How much are Probate Fees?
If you’re looking for a company to handle your executor’s duties and take care of the estate administration process on your behalf, be very careful when considering quotes. Probate fees vary substantially. In 2010, Which? surveyed 4 high street banks and found that on a £350,000 estate, the difference in fees was a shocking £8750.
Here are some things to look out for to make sure that you get a fair price when it comes to probate. After all, the onus falls on you, as the executor to preserve the inheritance for the beneficiaries. Make sure you get it right.
Compare Equivalent Services
You may be considering using a company because they seem significantly cheaper than others. Before you do anything find out exactly what the service includes. You may find that it costs less because it will include a lot less. Some companies will offer a full estate administration package, others an inexpensive application only service. You need to make sure you know what you’re getting before it’s too late.
Avoid Probate Fees Calculated on Estate Value
These are normally calculated as a percentage and vary from 1-5%. This is an unfair way to price probate simply because it bears no relevance to the amount of work that the company must do. This depends on how many beneficiaries, whether inheritance tax is due and how many financial institutions assets are spread over. For example, an estate valued at £100,000 consisting of 4 bank/building society accounts with 6 beneficiaries is more involved than an estate valued at £200,000 in 2 bank accounts with a single beneficiary.
Ensure that the Practitioners hold the Appropriate Qualifications
Choose a reputable, well established company and ensure that practitioners are qualified to assist you. You will need to put an awful lot of trust in your probate advisor so it’s important to be wary. Find a company or individual that is a STEP member (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). STEP are the worldwide professional body for matters concerning probate, estate administration and inheritance law. Selecting a company purely because their probate fees are the cheapest is not worth the risk.
Don’t Use a Company that Won’t Agree a Price in Advance
Probate can last months and it will get pretty uncomfortable if you’re constantly worried about fees, especially if there are any problems. The last thing you want to do is end up feeling like you’re on a meter. Besides, it’s never a smart move to give someone carte blanches to charge you as and what they see fit. If you’ve agreed probate fees from the get go, you won’t get any nasty surprises later on.