Our Fees for Probate, Will Writing, Lasting Powers of Attorney & Severing Joint Tenancies

Below is a complete list of all our Wills and Probate department’s charges. This includes fees for Probate, Will Writing, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Joint Tenancies.

We will always advise you on the costs involved in our work.

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

How we charge

The hourly charging rate of Probate Department Personnel is as follows:

Partner:£195.00 per hour
Associate Solicitor:£180.00 per hour
Assistant Solicitor:£170.00 per hour
Trainee Solicitor/Legal Assistant:£120.00 per hour
Paralegal:£100.00 per hour

All of the above fees are exclusive of VAT which is chargeable at the rate prevailing from time to time. The hourly charging rates are subject to periodic reviews and the next review will be on the 1st January 2020.

Further, in accordance with the Solicitor’s Non-Contentious Costs Guidelines October 2007, where the Solicitors are being instructed by lay Executors, there will also be a value factor charge of only 0.5% of the value of any residence included in the Estate and 1% of the balance of the gross value of the Estate.

If the Solicitors are acting as professional Executors then the value factor charge will be 0.75% of the value of any residence and 1.5% of the balance of the gross value of the Estate.

We anticipate this will take between 10 and 15 hours work at a partner’s rate of £195.00 plus VAT per hour or an associate solicitor’s rate of £180.00 plus VAT per hour or an assistant Solicitor’s rate of £170.00 plus VAT plus the value factor as stated above. Total costs estimated at £3,000.00- £4,500.00 (+VAT).

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:

  • There is a valid original will which is not being contested
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 2 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 1-4 beneficiaries all of whom are traceable
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate
  • The Executors and Beneficiaries are prompt and well organised in responding to our request for papers and information

Disbursements included in this fee

  • Probate application fee of £155.00 and a further £1.50 per copy of the grant (you will need one copy per asset)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
  • Land Registry office copies £3.00 plus VAT per property
  • £69.50 plus VAT Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
  • Approximately £90.00 plus VAT Post in a Local Newspaper (the exact cost will depend on the local paper) This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

There may be income tax, capital gain tax and inheritance tax to pay in addition to the above. How much tax will be payable depends on the specific circumstances of your case, we will be able to discuss this with you and advise you once we are in receipt of all of the estate information.

Potential additional costs

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
  • If any of the Executors wish to renounce their position.
  • If any of the Executors lack Mental Capacity.
  • If any beneficiary wishes to redirect their entitlement by way of a Deed of Variation or a Deed of Disclaimer.
  • If there are assets abroad.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 4-12 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 2-6 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-4 weeks.

When someone dies, the law says that a person who was not adequately provided for by the deceased has up to six months from the date of the Grant of Representation to make a claim. The type of people who can claim are:

  • A person who lived with the deceased as husband or wife but they never actually married
  • An ex-husband or ex-wife who is now divorced from the deceased but has not re-married
  • A person who was treated by the deceased as a child of their family (e.g. step-son or step-daughter, a child of someone the deceased lived with and treated as their own even though they were not the child’ biological parent)
  • Someone who relied on the deceased for some form of financial support (e.g. a person living in the house owned or rented by the deceased rent free or virtually rent free, etc.)

To comply with the law, we cannot pay your entitlement when there is a risk of someone making a claim, this may delay the distribution of the estate.

Fees will be collected from estate assets provided there are sufficient funds in the estate and pursuant to an account being rendered we will be able to exercise a lien over any papers or funds held, for unpaid costs and charge interest on all or part of any unpaid bill. If there are insufficient funds in the estate our fees and the disbursements will be payable by the person who has instructed us.

If the deceased was in receipt of income based benefits during their lifetime the Department for Work and Pensions may investigate their entitlement after probate or letters of administration has been granted. We will not be able to distribute the estate until the Department for Work and Pensions have concluded their investigation which may take several months, this is treated as a potential claim against the estate.

As part of our fee 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 and asset values 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 or letters of administration
  • Collect all assets in the estate
  • Settle liabilities
  • Draft the estate accounts
  • Distribute the estate

Probate or Letters of Administration – extraction only

We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration on your behalf. We will then hand the Grant to you for you to undertake finalising all tax matters and the collecting and distributing of assets.

How much does this service cost?

TOTAL: fixed fee of £900.00 (incl. VAT).

This includes: obtaining the grant, collecting assets and distributing them.

Breakdown of costs:

Legal fees £750.00

VAT on legal fees £150.00

Disbursements (£163.00 in total):

  • Probate court fee of £155.00 and £1.50 for each copy of the Grant (you will need one copy per asset)

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

As part of our fixed fee you must provide us with the date of death values of all assets held by the deceased at their date of death and all liabilities owed by them, 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
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC inheritance tax forms
  • Draft a legal oath for you to swear
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Probate or Letters of Administration and send two copies to you

Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 3 -10 weeks however it will depend on the circumstances of your matter.

Wills

We offer a fixed fee service for all basic Wills:

Single basic Will: £175.00 plus VAT

Mirror basic Wills (two Wills on similar terms): £250.00 plus VAT

Our fee for a life interest trust Will is £300.00 plus VAT per Will.

If you matters are more complicated we will discuss your individual circumstances and provide you with a tailored quote.

Severance of joint tenancy

We charge £100.00 plus VAT to sever a joint tenancy.

We will also need to obtain Office Copies from the Land Registry the charge for which is £3.00 plus VAT.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

We offer a fixed fee for all non contested Lasting Powers of Attorney:

Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney

Without Registration £200.00 plus VAT

With Registration £300.00 plus VAT plus Office of the Public Guardian Registration fee of £82

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

Without Registration: £200.00 plus VAT

With Registration: £300.00 plus VAT plus Office of the Public Guardian Registration fee of £82.00

Both Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

With Registration: £400.00 plus VAT plus two Office of the Public Guardian Registration fee of £82.00 each

If your annual income is under £12,000 you may be entitled to a 50% remission of the registration fee. If you are in receipt of one or more of the following benefits you may be exempt from the registration fee: Income Support, Income-based Job-Seekers Allowance, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, State Pension Guarantee Credit element of pension credit, a combination of Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, Disability Element or Severe Disability Element, Housing benefit, Council Tax benefit, Local housing allowance.

We have three members of the team who may work on your matter:

Bryony Wilmshurst – partner

Bryony is head of our team and has over ten years experience in private client work, specialising in wills and probate. Bryony has been working in this area since she qualified and has helped thousands of families and individuals.

Bryony qualified as a solicitor in 2008 having completed a law Degree and a Masters in Health Law at Nottingham Trent and the Legal Practice course at the College of Law in York. Bryony joined our firm in 2005 and became a partner in 2012.

Bryony is a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Law Society’s Private Client Section.

Bryony is also a Dementia Friend.

Bryony is supervised by Aymer Hutton, solicitor and partner.

Anne-Marie Lawrence – legal assistant

Anne-Marie joined the firm in 1998 and become a member of our team in 2013.

Anne-Marie assists Bryony Wilmshurst, solicitor and partner.

Anne-Marie is supervised by Bryony Wilmshurst, solicitor and partner.

Harriet Bownes – solicitor

Harriet graduated from the University of East Anglia with a law degree in 2015, she later went on to complete her LPC together with a  Masters in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Law, receiving a distinction in both.

Harriet has worked in local law firms for a number of years, before qualifying as a solicitor and joining Cunningtons in 2019.

Anne-Marie is supervised by Bryony Wilmshurst, solicitor and partner.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following are common questions we get asked about Wills and Probate. If you cannot find the answer here, please contact us for an answer.

We would strongly advise against drafting your own Will or downloading a pro-forma on line.

There is an increasing amount of litigation that arises from incorrectly drafted Wills, often Wills drafted by people who are not legally qualified do not do what the person drafting them thinks they do which can cause significant problems and delays in the event of your death.

Often, it ends up costing far more to rectify any errors than the cost of a Will professionally drafted.

Yes, we can act as Executors for you. Professional Executors will charge for acting.

We can store your original Will free of charge in our Strong Room.

We will only release it to you during your lifetime upon receipt of your identification, to your Attorney in the event of loss of mental capacity if you have authorised your Attorney to have access to your Will under your Lasting Power of Attorney or to your Executors on your death upon receipt of your original Death Certificate and the identification and authority of all your Executors.

If you are over the age of 18, have assets or children a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the event of your death.

Upon receipt of your instructions we aim to send you a draft of your Will for your approval within 7 days.

If there are no unforeseen circumstances it is likely that your Will will be signed within a month of us receiving instructions from you.

A Will should be reviewed whenever your personal or financial circumstances change significantly or if your beneficiaries’ circumstances change significantly.

We recommend that you review your Will at least every five years to ensure it still accords with your wishes and is still appropriate for your circumstances.

Joint Wills are very rare and problematic these days. It is more usual to have Mirror Wills which is where you each have a Will but on similar terms. It is important to bear in mind that with Mirror Wills once you have left your estate to your partner, your partner is then free to do whatever he or she wishes with your assets, they could leave what they have inherited from you to a new partner. For more information please see Asset Protection Trust

A Guardian is a person or people who will look after your children in the event of your death, they will be responsible for bringing up your children.

A Will is a legal document which sets out what you would like to happen to your assets in the event of your death, who you would like to administer your estate, who you would like to look after your children and your funeral wishes.

An Executor is a person who will administer your estate in accordance with the terms of your Will, they will complete relevant tax returns and apply for the Grant of Probate before collecting in the assets and distributing them to your beneficiaries.

An Executor can be anyone over the age of 18, it is important that you appoint not only someone that you trust but someone who is capable of handling the administration of your estate in what is likely to be an emotional and stressful time.

Before appointing an Executor you may wish to discuss the matter with the person or persons involved to ensure they are willing to be named as Executor in your Will, although this is not essential and as the Will is personal to you, you might not wish to disclose details to an Executor.

If you appoint someone other than your Solicitor and they refuse to carry out the duties after your death then problems could arise.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Making Your Will

To get started on writing your will, please click here to download our Will form,  then print it out and complete it before sending it to us.

Find out more

November Free Wills

Cunningtons support the Will Aid charity every November by offering to help with free simple wills.

Find out more

Wills & Probate Partner

Meet Bryony Wilmshurst, Partner in charge of our Wills and Probate department.

Find out more