Whether or not such a claim will succeed depends upon a number of factors, including the respective needs of the Claimant and the other Beneficiaries and the size of the Estate. Claims can also arise where there have been agreements regarding property made prior to the death of an individual or where terms used in a home-made Will are vague or ambiguous.

Fees Information

Uncontested Probate Cases Where all Assets are Situated Within the UK

The members of our Private Client Department who carry out this type of work are:-

For further information about the members of our Team please click on the relevant link above.

Background Information

A Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration, in cases where a person dies intestate, that is without leaving a Will) is a legal document issued by the Probate Registry, a division of the Court.

A Grant is not needed in all cases. This will depend largely upon the nature and value of the assets in the Estate. A Grant will be required if the deceased owned a house or stocks and shares. In addition, banks and building societies will routinely require a Grant if the value of the accounts held by them exceeds a certain amount.

Factors to be Considered When Calculating Fees

There are a number of factors to be taken in to consideration when looking at the cost of obtaining a Grant. The costs information set out in more detail below is for cases where the Will, or if a person dies without a Will the intestacy rules, are not contested and all of the deceased’s assets are situated in the UK.

We understand that this is an extremely difficult time for friends and family of the deceased and we therefore aim to make the administration of the deceased’s Estate as straightforward as possible.

We can do as much or as little as the family require and for this reason we offer both a fixed fee service and also a more comprehensive service where the cost is based on the time spent and the hourly rate of the fee earner dealing with the matter.

Fixed Fee

Our fixed fee service is available in cases where no inheritance tax is payable and where all the information required to prepare the papers needed to apply for the Grant is provided by the client. The fixed fee does not include realising the assets or distributing the Estate once the Grant is received or distributing the Estate.

In such cases we will:-

  • Identify the legally appointed Executors/ Administrators
  • Complete the Probate Application and relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft a legal statement of truth for the Executor/ Administrator to sign
  • Attend upon the Executors/ Administrators when they sign the Probate papers
  • Make the application to the Probate Registry on the Executor/ Administrator’s behalf
  • Provide the Executors/ Administrators with the original Grant together with the number of additional copies requested

Our fee for this service is £750.00 plus VAT making a total of £900.00.

In addition to our fees there are various additional expenses involved in obtaining the Grant and which are payable to third parties. These are known as disbursements and are as follows:-

Probate Court Fee – £155.00 (an additional fee of £60.00 is payable if you apply for the Grant yourself)

Fee per extra copy of the Grant (office copy) – £0.50

No VAT is payable on any of the disbursements detailed above.

Electronic Identification Check – £6.00 (incl VAT) per person

Once you have provided us with all the information we require to prepare the Probate papers it will normally take around a week for us to prepare the Probate papers and submit them to you for approval. We would then ask you to arrange an appointment to come in to the office to sign the papers. Once signed, we would submit the papers to the Probate Registry. Depending upon how busy the Probate Registry is at the time it normally takes several weeks for the Grant to be issued. We would then provide you with the original Grant and any copies you have requested within 5 working days.

Time Spent – Hourly Rate basis of fees

Our fees for providing a more comprehensive service are based upon the time spent on the matter, using the hourly rates of the fee earners who are involved in the matter.  No two cases are ever the same and our service is therefore tailored to the needs of each individual matter. The hourly rates for the fee earners in the Department are:-

Zoe Ashton – £225.00

Jennifer Kitchener – £195.00

Danielle Hursthouse – £150.00

The hourly rates detailed above are exclusive of VAT which is charged in addition at the prevailing rate at the time.

In addition to our legal fees, various disbursements are also normally payable as follows:-

Advertisements in local press and London Gazette – a quote is obtained from the third party supplier when required

Bankruptcy search fee – per person, per search – £2-00

Probate Court Fee – £155.00 (an additional fee of £60.00 is payable if you apply for the Grant yourself)

Fee per extra copy of the Grant (office copy) – £0.50

No VAT is payable on any of the disbursements detailed above.

Electronic Identification Check – £6.00 (incl VAT) per person

The stages involved in the administration of an Estate, where a Grant is required are broadly as follows:-

  • Consider the terms of the Will ( Intestacy Rules if there is no Will) to determine who has the responsibility to deal with the administration of the Estate and who is entitled to benefit from the Estate
  • Obtain details of all the assets and liabilities of the deceased
  • Obtain date of death values for all the assets and liabilities
  • Place Notices (where deemed necessary) in the local press for the area in which the deceased resided and also in the London Gazette to locate any creditors/ potential beneficiaries.
  • Obtain bankruptcy searches against all beneficiaries to establish solvency
  • Consider what type of Grant is required and whether any inheritance tax is payable
  • Consider any allowances and reliefs that can be offset against any inheritance tax liability
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
  • Draft a legal statement of truth for each Executor/ Administrator to sign
  • Attend upon the Executors/ Administrators when they sign the Probate papers
  • Arrange for the payment of any inheritance tax which is due
  • Make the application to the Probate Registry on the Executor/ Administrator’s behalf
  • Write to the various financial institutions on receipt of the Grant to either realise the assets or arrange for them to be transferred in to the names of the relevant beneficiaries
  • Discharge outstanding liabilities
  • Prepare the Estate Accounts for approval by the Executors/ Administrators
  • Obtain final Bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries
  • Distribute the Estate in accordance with the provisions of the Will/ Intestacy Rules

As each case differs the time required to deal with the administration of the Estate will be different. Factors that can increase the amount of time and therefore the costs include:-

  • A large number of investments with different financial institutions
  • A large number of stocks and shares
  • A large number of specific (gifts of certain items) or pecuniary (gifts of money) legacies
  • A large number of residuary beneficiaries
  • If some of the assets are comprised of business or agricultural assets the calculations of any tax reliefs can increase the time required.
  • Calculation of any exemptions or relief available on an Estate where inheritance tax is payable, for example the Transferrable Nil Rate Band and Residence Nil Rate Band
  • If the person who has died was a surviving spouse/ civil partner, calculating any reliefs available
  • If the deceased died without a Will, tracing all beneficiaries

We can give you a more accurate indication in relation to the above factors, once we have all the relevant information.

We do not include in our fees for the administration of the Estate the costs of selling any house owned by the deceased or completing any tax returns that may be required in respect of the deceased’s income tax and/or capital gains tax liability.

The costs for administering an Estate, where a Grant is required, can vary widely. In even the most straightforward Estate the costs are unlikely to be less than £2,000 (exclusive of VAT). In the most complex of cases costs can be substantial. The most common level of fees are in the range of £3,000 to £8,500 (exclusive of VAT and disbursements).

Similar factors apply when considering the time it will take to deal with the administration of an Estate, as to those mentioned above for costs. In a straight forward matter where there are no delays in obtaining the necessary information, there is a Will and no inheritance tax is payable then the administration can be completed in around 6 months. In the more complex cases involving the payment of inheritance tax with a number of beneficiaries it can take substantially longer to finalise. The time factor will of course be influenced by the sale of any property in the Estate.

For further information please contact our Private Client Department on 0161 624 5614.

  • In This Section

  • Danielle acted quickly and very accurately to all my concerns.
    Mr S M Booth - Oldham
  • Lisa Wright
    Lisa Wright
    15:05 25 Feb 19
    Cassie was fantastic throughout our sale and would recommend North Ainley if selling or buying a house.read more
    Lynn Findlater
    Lynn Findlater
    18:55 01 Dec 18
    I have used North Ainley for a number of years. They have successfully dealt with my parent's wills and more recently the sale of 2 properties. The staff are exceptional and imparticular Cassie who took care of the whole process from start to finish whilst I was overseas. She diligently chased all third parties and kept me informed at all times. I would recommend North Ainley as they have proved themselves time and again over the last 10 years in all of my family's legal affairs.read more
    Idnan Ahmed
    Idnan Ahmed
    12:57 30 Nov 18
    Excellent service. handled my latest commercial purchase professionally. Would recommend to anyone who is looking for a solicitors who are proffesional and easy to work with. Top service.read more
    Lucy Hoy
    Lucy Hoy
    16:39 27 Nov 18
    Excellent! Very friendly and fantastic communication throughout. Nothing was to much trouble. Thankyou Vinesh and Cassie. Would definitely recommend.read more
    Anil M
    Anil M
    15:11 04 Nov 18
    Fantastic Solicitors firm. Very professional. Close to Oldham Town Centre. Answer all your questions and concerns. Keep you upto date at every stage. I have used this firm for many years in buying and selling property. You can not go wrong using North Ainley Solicitors.read more
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