If you are reading this you may well have found yourself in the unexpected position of being the executor of a will and having to sort out the probate process on behalf of a deceased friend or relative. This article is primarily concerned with helping you calculate how much probate services cost you, but first of all:
What Is Probate?
On the pages of this website you will find plenty of plain language advice without any of the jargon that so often accompanies the probate process. If you are unfamiliar with probate and what is involved, a good place to start is the page on Wills, probate and inheritance on GOV.UK. This is a concise, no-nonsense guide, so take a look through this first and then head over to our Probate Valuation Guide page on the Avery Associates website for a more in-depth view.
Is Handling Probate Expensive?
Your first concern may be how much a probate service will cost you. The good news is that you don’t actually have to spend a penny on solicitor’s fees or specialist services if you don’t want to. If you are happy to go it alone there are no legal barriers to stop you doing so.
However, in our experience this isn’t always either the most cost-effective or advisable way to go about things. Why? Because as executor of the will you are accountable to HMRC for correctly assessing the amount of inheritance tax owed on the deceased’s estate.
The probate process is involved and can be complex. As executor you are responsible for collecting all the deceased’s assets, paying inheritance tax liabilities and distributing the estate according to the deceased’s will. You could find that the pressures on your time, as well as the financial costs of handling the probate process in terms of time off work, admin, stress and so on, far outweigh the supposed benefits of not having to pay professional fees!
Is It Worth Doing It Yourself?
Most people feel that it is not worth the outlay in stress, time and worry that comes with handling the process on your own. Professional help can save you time, tears and money in the long run. If you are confident enough to go it alone, we strongly recommend you give the HMRC Probate and Inheritance Tax Helpline a call on 0300 123 1072, and keep referring back to them if you get stuck – don’t use guesswork during the probate process. And remember, there are professionals on hand to give you help with probate if you get stuck.
When You Should Definitely Call In The Professionals:
This being said, there are certain circumstances in which we strongly advise seeking the services of a probate specialist. Three of the most common situations which complicate a probate valuation are:
1) Where the deceased was married with children and left an estate worth more than £250,000, but where there is no will.
2) Where doubt exists about the validity of the will, or where it is contested by one or more surviving relatives.
3) Where some or all of the estate’s assets are arranged to be held in trust.
There are a number of other different scenarios where professional help can be invaluable in correctly assessing the value of the house contents or chattels and the property, home or buildings that form part of the estate for probate. Getting it wrong in these circumstances can result in financial penalties and a lot of avoidable stress and complications down the line. For impartial advice on getting it right first time, call our probate specialist Jeffrey Avery for free on 0800 567 7769.
How Much Do Probate Valuation Services Cost?
If you choose to seek professional help, there will be certain fees involved. These vary widely depending on the provider. Some probate valuation specialists work on an hourly rate, while others charge a flat fee. These fees are often calculated based on a percentage value of the estate, so you could end up paying between 1% and 5% of the total value in fees. Depending on how much the estate is worth, these fees could be substantial. Bear in mind that most providers also charge VAT on top of their fees.
At Avery Associates we like to keep things a bit simpler. Our probate valuation service costs only £450 plus VAT for either a house contnts valuation or a property valaution, and we also provide a full range of associated services and valuations including cars boats and valuable collections therefore offering a total solution for all your needs needs when dealing with a deceased estate.