It really depends on the value and complexity of the deceased persons' estate, and whether you use a legal professional, such as a Solicitor, to complete Probate for you or if you do Probate yourself.
A Grant of Representation, usually called a Grant of Probate where there is a Will, is a legal document that confirms your authority to deal with the bank accounts, property and belongings of someone who died. If you are responsible for Probate, this is usually because you've either been named as the Executor in someone's Will or because you are the next of kin for of someone who has died without leaving a Will.
The Grant of Representation might be required by an organisation like a bank or building society, before they will allow you to access the money in the account.
In England & Wales there are usually two types of Grant of Representation:
Grant of Probate if you are the Executor named in the Will, or
Grant of Letters of Administration if there is no Will.
Probate might not be required, especially if the estate you are administering does not include a property or land. But if you're asked to provide a Grant by a bank, building society or other financial organisation then you will have to go through the legal process of applying for one. Each bank or building society has its own financial limits above which Probate might be required, which is usually dependent on how much money there is in the account. This could be as high as £25,000 or as low as £5,000.
The cost of obtaining a Grant of Representation is a standard Court fee but if you decide to get professional legal help with Probate, the cost will largely depend on the value and complexity of the estate.
If you decide to complete Probate yourself in England or Wales, the costs involved will be an application fee of £215 to get the Grant of Representation. You won't have to pay this fee if the estate you're administering is worth less than £5,000.
Other Probate costs are those needed for the day-to-day administration of the estate such as stationery, mailing and photocopying. Probate can be a long process and if you are planning to do it yourself, you should understand that it could take up to a year, perhaps even more.
Think carefully about this commitment and the impact this will have on your life before you make a start.
If you decide to ask for help from a Probate legal professional, there are some things you'll probably want to consider. Some legal professionals such as Solicitors, charge for their Probate services at an hourly rate or charge you a percentage of the total value of the estate. This can be anywhere from 1.5% up to about 5%. These percentage fees can take a significant chunk of the estate, particularly from higher value estates. Also remember to ask whether the quote you have includes VAT or not. This will add on another 20%.
At Co-op Legal Services, we don't charge you a percentage of the estate. Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work to be done, that price will not change unless the original information we are given is shown to be incorrect or circumstances change.
For customers looking for a Complete Probate Service, we offer a free at-home visit from one of our experienced Probate Consultants. They'll come and visit you at home (or another location of your choice in England or Wales) to run through the administration process and to provide you with a written quote for us to complete Probate for you.
Many of our customers find the home visit a really useful part of our service, particularly at an already difficult and emotional time. We can manage the whole Probate process for you from start to finish, which will hugely reduce the burden on you. This includes cashing or transferring financial investments and accounts, arranging for the sale of property, completing the legal and tax documents (excluding VAT) and ensuring the estate is distributed correctly.
In addition, we offer a unique option for the funeral arrangements. If the funeral is arranged with Co-op Funeralcare, we can refund any deposit you have paid and settle the balance of the funeral from the estate, (provided that there are sufficient assets to be liquidated) so you won't have to pay the funeral costs from your own pocket.
The same applies to the fee we'll charge to complete Probate for you. As long as there are enough assets to be liquidated in the estate, we'll take these costs direct so you won't have to pay any money up front.
When you lose someone you love you'll need to decide whether or not you are going to complete Probate yourself. The alternative would be to arrange for a legal professional to manage the process for you. When you're thinking about your options you should consider how much time you have to dedicate to the administration process and how you are coping with your loss.
Some people find it helpful to have something practical to do after they lose a loved one but others find it hard to cope and trying to manage Probate on top of this only adds to their stress. Whatever you decide, we can help you.
For free initial advice and guidance call our Probate team on 01618558359 or contact us online and we will help you.