Probate fees vary wildly depending on where you’re paying for the service. Most solicitors will charge differently – the cost of probate can be charged at a percentage, hourly or a combination.
The cost of the grant of probate alone is £273 in Wales, on top of the average hourly fees of £250 for a solicitor.
Before you decide on paying for a probate service, it’s essential to know its intricacies and how much it costs.
What is probate?
A grant of probate is the process of becoming a court-appointed executor for someone’s will. This means you’re legally responsible for ensuring the person’s estate is handled as per their will intended, with the proper beneficiaries receiving the assets or money left.
Most banks and building societies will require proof that an executor has the legal right to handle the deceased’s bank account before they release the funds.
You’ll always need probate if the estate you need to manage includes property such as a flat or house.
Cost of a solicitor
As mentioned, the cost of a solicitor can vary depending on their fee structure. If they charge a percentage for executing a will, the average will usually be between 1-2% of the estate’s value. Sometimes there will be higher percentage charges on liquid assets than on property. You’ll also need to consider court fees, VAT and other disbursements.
At Harries Watkins Jones Wills and Probate, our fees for obtaining the grant of probate start at £600 plus VAT and disbursements. For the administration of an estate, our fees are usually 2%.
A solicitor who charges on an hour-basis can cost anywhere between £100-£400, dependent on experience. Hourly rates will include paperwork, meetings, and even phone calls the solicitor has to make during the process. This can be hard to keep track of and may prove expensive.
Each solicitor will have their way of combining the percentage and hourly rate when charging for probate services. If the hourly rate is low, the estate percentage taken will be higher and vice versa.
Bank probate charges
Banks are the most expensive route to take when it comes to obtaining a grant of probate. The work will usually be passed to an independent probate service provider that will charge a percentage of the estate.
The bank will charge 4-5%, but it’s not unheard of for their charges to be higher, sometimes reaching as far as 10%, albeit very rarely.
Going it alone
If you’re only dealing with one property, for example, applying for a grant for probate by yourself could be a cheaper option.
That being said, the amount of paperwork involved could be overwhelming, and if you’re new to the process, you could make mistakes.
HMRC will issue fines if there are discrepancies in your application to the probate office, which will make things more expensive in the long run.
Before you make a decision, it’s best to talk to a professional team about probate services and compare prices. Remember, an expert has spent years dealing with the processes and will have a deeper insight into probate processes.
Get in touch today to find out how Harries Watkins Jones Wills and Probate can help.