What Should You Be Paying For Probate? 4 Essential Things You Must Know About Probate Solicitors and Estate Administration in the UK


Coping with the loss of a loved one is a challenging time, made even more complex and stressful when handling their estate. Among many concerns, understanding solicitors’ fees for probate often causes confusion. These costs can rapidly accumulate, potentially reducing the value of the estate. But don’t fret… Our comprehensive guide will help you better understand things like:

  • Fee types
  • How solicitors work out their calculation
  • What potential hidden costs might arise
  • Consequences of negligent probate

In this guide we’ll also share essential tips to manage these expenses effectively. Whether you’re a beneficiary or an executor, this guide offers the insights you need to make sense of solicitors’ fees for probate in the England & Wales

Understanding Probate Solicitors' Fee Structures

Typically, solicitors’ probate fees fall into two categories: fixed fees and hourly rates. Fixed fees are usually applied to straightforward cases, like when there’s a single beneficiary or an uncomplicated, small estate. More complex cases often incur hourly rates, like those with multiple beneficiaries, disputes, or other complications.

Additional charges, like court fees, valuation fees, and tax advice fees, are separate from the solicitor’s fees and can accumulate quickly. Therefore, asking a solicitor about their fee structure is a crucial first step when budgeting for these costs.

Hourly rates for solicitors can vary significantly based on their experience level and case complexity. More experienced solicitors often charge higher rates, while less experienced ones might charge less.

Always ask for an estimate of the total cost before hiring a solicitor. This gives you an idea of what to expect and helps you plan your budget. Remember to inquire about additional costs, like VAT or disbursements (third-party costs incurred by the solicitor).

Factors Affecting Solicitors' Probate Fees

There’s many factors which can influence solicitors’ probate fees. These include estate complexity, beneficiary number, and any disputes or legal issues around the estate or will. Larger estates with more beneficiaries or disputes will generally require more of the solicitor’s time and thus incur higher fees.

Geographic location also plays a role. Solicitors based in more expensive areas might charge more for their services. Our top tip is to do some research and consider a solicitor based in a more affordable location.

Essential Tips for Minimising Solicitors' Probate Fees

Managing probate solicitors’ fees may seem daunting, but there are some very important steps to help minimise these costs. Firstly, compare quotes from different solicitors. This will provide a sense of the average cost of probate in your area and help you find a solicitor that offers good value for money.

Next, consider whether you need a solicitor at all. For small, uncomplicated estates, handling the process yourself or using a probate service could be more cost-effective. Open communication with your solicitor is essential to avoid unexpected costs.

Probate Solicitors' Fees in England & Wales:

Due to slightly different laws and legislation in Scotland and Ireland prices may vary. However, in England and Wales probate solicitors’ fees can vary widely.

For example, a small, uncomplicated estate might cost between £1,000 – £3,000. In contrast, a complex estate with multiple beneficiaries and potential disputes could be between £10,000 – £20,000.


Feel free to reach out for a complimentary, no-pressure chat to find our if we can help with your probate requirements.

How To Minimise Costs and Simplifying the Probate Process

Understanding solicitors’ probate fees can make dealing with a loved one’s estate less overwhelming. By familiarising yourself with fee types, their calculation, and potential costs, you can ensure you get the best value for money.

Remember to compare quotes, ask the right questions, and consider alternatives such as probate services. With an informed approach, you can minimise costs and ensure a smooth probate process.

5 Common Mistakes People Make With Their Probate and Consequences When Corners Have Been Cut

When considering a probate it’s important that you follow a process that not only ensures the estate and assets are shared out accordingly but that it doesn’t fall short of the legal requirements. Here are 5 most common mistakes people make when dealing with a probate. 

  1. Assessing Mental Capacity:
    When dealing with a probate it’s important to know that the initial will was written when the individual was of sound mind also known as ‘testamentary capacity’. Which is a legal term used to describe a person’s legal and mental ability to understand what they’re doing when it comes to making or altering a will. If a lawyer has concerns about the person’s mental state, they need to investigate further. If they don’t and the person wasn’t of sound mind, the will might not stand in court and the solicitor could be blamed for this which could potentially nullify the will and probate. Not only would this cause an upset to the family, but in turn create a huge delay and disruption to any settlements being made. 
  1. Avoiding Unnecessary Delays:
    Sometimes, a will needs to be drafted quickly, particularly if the person is in poor health. If a lawyer doesn’t act swiftly enough and the person dies before the will is complete, the will can’t be used. It’s vital that the lawyer acts promptly when necessary. However, in some cases there may not be a will so therefore it goes to the most ‘entitled’ person who now becomes administrator of the estate. Typically this is either the closest living relative, wife, husband, civil partner (including any separated partners) This is then followed by any children aged over 18 or legally adopted children. But it’s important to note this does NOT include step children. Our advice is to get a will written up as soon as… You’re never too young to write your own will, so get a will in place now,  rather than leaving it until it’s too late. 
  1. Ensuring Clear Drafting: A will should be as clear as a set of instructions. If it’s vague or unclear, it could lead to misunderstandings about who gets what. Additionally, the lawyer must fully understand the extent of the person’s assets. This includes tangible possessions like homes and jewellery, as well as intangible ones like bank accounts and shares.
  1. Correct Witnessing Procedure:
    For a will to be valid, it must be signed in the presence of two unbiased witnesses. These witnesses can’t be beneficiaries in the will or their spouses. If the witnessing is done improperly, the will may be deemed invalid, causing the person’s belongings to be distributed based on legal default rules, not their personal wishes.
    It’s also important to note that there’s other legal requirements for a will to be valid such as:

    *You and your witnesses must sign the same document.


    *When you sign your will, both of your witnesses must have a clear view of you and the act of signing.


    *You can ask someone to sign on your behalf if you’re unable to do it.


    *When your witnesses sign your will, you must have a clear view of them and the act of signing. Your witnesses do not need to sign it at the same time as each other.


    *You cannot leave your witnesses (or their married partners) anything in your will.


    *If you make any changes to your will you must follow the same signing and witnessing process.


    *If you cannot meet with your witnesses in person, you can watch each other sign your will remotely (for example by video conferencing). You must be careful to ensure it meets the required formalities so it is sensible to take legal advice. 


    *You can only sign remotely in England or Wales.

  2. Accurate Completion of Probate Forms:
    After a person dies, there are official forms that need to be filled out to administer their estate. If these forms are incorrectly completed or submitted late, it could cause significant financial and legal issues. The person responsible for the forms (often the lawyer) may face penalties. So it’s crucial to ensure that any information passed onto the solicitor is accurate and clear.


Feel free to reach out for a complimentary, no-pressure chat to find our if we can help with your probate requirements.

FAQ'S About
Probate Solicitors

What You Need To Know Before Hiring Someone To Handle Your Probate Requirements

Consider asking about their fee structure, experience with probate cases, success rate, availability, and if they can provide references or testimonials from previous clients

You could use a probate service, which may be more affordable for straightforward cases. If you’re willing to invest time and effort, handling the probate process yourself can also save money. However, if the estate is small enough a probate may not be required. But this doesn’t come without risks. So we advise you alway seek advice before actioning anything yourself

A probate solicitor assists with legal aspects of the probate process, including obtaining grants of probate or letters of administration, dealing with any disputes, and distributing the estate to beneficiaries. Using a qualified and specialised solicitor for handling probate is vital to ensure that the will is executed accurately and legally. It mitigates the risks of costly errors, potential disputes, unnecessary delays, or the will being declared invalid, ultimately providing peace of mind in a challenging time.