Find out what a probate solicitor will do if you hire them.
Need a probate attorney?
If you’re a will executor, you must determine whether to hire a professional or do it yourself.
Complex estates should be handled by a probate lawyer. Examples:
When a will’s legality is contested.
Dependents left out of the will who seek to make a claim.
Complex arrangements include trust assets and trust petitions.
Insolvent estate (in other words, their debts are worth more than their assets).
The deceased lived or died abroad.
The estate has foreign assets.
The estate normally pays the probate lawyer’s expenses.
Otherwise, try our guide to DIY probate.
I need a probate attorney.
If you need a probate solicitor, it may be easiest to use the firm that drew out and/or stored the will, but you don’t have to. You can shop around or use someone you know.
The Law Society maintains a directory of probate lawyers in England and Wales. The Scottish Law Society’s directory is similar. Here’s Northern Ireland’s counterpart.
This can be a problem if the dead utilised a bank to write their will and named the bank as co-executor.
Some banks required a professional executor and probate in the past. If the deceased had such an agreement, be careful because it can be pricey, especially when banks charge a portion.
All beneficiaries must agree for the bank to abandon its executor position.
Probate attorneys’ fees
Most solicitors handle probate and asset distribution. Some charge a portion of the estate, while most charge hourly based on the work and who does it.
Cost depends on estate intricacy and will.
Shares, offshore property, and trusts can make valuing an inheritance difficult, and will difficulties – from poorly drafted codicils to family disagreements – add to a solicitor’s fees.
Here are some instances of bank and solicitor probate fees:
|Estate taxes (approximate guide)|
1 Probate executor bank (typical 4 percent fee)
2 Probate lawyer (typical 2 percent fee).
Before starting a job, many lawyers just give a preliminary estimate of their rates.
If they give you a ballpark figure, it may be revised, but firms now send out extensive fact-finder questionnaires to gain a more exact picture of the task.
As the task continues, lawyers update their estimates. Expect interim payments.
If VAT isn’t included, add it. Disbursements include Probate Registry expenses.
Some lawyers combine hourly and percentage rates. If they do, they must tell you upfront and charge a reduced percentage for large estates.
When lawyers charge by the hour, it’s crucial to reveal estate data early. Some may agree to a labour split to cut costs. The court can review a lawyer’s excessive fees.
Fixed-price probate attorneys
Not all probate lawyers charge hourly or provide estimates. Firms around the country offer fixed-price probate quotes based on estate size.
Their prices are obvious for estates under £325,000. Larger estates are usually quoted “by arrangement” but should be less than standard time-based quotes.
Probate brokers acquire clients’ details, then arrange a panel of solicitors to quote the work. Through this tendering process, they intend to give 40-50 percent less prices than traditional solicitors.
Trust corporations offer another fixed-price service. Legal, accounting, and tax planning firms.
If you plan to sell an estate home, conveyancing fees will be higher. Most probate clients use the same conveyancing firm.
This is convenient, but not always cheap or efficient. Without a solicitor, you can employ conveyancing specialists and possibly negotiate lower prices.
Read about conveyancing while selling a home.
Legal can help you self-manage probate.
Our free probate checklist will guide you.
Divides process into smaller tasks