Probate Services

Non-Contentious Probate Work

Mr J Dovey is a qualified CILEx Practitioner (ACCA-Probate) of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and is authorised to undertake non-contentious probate work.  All work will be carried-out by John Dovey Wills & Probate Limited.  Mr Dovey is the sole shareholder and director of the company.  The only services provided will be the obtaining of the grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration where the will is not contested.  Payment for these services will not be requested until the work has been completed.

The cost of our services will be agreed with you in advance and will only be invoiced once the work has been completed.  We would hope to complete the administration of a straightforward estate within 6 months, but this will vary according to the complexity and amount of work required.

Our office is open between 9am and 5pm during weekdays.  We aim to respond to contact made outside these times within 3 working days.

We require you to respond to our requests for information timeously and in full.

PROBATE PROCESS AND TIMEFRAMES

The key stages of non-contentious probate are normally as follows:

The Five Steps of Probate

  • Step One – The Immediate Post-Death Requirements. …
  • Step Two – Valuing the estate. …
  • Step Three – Preparing the IHT Return. …
  • Step Four – Applying for the Grant. …
  • Step Five – Post-Grant Estate Administration.

Timeframes for probate

Every estate is different and can take a different length of time to administer depending on its complexity. There is a general expectation that an executor or administrator should try to complete the estate administration within a year of the death, and this is referred to as the executor’s year. There are numerous reasons why an estate may take longer than a year to administer though, including complex Inheritance Tax situations, lengthy property sales or missing beneficiaries.

As every estate is different, your case manager will keep you updated and inform you of the likely timescales to carry out the administration of the estate. Below is an outline of the typical timeframes for administering an estate without complex affairs:

Month 1

Starting your case

On receipt of your case, your case manager will carry out a detailed legal review of the estate to clarify the issues that will need addressing in order to apply for the grant of representation. They’ll let you know if they need anything else from you before we start valuing assets and liabilities in the estate to get a grant of representation.

Months 3 to 6

Applying for the grant of representation

To apply for the grant of representation it is necessary to have:

  • contacted all identifiable financial institutions in order to accurately verify and value the estate
  • completed the relevant Inheritance Tax forms and finalised the Inheritance Tax position with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) (whether there is Inheritance Tax to pay or not)
  • completed all documentation necessary for the court application, including checking the validity of the will or accurately applying the rules of intestacy where no valid will exists

Typically, it takes three to six months to complete all the necessary legal, tax and administration work, submit the application and receive the grant of representation from the court.

Months 6 to 9

Interim distributions to the beneficiaries

Once the grant of representation has been received it can be sent to the bank. After the bank has received all the necessary documents, the money in the accounts will usually be released within 10 to 15 working days.

Once the grant of representation has been received, adverts are placed in the London Gazette and a local paper. These adverts have a two month notice period within which creditors of the estate can claim for any debts. This significantly reduces the risk of future claims by creditors against the estate or we can help you with protecting yourself and the beneficiaries through insurance cover.

After this period, provided we have funds available and no outstanding debts, it is usually possible to distribute some of the estate to the beneficiaries.

Months 9 to 12

Final distributions to the beneficiaries

Claims can still be made against the estate in the six months following the receipt of the grant of representation by anyone who believes they are entitled to benefit. It is important to ensure that all potential claims on the estate are resolved before the final distributions are made.

Assuming that there are no claims and everything proceeds smoothly, we can usually finalise all the legal, tax and administration work and distribute the rest of the estate to the beneficiaries within 9-12 months.

When cases may finish sooner

Because every estate is different, the above timescales are just estimates.

If the circumstances of the estate are straightforward, we may be able to accelerate certain aspects of the work (such as the application for the grant of representation) and finish the estate administration sooner than we have said above. This might happen if, for example, there is no property in the estate, or if there is a property and it either gets transferred to a beneficiary or sells very quickly.

How long do people have to make a claim on an estate?

If someone wants to make a claim on a deceased person’s estate, they only have a limited time to do so. The deadline to make a claim is 6 months from the grant of representation being issued, though they may be able to apply to the court for an extension.

If the grant of representation hasn’t yet been issued, it’s possible to lodge a caveat at the Probate Registry. This will prevent the grant from being issued and, in turn, prevent any payments from being made out of the estate while the claim is being investigated. A caveat can remain in place for up to 6 months.

How much does applying for probate cost?

Applying for the Grant of Probate:

Our fees are £150 per hour plus VAT at 20%. We anticipate the work will take between 7.5 and 15 hours. 

Total costs are estimated at £1,125 to £2,250 plus VAT (£1,350 to £4,500).

The exact cost will depend on your specific circumstances. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end. If there are several beneficiaries, property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

There are additional costs that have to be paid to other organisations, known as disbursements. This will include the probate application fee of £273 and obtaining extra copies of the probate document at £1.50 each if you need to send them to multiple organisations at the same time

Estate Valuation and Estate Administration:

Our fees are £150 per hour plus VAT at 20%. We anticipate this work will take between 18 and 36 hours of work. 

Total costs estimated at £2,700 to £5,400 plus VAT (£3,240.00 to £6,480.00).

The exact cost will depend on your specific circumstances. This cost estimate is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will 
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than two bank or building society accounts
  • There are no intangible assets
  • There are no more than two beneficiaries
  • Beneficiaries agree on the division of assets (if disputes arise costs are likely to increase)
  • Inheritance tax does not have to be paid and a full account is not required to be submitted to HMRC
  • No claims are made against the estate

There are additional costs that have to be paid to other organisations, known as disbursements. This will include:

  • The probate application fee of £273
  • Obtaining extra copies of the probate document at £1.50 each (if you need to send them to multiple organisations at the same time)
  • Placing a notice in The London Gazette £96 including VAT, plus a further £8 for voucher evidence
  • Placing a notice in a local newspaper £264, including VAT

The list below gives an indication of work which might need to be carried out at an additional cost. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information about your specific situation.

  • There is no will or it has been altered after signature
  • Executors have died or refuse to act
  • The estate consists of shareholdings (stocks and bonds)
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate
  • Work required if inheritance tax is payable, including preparing full inheritance tax account, submission to and dealing with HMRC
  • There are missing beneficiaries

How long this type of service takes:

  • On average, for simple cases we will try and conclude the estate administration within 6 – 12 months of being instructed:
  • We allow 3-4 months for obtaining the Grant of Representation from the point we are instructed.
  • Collecting assets then follows, which can take a further 3–4 months.
  • Once this has been done, distribution of the assets normally takes a further 3-4 months.

The above time estimates are for guidance only and vary depending upon the work involved. Large and /or more complex estates will take longer to conclude as there will likely be inheritance tax issues which will require us to liaise with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). HMRC can take up to 6 months to finalise their own position on an estate, and this increases the time it will take for us to conclude the estate administration.

Where there are one or more properties in an estate that need to be sold, there might be a delay if a buyer is not found quickly.

John Dovey Wills & Probate Limited are authorised and regulated as a CILEX-ACC Probate Entity. Authorisation Number 3001224. Dovey Accountancy Services Limited our other firm will undertake the associated estate administration services, where you instruct them to provide such services. If you require more information about this, please email jmd@johndovey.co.uk. We have professional indemnity insurance (PII) that covers all of the work we carry-out. The insurance ensures that you do not lose out financially in the unlikely event that the firm makes a mistake.

For details of our complaints procedures please click here.