When a loved one passes away, it can feel quite overwhelming when you’re forced to deal with legal and financial matters concerning their estate. Managing the process of probate can seem totally foreign and very stressful, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it. You’ll also no doubt be wondering – how much does probate cost? That’s where this guide can help, breaking down what probate is and all the associated costs involved to give you a clear picture of what to expect.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a person who has passed away. This involves collecting their assets, paying off any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will. If there is no will, the assets will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy.
How much does probate cost?
The cost of probate can vary greatly, depending on factors such as the complexity of the estate and whether you choose to handle the process yourself or hire a professional. In general, probate fees can be divided into the following categories:
- Application fees
- Valuation fees
- Legal fees
- Executor fees
- Additional costs
In the UK, the application fee for probate is £273, if the value of the estate exceeds £5000. If the value of the estate is below £5000, you do not need to pay. The application fee is payable when you submit the probate application to the Probate Registry. If you’re applying without the help of a solicitor, you’ll also need to pay an additional £1.50 for every official copy of the grant of probate you require.
To determine the value of the person’s assets, you will need to hire a professional valuer. Valuation fees can vary depending on the type and complexity of the assets involved. For instance, valuing a property may cost anywhere between £150 and £500, while valuing personal possessions or investments may incur additional charges. It’s important to choose a qualified surveyor who is able to accurately assess the property and compile a report adhering to HMRC requirements. If you’d like to find out more about probate valuation fees, you can contact CJ Bloor for no-obligation, friendly advice.
Many people choose to hire a solicitor or a specialist probate service to handle the process on their behalf. Legal fees can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the estate and the level of service provided. Some solicitors charge a fixed fee, while others may charge a percentage of the estate’s value, typically between 1% and 5%. It’s important to get a clear understanding of the fees involved and any potential extra costs before you decide on a solicitor. Try comparing quotes if possible to get the most affordably solicitor for you.
If you choose a professional executor, such as a solicitor or a bank, they will typically charge a fee for their services. As with legal fees, this can be a fixed fee or a percentage of the estate’s value. Make sure you discuss fees with your chosen executor before appointing them to ensure you’re aware of the costs involved.
There may be other costs associated with probate that you’ll need to consider. These can include:
- Bankruptcy searches, which are approximately £2 per beneficiary
- Inheritance Tax, which will be payable to HMRC and will depend on the estate’s value and any exemptions you might be entitled to.
Reducing probate costs
There are a few ways you can potentially reduce probate costs. One option to consider is DIY probate. If the estate is relatively simple, you may be able to handle the process yourself, saving on solicitor fees. However, DIY probate is not recommended for complex estates or if you’re unfamiliar with the legal process, as mistakes can be costly. Moreover, a DIY probate won’t completely eliminate fees as you’ll still have to pay for some things.
Another way of reducing the costs associated with probate is to compare solicitors before committing to a solicitor or probate service. If you obtain quotes and compare fees from different companies and professionals, you’ll be able to estimate how much does probate cost and the most affordable rates.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that some solicitors may be willing to negotiate their fees, particularly if the estate is simple or if they’re handling other aspects of the process too. Don’t be afraid to discuss fee structures and request a reduction if you think it’s warranted.
Although it’s normal to question how much does probate cost, the answer isn’t so simple. Generally, there are a lot of different factors involve that make the overall cost vary. Specifically, the cost of probate will depend heavily on the complexity and size of the estate, as well as the professionals you choose to work with. But by understanding all the different costs involved, you can get a better picture of how much probate might cost you and know what to expect.