Wills and probate is a minefield that most of us will avoid researching until it’s too late and we have a relatives will to sort out. This easy to understand article gives you some pointers that could save money and time
Until a loved one dies, chances are you will never have encountered UK Probate Laws. At a time of immense distress it can often be difficult to understand the varying probate fees and costs that are involved when dealing with assets that have been left behind.
In simple terms,
probate is the legal process of applying for the right to deal with the financial estate of a loved one.
UK law determines that a Grant of Probate is required to legally determine what happens to the deceased’s financial assets.
Many people are often unsure of how the process works and will often seek the help of a legal professional to guide them through the process. When confronted with the various probate fees and costs, deciding on which firm and course of action can be confusing.
Assets below £5,000 – No Probate Cost Required
If your loved one dies leaving assets that are valued below the threshold of £5,000, the probate cost is reduced to zero. Applying for a letter of administration will allow you to legally sort out the deceased’s financial affairs without the need for expensive probate fees charged by a solicitor. The production of the original death certificate will grant you authority to deal with any banks or building societies.
Probate Fees for Assets Higher than £5,000
Many deceased people will leave estates and financial assets that are far greater than £5,000. In these cases, many loved ones will turn to the help of a probate solicitor to help them with the legal process of sorting out the deceased’s estate. The probate fees incurred when using the services of a professional will often be determined by the complexity of the estate involved.
Some probate solicitors and specialist law firms offer the client a fixed probate cost. Unsurprisingly, over 70% of probate applications are presented via this means of application. At a time of such distress, the added probate fees of using a seasoned professional far outweigh the savings that can be made by completing the process yourself.
Some probate solicitors prefer to charge and hourly rate plus a percentage of the final estate value. Probate fees via this method can range £100-£200 per hour and from 0.3 – 3% final value.
The choice of legal service that you choose will often be dependant on the size of the estate involved. It is important to remember that new UK tax laws see inheritance tax placed on estates that exceed the value of £325,000.
Avoiding Excessive Probate Fees
Of course, if you wish to save money on excessive probate fees charged by professionals, there is always the option of applying for a Grant of Probate without legal assistance. Although it can be a lengthy process of form filling and interviews, the probate cost of obtaining the relevant documentation is just £105.
This article was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of the Wills and Probate Service, experts in probate fees and probate cost.