Probate

Probate

Probate and estate administration is the legal and financial process of dealing with the property, money, and possessions of a person who has died.

To complement our comprehensive experience in Inheritance Tax Planning, TC Group is authorised to offer probate services to our clients, which enables us to undertake the full legal and tax process of the estate administration. 

As accountants and tax advisors we are used to collating information and tax related information and by undertaking the full administration process, including any inheritance tax matters, we can reduce the amount of time it takes to compile and submit the necessary information.  By speeding up the process we can help you to keep the costs down.

Services we offer

The services we can provide as part of our Probate service include:

  • Review the Will, codicils and legacies to ensure that they are valid and prepare affidavits where necessary;
  • Ascertain who the beneficiaries are;
  • Identify the composition of the estate and ascertain whether a grant is needed;
  • Value the estate and any business interests, excluding property valuations;
  • Prepare any inheritance tax return;
  • Finalise the income tax and capital gains tax position of the deceased at the date of death and prepare the tax return for this period;
  • Prepare the papers for application for a grant of probate / grant of administration;
  • Ensure the appropriate oaths are prepared and taken;
  • Obtain the grant;
  • Finalise the estate tax; and
  • Prepare estate accounts.

Fees
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter and our fees are calculated on the basis of time spent on your affairs.  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.

Our hourly rates for the purpose of calculating any fees (exclusive of VAT) are:

  • Authorised Individual (Partner)– £300 per hour;
  • Manager – £150 per hour;
  • Senior – £100 per hour; and
  • Secretarial support – £60 per hour.

Example fees
A simple estate – £3,000 to £4,000 plus VAT and disbursements. 

Where the value of the estate is below £325,000 and the deceased had a valid will that left their estate to their spouse or no more than two beneficiaries.

Medium estate –   £5,000 to £7,500 plus VAT and disbursements 

Where the value of the estate exceeds £325,000 and the deceased had a valid will and their estate consists of interests in one business venture and one property. 

Complex estate – £9,000 to £12,000 plus VAT and disbursements

Where the value of the estate exceeds £325,000 and the estate consists of interests in multiple business ventures which need to be valued and/or multiple properties. The will may not be valid or may not exist and there may be six or more beneficiaries.   

It is important to note that the above is a general guide on our fees and before any work is commenced, we will give you a tailored estimate of our likely fees based on the services you require and the complexity of the estate. Where the estate includes property, an external conveyancer will need to be utilised in order to transfer any title and the cost of a conveyancer would be in addition to our fees.


Disbursements
In addition to these fees (whether or not we prepared the Will for the deceased), we may have to pay expenses on your behalf, called ‘disbursements’. These typically include:

  • Probate Registry fee of £273 and £1.50 for each sealed copy of the grant
  • £250 (approximately) Posts in The London Gazette or local newspaper
  • Certainty Will search £114

Timescales
On average, most estates are dealt with within 8-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate can take up to 3 – 6 months but may be quicker for a simple estate. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, timescales for certain aspects have been lengthened considerably, as there have been backlogs of processing Grant applications at the Probate Registry and the processing of account information and closure requests at financial institutions is taking much longer than usual. 

Regulatory information
TC Group is the trading name of TC Tax and Legal Limited, which is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.

Details of our professional indemnity insurance can be found here.

Results of the TC Group 2021 Diversity report are here.

ICAEW Compensation fund
In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Probate Compensation Scheme.

Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website: https://www.icaew.com/regulation/probate-services/information-for-consumers  


Complaints
If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Adam Suffolk the Head of Legal Practice.

We will consider carefully any complaint you may make about our probate or estate administration work as soon as we receive it and do all we can to resolve it and explain the position to you. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. If we do not deal with your complaint in this time, or if you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter with the Legal Ombudsman.

If we have been unable to settle your complaint using our internal complaints process, you have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, an independent complaints body, established under the Legal Services Act 2007 that deals with legal services complaints. You must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than (a) six years from the act/omission; or (b) three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and (c) you have six months from the date of our final letter in which to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ Telephone: 0300 555 0333 Email address: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk 

 

Free no-obligation consultation

If you’re thinking of changing accountants, contact a member of the TC team today to arrange a free consultation.