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Thank you, SW Barratt

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How much Does Probate Cost? – Avoid Expensive Fees

Published: August 9, 2023

What is probate?

Stick man with £ sign

How much does probate cost? This post aims to explain probate and direct you to low-cost probate services.

Probate is the legal process of transferring an estate, including property, personal property, and the right to receive an inheritance, to the recipient’s heirs. However, probate is not always required. Once you are granted probate you will receive a Government document which you can then take to the land registry, banks etc. This will give you the power to collect funds and likewise distribute them.

It’s also the process by which a personal representative (a trustee) is appointed to carry out the estate’s duties. The executor or administrator must prove that the deceased person had assets and that these assets are not subject to any debts.

However, probate can be time-consuming, costly, and complex, and that the executor or trustees of the estate may not have the authority to settle the estate.

Importantly you should not put any property up for sale or make other financial plans until the probate has been granted.

Why is probate required

Generally probate is required for around 50% of UK deaths, if the estate is worth more than £10,000, and the assets were solely owned, probate is required. This process is required by law to ensure that the estate is distributed correctly. 

How much does probate cost?

Woman in thought

Probate is not cheap. It can and often does cost thousands of pounds. It may have been possible to organise a low-cost funeral, but many relatives are then faced with large probate fees.

For general enquiries and applying for probate visit the links below:

Probate in England & Wales

Probate in Scotland

Probate in Northern Ireland

In some cases you may wish to stop a probate application due to legal reasons.

Many people shop around to save funeral costs and are often surprised by the cost of probate fees. Solicitors can charge a percentage between 2% and 5% of the estate value to carry out probate. This can obviously be a high fee, for example if the estate is £500,000 there would be a £10,000 to £25,000 plus VAT- £12,000 to £30,000!

How to avoid paying expensive probate

How much does probate cost? Thankfully, when it comes to affordable funerals and saving for funeral expenses, Farewill who are one of England’s largest probate services offer a low fixed fee probate from £595.00 or from £1,500.00. Farewill will answer all your questions during the probate process.

Make sure you have all of or as many of the documents to hand before contacting the them below.

Farewill offer ‘Essential Probate’ from £595.00 (+ £273 probate registry fee) for a basic service with a simple to sort estate where by you would fill out most of the paperwork 

or

Farewill offer ‘Complete Probate’ from £1,500.00 a full service if you are too busy and /or the estate is complex.

Farewill can also be contacted by telephone: 020 8176 6757

How long does probate take?

The average probate takes one to three months, however it can take up to a year if or maybe longer if complicated. 

Why does probate take so long?

One of the main reasons is that some people may not have a will, and beneficiaries have to be found or come forward to claim the deceased person’s property. Another reason is that a will may contain a lengthy list of beneficiaries.

There are many reasons why probate can take a long time. These include the estate’s size, complexity, and difficulty of the person’s estate. Probate can take a very long time, in cases where the estate is not so large, but the deceased person’s estate is complex.

Probate process

In England and Wales, probate fees are charged to the executor of an estate to put the deceased’s estate in order. An executor is a person appointed by the deceased to handle their estate. The executor must also pay probate fees for the estate.

The probate process starts with collecting the deceased person’s assets, typically handled by the executor or administrator of the estate.

The executor or administrator will file an application to distribute these assets. At this point, the probate process begins, and the executor or administrator must prove that the deceased person had assets and that these assets are not subject to any debts.

Once the executor or administrator has proven this, the Government will grant the executor or administrator the authority to distribute the assets as the deceased person would have wanted. When the executor or administrator distributes the assets, they are no longer considered part of the estate.

Can I rely on a trust and avoid probate?

A trust is a legal arrangement that lets someone transfer their property to another person or company, with the trust acting as the property owner. The trust is then responsible for the property for a set period, at which point the trust will return the property to the original owner. A trust helps avoid probate for those who have a lot of property. However, a trust can also be used to avoid probate for those with little property.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of probate?

There are a few benefits to probated wills. The executor can maintain the privacy of the deceased, and the executor can take their time to gather and distribute the assets. However, probate has a few disadvantages as well, the commonly asked question, how much does probate cost? is often answered with an expensive answer. Probate can be expensive, and the executor can be liable for any debts and obligations of the deceased.

How is probate calculated?

During this process, the deceased’s property is sold to pay any outstanding debts and form capital for distribution. The proceeds are then distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will or legally entitled. It can be challenging for executors and administrators to determine how much the deceased had in assets, and how much will be necessary to pay the deceased’s debts. They may also pay inheritance tax and or capital gains tax on the assets sold during the process.

Who pays for probate fees?

Pile of coins

In England and Wales, probate fees are charged to the executor of an estate to put the deceased’s estate in order. An executor is a person appointed by the deceased to handle their estate. The executor must also pay probate fees for the estate.

Discount will writing service

Writing a will is important but sadly more than 50% of adults die without leaving a will. Apart from saving possible family arguments over who gets what, a will can save on inheritance tax.

Many people use a high street solicitor to write a will without realising that there are other low-cost regulated options available o the market.

Make a Will online offer an online service which uses regulated solicitors. The cost is currently £60 for a single will and £90 for a pair, i.e husband and wife.

If however you have the less common long/complicated will, then it is generally advisable to see a solicitor face to face.

It is important to note that not all will writing services are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This is important to bear in mind that if there were something wrong with the wording on the will which may not be discovered for years, then you would have no come back or compensation. For example some cheap online will writing services are not regulated.

Beware of obtaining a cheap or free will from banks or solicitors as they can put themselves as executors of the will and then charge high fees to administer the will. It is advisable to avoid this unless you have no friends or relatives to act as an executor.

You can also make your will public. Therefore, any person can view the will, but only those named in it can change it.

For a detailed look at wills, their regulation and other low-cost will writing services please visit the link.

No will?

Handwriting in book

If no will was left then the closest living relative normally applies to be administrator of the estate. The Government inheritance calculator can be  used if there is no immediate close relative that can be determined.

Conclusion

Usually, How much does probate cost? is the last order of business in the legal matters of a person’s estate. A will can be proven invalid if there is a legal challenge to the validity of the will. Also, note that probate can take a long time, and the process can be expensive. However, you can use Farewill and implement the tips covered in this article to greatly reduce the cost of probate. 

If you found this article interesting, and would like to learn more about how to save money on a funeral, locating quality low-cost funerals, low-cost headstones, natural burials, DIY funerals, free financial help from the Government and charities as well as bereavement support, then please visit Save Funeral Costs™

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