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Probate and estate administration costs

We understand the death of a loved one is a distressing and possibly confusing time, so we are here to help.

If your loved one used our will service to create their will, you are entitled to a free 30-minute appointment where we can explain the process of probate and estate administration in detail and see what we can do to support you and your family further. 

The cost of probate and estate administration will very much depend on your own personal situation and the situations of those involved.  There are two elements; applying for a Grant of Probate and the administration of the estate.  The details provided below assume there is a Will in place; if there is no Will there may be additional costs, however we can discuss this with you in your initial appointment.

Grant of Probate

Obtaining the Grant of Probate for non-Inheritance Taxable estates, where inheritance tax forms are not required, is set at a fixed fee of £1200.00 plus VAT (at 20%). If inheritance tax forms are required, our fixed fee is £3,000.00 plus VAT (at 20%). Inheritance tax forms are used to claim the available reliefs or when the estate is Inheritance-Taxable.

The first thing we will do is to meet with you to discuss your situation.  Once we have done this, we will confirm your instructions to us in writing, any advice we have given, the approximate time that will be needed and an estimate of the costs involved.  We will also detail the steps we will be taking, when you are next likely to hear from us, any action we need you to take and any further information we need from you.

During the conduct of your matter we will keep you informed of progress, advise you of any delays and explain the reasons for them, explain the effect of any important documents, inform you if a costs forecast needs revising, explain any changes of staff affecting your matter and send you copies of important letters. 

In acting as or on behalf of the Personal Representatives, we shall prepare the probate papers based upon the information you have provided us with.  We shall draw up the Oath for Personal Representatives and apply for the Grant of Representation, after which we will forward a copy to you for registering with the various asset holders.  Once you receive this, you can continue with the administration of the estate. 

It is difficult to predict how long it will take to obtain the Grant of Probate. However, once we have details of all of the assets within the estate and the liabilities, we are then in a position to complete the application for the Grant of Probate.  Subject to receiving the necessary information, we usually anticipate being able to apply for and receive the Grant within approximately 3-4 weeks.

Estate administration

The price of full administration of the estate is based on the hourly rate of the legal advisor concerned. On average, administration of an estate takes 30 hours over the course of a year, however this is dependent on the nature of the estate. We will of course keep you informed during the process if we anticipate any additional fees or hours are required. 

Your matter may take longer if there is no Will, there is more than one property involved in the estate, numerous bank accounts or shareholdings, or if there are disputes or claims made against the estate.  In this situation, we can clarify with you in your initial appointment a more accurate time and cost estimate.

Our Probate and Estate Administration team has over 130 years of collective experience supporting people in preparing the legal documents for the future and after a loved one has died.  We can advise you on writing a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney, property ownership and disputed estate claims, with particular expertise in probate and estate administration.  We have several Partners, Associate Solicitors, Executives and a support team who would work with you on your individual matter, led by Jane Cox

You can find out more about the Probate and Estate Administration team using the list below, where we also detail their various hourly rate charges (all charges are exclusive of VAT @20%):

On some occasions, which will be discussed with your beforehand, one of our personal assistants (support staff) may work with you. The hourly rate of our personal assistants is £160.00 plus VAT (@20%).

Where an estate is more complex, has higher values, or unusual circumstances, the hourly rates may be increased as follows: 

The additional hourly rate is based on numerous factors, including the complexity of the estate and assets, the value of the estate and assets, any urgency in dealing with the estate, and any third parties involved. 

Work we will undertake during the estate administration will include taking all reasonable steps to ensure that we obtain an accurate valuation of the estate, ascertaining in full the monies due to the estate and the assets, together with any liabilities of or monies due to be paid from the estate.  We shall then prepare the necessary paperwork for the Inland Revenue and will advise you if any Inheritance Tax is payable.  If this is the case, we will explain to you the circumstances of when the tax is to be paid and the amounts to be paid. 

Once all has been concluded, we will write to you confirming this and pass to you any papers or property to which you are entitled (subject to our rights to retain them in certain unusual circumstances, for example if our bill has not been paid).

The charges that we will be making, as set out above, cover the work referred to above.  They do not cover further work such as conveyancing of a property on the sale or transfer of a house or charges relating to any litigation to do with the estate, if they arise, or to any other aspects of the administration of the estate.

Are there additional fees?

There will be certain additional expenses payable to third parties (known as disbursements), such as Court fees and Oath fees, and there may also be Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax to pay.  The taxes to be paid are dependent on each individual’s circumstances and we will be able to provide details of this as and when we have met with you and discussed your own situation. 

Our estimate for the disbursements is as follows (fees are inclusive of VAT @20% unless otherwise stated):

  • Bankruptcy search for the deceased: £2.00 + VAT (@20%)
  • Probate Registration Fee: £273.00
  • Fee for each additional copy of the Grant: £1.50


As stated in the categories above, on average administration of an estate takes 30 hours over the course of a year. However, these timescales will be dependent on you and your family as will the costs involved in the probate and estate administration process. In order to assist with your planning, based on an average situation as described previously, the total cost for administering your estate only would be as follows:

  • Estate administration (30 hours over the course of a year based on average hourly rate cost of £275.00): £8,250 + VAT (@20%)
  • Bankruptcy search: £2.00 + VAT (@20%)
  • ID Check (for each executor): £25.00 + VAT (@20%)
  • Probate Registration Fee: £273.00
  • Fee for each additional copy of the grant (average 5 copies) : £7.50
  • Total: £8,562.90 + VAT (@20%)

We are happy to work with you on the costs involved and if you wish set an upper limit on our charges and disbursements (excluding VAT @20% in both cases) with a view to seeking your authority before exceeding that limit we will oblige. If you wish to do so, we would ask that you indicate in writing the upper limit you would like to set.

Applying for probate and administering an estate can be a long and complicated process; made even more so as it is an emotional and distressing time for you.  While it can be tempting to manage this yourself, by coming to us, we can take the burden off your hands, giving you the space and time to come to terms with your loss, with the reassurance that you have the best advice for you and your family.

Contact us today on 01329 222075 or email privateclientenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk to book your 30 minute free appointment. 

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