Wherever possible we quote a fixed fee for our work. This means that you know in advance exactly how much you will be asked to pay. For some more complex matters, we charge according to the time we spend on it using an hourly rate. In all cases, the fees that we offer will follow a discussion with you about your circumstances and the work that you wish us to do.
For most things (for example, preparing a divorce petition) we offer a fixed fee. In some more complex cases we may offer either a fixed fee for each stage of work that we carry out for you or an hourly rate, as appropriate.
For preparing a Will we offer a range of fixed fees which depend on the size of your estate. We think this is the simplest and fairest way of charging because it reflects the degree of complexity involved in dealing with things like inheritance tax planning. Our fees tend to fall in between those of the unregulated will-writing companies who operate in this area and the larger firms of solicitors who offer these services.
We charge a fixed fee for preparing a lasting power of attorney and making an application to register it. Likewise, we charge a fixed fee for making an application to the Court of Protection.
The charges that we make for our services will reflect the size and complexity of the estate, whether it is subject to inheritance tax and the way in which it is to be distributed. They will of course also depend on the work that you wish us to carry out.
For example, you may have been named as the executor of a relatively modest estate. You may ask us to prepare the probate application and relevant HMRC forms for your signature, submit the probate application to the Probate Registy and, once probate has been granted, to collect in the assets in the estate, pay off any remaining creditors and distribute the balance to the beneficiaries. For this we would normally offer a fixed fee in the range of £1,400 to £2,800 plus VAT. The actual fee that we quote will depend on a number on a number of factors. For example, if there is one beneficiary, a single bank account and no property, our fees will be at the lower end of the range. If there are several beneficiaries, a property and a variety of financial assets, our fees will be at the higher end. The work we have to do on an estate is also sometimes affected by a previous death, for example, that of a former spouse or the co-owner of a property.
The indication of our fees given above also assumes that there is a valid and available Will, the assets are typical ones (such as property, bank accounts, ISAs and Premium Bonds) and all of them are located in England and Wales, there is no inheritance tax payable (and no need for the executors to submit a full account to HMRC), there is no dispute between any of the executors or beneficiaries, all of the beneficiaries can be readily traced and there are no claims against the estate from third parties. Note also that this indication does not cover the sale or transfer of any property in the estate or the rearrangement of the way in which the estate is to be distributed under the Will.
In addition to our fees, there will typically be a number of other costs that will need to be paid out of the estate. These include the application fee payable to the Probate Registry (currently £155 where the application is made through a solicitor), the costs of advertising for creditors or verifying beneficiaries and the fees charged by third parties for valuing, transferring or insuring assets. Where we are able to give you an indication of the size of these costs when you instruct us, we will do so.
In all cases, our services will be provided by a qualified solicitor who is experienced in probate matters.
For straightforward estates, obtaining a grant of probate will typically take between eight and twelve weeks and the administration of the estate a further two to six months, but much will depend (for example) on the speed at which the Probate Registry is able to deal with applications and the responsiveness of banks and other holders of assets.
We will be pleased to discuss our fees for dealing with larger and more complex estates and for those cases where you simply require advice and assistance.
We will talk with you about the work that you want us to do. When we have established a scope and understood the complexity and urgency of what you need, we are normally able to offer a fixed fee. Sometimes it is helpful to agree a fixed for different stages of the work, giving you flexibility to decide how far and how quickly you want us to move forward. We will also agree with you when we will issue our invoices.
VAT is applicable to all of our fees. In addition, in some cases you will need to pay other costs such as court or registration fees or the fees of third parties such as medical experts. We will always try to make you aware of such costs before they arise and work with you to keep them to a minimum.
If you would like to discuss fees or ask for an indicative quote, please do not hesitate to contact us.