How much do Solicitors Charge for Probate?

How much do Solicitors Charge for Probate

‘How much do Solicitors Charge for Probate?’ is a commonly asked question. The answer depends on the complexity of the estate and its size and value. It will also depend on whether you require them to fully administer the estate or apply for the Grant of Probate, with you doing the lion’s share of the work.

Some solicitors might provide a fixed price if the estate is simple, but if the timescales are significant and challenging to quantify, they may charge you an hourly rate alongside a non-binding indication based on their gut feel and experience.

Full Estate Administration Costs

This is the costliest service, and justifiably so, as it involves the solicitor taking on every aspect of the probate process and the liabilities that attach to any errors or omissions they make.

Administering an estate includes:

Sometimes, the solicitors can also act as professional executors, which can also increase costs.

As I have already implied, the charging for this service can vary from fixed fees for small, simple estates to a percentage basis for larger estates, typically 1-5% of the value of the estate plus VAT, to an hourly rate for very complex estates.

An example of a complex estate could be one with many beneficiaries, an estate over the inheritance tax threshold, an international element, or maybe the deceased-owned businesses and property portfolios.

Payments to third parties, such as insurance providers, genealogists, property management firms, the government, etc., won’t be included in this fee.  The costs will be drawn from the estate’s assets, if the estate can afford them, or financed where not.

Applying for the Grant of Probate Only

If you are happy to take on the administration of the estate and leave the Grant of Probate Application to a Solicitor, it is common for this to be on a fixed fee basis.

The cost of paying the Probate Registry will be additional. The .gov website provides information about the costs of the probate application on its Applying for Probate webpage.  This webpage is also useful if you are considering DIY Probate.

Fixed fees will depend on the size of the estate but most will be between 1-2% for small, non-complex estates.

When to appoint a Solicitor

There are many reasons to appoint a solicitor.  You might read online about Probate being easy, but often, it is not, and executors are liable for life for their actions, errors and omissions.  So, it may be worth appointing a solicitor to reduce your risks.

Here are a number of reasons why you should consider appointing a solicitor:

  • Solicitors that specialise in probate are used to dealing with estates, so things that might seem complex to you are not for them.
  • They buy professional indemnity insurance that protects you and the beneficiaries should they make a mistake.
  • You are grieving and don’t have the headspace or time for the amount of work involved.
  • You have difficult family members.  A solicitor can take the emotion out of things by managing all communication on your behalf, keeping you out of the firing line.
  • There are multiple beneficiaries or blended families.
  • If there is any sign of a family dispute, particularly around the validity of the Will.
  • Solicitors are experts in spotting potential disputes, even when they might not appear obvious.
  • The estate generates an income e.g. it has business or investment assets.
  • The executor might have a conflict of interest, such as they are a beneficiary who wants to buy assets from the estate.
  • The executors might not want to take on the risk or do the work.  Appointing a professional can help them significantly.
  • The solicitor might be able to help in other areas too, such as conveyancing when you need to sell the property.

Don’t forget about Insurance

If your solicitor isn’t arranging insurance as part of the service you should consider the liabilities of the executors and the risk of the beneficiaries having to pay some or all of their inheritance in the future if there is a claim from a third party.

A solicitor’s professional indemnity insurance policy only responds to mistakes they have made so it doesn’t provide the full range of protection you need.

To understand your risks and the insurance policies available to you, check out our Executor Insurance Guide.

Conclusion – How much do Solicitors Charge for Probate

This post provides an impartial view on the question ‘How much do Solicitors Charge for Probate’.

Solicitor services offer significant benefits regarding expertise, risk reduction, and time saved, especially for complex estates.

However, for individuals comfortable with the legal and administrative aspects of probate and with relatively straightforward estates, there is the option to navigate the process yourself, often referred to as DIY probate.

This approach can potentially save on costs, but it’s essential to understand and be willing to accept the associated risks and responsibilities. To gain a well-rounded perspective, consider whether DIY probate might be a suitable option for your situation.

If you have any other questions about what is involved in acting as an executor, visit our executor guide page.

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About the Author

Rob Faulkner CEO of Insuristic

Hi, I'm Rob, CEO and Founder of Insuristic. My mission is to make insurance easier to understand and buy online.

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) which demonstrates I have a solid technical understanding of Insurance and have committed to continuous professional development. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and hold the a Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Over the last 27 years, I have worked for insurers, insurance brokers and insurance technology businesses, specialising in product, sales and marketing.

You can find out more about me on my author page.

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