The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA’s) Transparency Rules require us to provide transparency about our prices for particular types of work, including:

We provide the information required by the SRA below, and hope that it is helpful.

However, every client’s matter is different, and the cost of an individual case will depend on a number of factors, including its complexity, value and duration. The information provided below is therefore necessarily only an approximate guide. We have always aimed to provide clients with the best possible information about the cost of our services, and are happy to provide individual cost estimates based on the details of a particular case; please feel free to get in touch for more information.

Charging basis

We charge primarily on a time-cost basis, with the hourly rate for all solicitors being £375 + VAT and for paralegals £100 + VAT (with rates reviewed and updated with effect from 1 January each year; VAT is currently chargeable at 20% where applicable).

Each of our solicitors has more than a decade of post-qualification experience (and some have considerably more) and worked in major international firms before joining Bellevue Law. We believe, therefore, that our hourly rates represent excellent value compared to the cost of instructing other solicitors with comparable backgrounds and experience. We recognise that we are not the cheapest option, and nor do we seek to be. Rather, we look to provide high quality advice and service, and value for money, representing a cost-effective alternative to larger firms.

It is possible that another legal service provider’s model may be more appropriate for you, for example if you are eligible for legal aid, have insurance which may cover the cost of bringing a claim or would like to work with a lawyer on a contingency or fixed fee basis or (in a probate matter) the value of the estate.

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal

Wrongful dismissal (notice pay)

We would expect a straightforward standalone claim for wrongful dismissal (notice pay), or the defence of such a claim, in the ET to cost approximately £24,000 + VAT (at 20% where applicable) if it does not settle and proceeds to a hearing. This figure includes expenses and disbursements (see below). If the case settles at an earlier stage, of course costs would be lower.

However, in many cases it would not be cost-effective for us to bring such a claim in the ET (and indeed we have not done so to date), as the current cap on compensation for wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal is £25,000. Higher value claims are usually brought in the High Court or County Court, where different procedures, costs and cost recovery rules apply; please contact us to discuss the likely costs of bringing such a claim.

This cost estimate covers taking initial instructions, advice on the merits of your case, pre-claim conciliation, drafting Tribunal papers and a schedule of loss, preparing for and attending a Preliminary Hearing, reviewing your documents for exchange with the other side and reviewing their documents, preparing witness statements and reviewing the other side’s witness statements, preparing for and attending the final hearing, correspondence with the other side, exploring settlement and the final hearing of a claim.

It does not include a number of other matters which might increase the complexity of, and time required to manage, a matter.  Please see below as to factors which may increase the cost of a claim and the likely timing of a matter. 

Unfair dismissal

We would expect a straightforward standalone claim for unfair dismissal, or the defence of such a claim, in the ET to cost approximately £37,500-£48,250 + VAT (at 20% where applicable) if it does not settle and proceeds to a hearing. This figure includes expenses and disbursements (see below). If the case settles at an earlier stage, of course costs would be lower.

However, we typically act for senior executives who may have complex claims including (in combination with an unfair dismissal claim) claims for discrimination or whistleblowing, and employers defending such claims. Such complexity will add to the time required to represent a client, and the costs of doing so.

This cost estimate covers taking initial instructions, advice on the merits of your case, pre-claim conciliation, drafting Tribunal papers and a schedule of loss, preparing for and attending a Preliminary Hearing, reviewing your documents for exchange with the other side and reviewing their documents, preparing witness statements and reviewing the other side’s witness statements, preparing for and attending the final hearing, correspondence with the other side, exploring settlement and the final hearing of a claim.

It does not include a number of other matters which might increase the complexity of, and time required to manage, a matter.  Please see below for examples of issues which may make a case more costly and the likely timing of the matter. 

Our pricing for bringing and defending debt recovery claims up to £100,000

We would expect costs for debt recovery claims of up to £100,000 to be in the range of £6,500- £37,500 + VAT (at 20% where applicable). This wide range reflects the fact that the term ‘debt recovery’ covers a range of possibilities from a simple letter of claim or service of a statutory demand (which may be contested or uncontested), to defended County Court proceedings and enforcement of any judgment. This figure includes expenses and disbursements (see below), except for Court fees, which will vary with the size of the claim (from £35 to £5,000 to issue claims up to £100,000, and from £27 to £1,175 for hearing fees; no VAT is payable). Claims for recovery of a debt which settle at an early stage will, of course, cost less than claims which proceed to a hearing.

The costs set out below cover taking initial instructions, advice on the merits of your case, drafting Court papers, preparing for and attending a Case Management Conferences, reviewing your documents for exchange with the other side and reviewing their documents, preparing witness statements and reviewing the other side’s witness statements, preparing for and attending the final hearing, correspondence with the other side, exploring settlement and the final hearing of a claim.

As described below, it does not include a number of other matters which might increase the complexity of, and time required to manage, a matter.  Please see below for examples of issues which may make a case more costly and the likely timing of the matter. 

Expenses and disbursements

We may also incur costs of third parties on your behalf.

The most significant of these is likely to be the fees of counsel (a barrister who may advise on the merits of a case, draft ET or Court documents on your behalf and represent you at hearings). Counsel’s fees will vary according to the size and complexity of the case and seniority of the barrister instructed, but we typically work with barristers charging between £250-500 per hour (+ VAT at 20% where applicable).  We might expect barristers fees (included in the estimates provided above) to come to somewhere between £0 and £10,000 (+ VAT at 20% where applicable) for straightforward wrongful dismissal case, somewhere between £0 and £20,000 (+ VAT at 20% where applicable) for a straightforward unfair dismissal claim and somewhere between £0 and £15,000 (+ VAT at 20% where applicable) for a straightforward debt recovery claim.

We may also pass on to you the costs of scanning or copying disclosure documents and hearing bundles by a specialist legal copying provider charging from 10p per page (plus VAT at 20% where applicable) (although we do not charge for incidental photocopying), significant travel costs (although we do not charge for travel within London), courier charges and the fees of expert witnesses.  The above estimates assume that, in a straightforward case, no significant travel costs, courier charges or fees for expert evidence would be incurred. Finally, as described above, in the High Court or County Court (although not currently in the ET) there will be court fees payable at various stages of proceedings, including when a claim is issued.

We will often handle the payment of these costs on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Factors Making A Case More Complex (by way of example only):

  • Being required to make or defend applications, including applications to amend claims or responses or to provide further information about an existing claim, costs applications, applications to extend time limits, for deposit orders, to withdraw a claim or strike out a claim or response or for a postponement, adjournment or stay of proceedings.
  • Defending claims that are brought or defended by litigants in person.
  • Complex preliminary issues in the ET such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties).
  • The volume and complexity of factual or expert evidence and the number of witnesses and documents on either side.
  • If the claim is an automatic unfair dismissal claim in the ET e.g. if the Claimant alleges that she or he was dismissed after blowing the whistle on her or his employer.
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal in the ET.
  • Appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal or Court of Appeal.
  • The respondent’s or defendant’s failure to pay an award, necessitating enforcement action.

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. This may range from a few weeks (if settlement is reached at an early stage) to 12 months or more if your claim proceeds to a final hearing in the ET of Court.

This is just an estimate and we will, of course, be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Our pricing for probate matters

Probate is the term used for the legal process of administering the estate of someone who has died.  The role of administering the estate will be carried out by the executor or executors where there is a valid will or by an administrator or administrators where there is no valid will.  Executors and administrators are collectively referred to as personal representatives, or “PRs”.

Bellevue Law advises on the full spectrum of management and administration of estates and trusts arising under wills, and can support PRs with any element of the process including:

  • Checking the validity of the will.
  • Advising the PRs on the terms of the will or the intestacy and their role and legal duties.
  • Notifying third parties of the death and obtaining valuations of the deceased’s assets and liabilities at the date of death.
  • Carrying out a general asset search (if required).
  • Placing statutory advertisements for unknown creditors to protect the PRs from personal liability.
  • Investigating and advising on lifetime gifts made by the deceased and available allowances and exemptions.
  • Preparing the inheritance tax return, including advising on available inheritance tax reliefs and exemptions, advising on the timing and payment of inheritance tax.
  • Dealing with correspondence, or negotiations, with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in relation to the inheritance tax position of the estate, valuations or available inheritance tax exemptions or reliefs.
  • Applying for the grant of probate or letters of administration (referred to in this guidance as the “grant”).
  • On receipt of the grant, arranging for this to be registered with third parties and collecting in the deceased’s assets.
  • Liaising with the PRs, and the beneficiaries, as appropriate, regarding the sale, or transfer, of assets and co-ordinating the sales/transfers (except the cost of transfer or sale of an interest in property is charged separately).
  • Settling liabilities of the estate and administration expenses.
  • Arranging payment of legacies arising under the will.
  • Preparing estate accounts to show the financial transactions in the administration period.
  • Advising the PRs on their income tax and capital gains tax compliance both for the deceased to the date of death and for themselves for the administration period. Tax returns will be dealt with by an accountant, but we can help with the process, and collating the information for these.
  • Preparing tax deduction certificates for residuary beneficiaries for their tax returns (if not dealt with by the accountant as part of the PRs’ tax return process).
  • Advising the PRs in relation to any trust created by the will, or intestacy.
  • Making distributions to the beneficiaries.
  • Dealing with applications for a grant where the deceased died domiciled outside England and Wales both where a foreign grant can be re-sealed in the UK court, or where an independent grant application is required. In these circumstances we can also deal with any the inheritance tax account required.

We have specific experience of international estates and those with business and agricultural assets as well as estates with more complex inheritance tax matters.  We often act as executor and trustee for clients.

We also advise clients on post-death planning to mitigate inheritance tax or redirect assets using deeds of variation, or appointments under discretionary wills. Given the breadth of our expertise, we are able to tailor our services to our clients’ specific needs, whatever the size or complexity of the estate.

What will our fees be?

The costs of probate work will depend on the individual circumstances of each estate, in particular its size and complexity.  Fees are based on our hourly rate and we do not charge a percentage of the estate or fixed fees by value.  Once we know more about the assets and liabilities in the estate and therefore what is involved, we will discuss the steps to be taken with you and give you a meaningful estimate of the fees involved at each stage.

To give an indication of possible fees, however, we have set out expected fee ranges below for three estates: a simple estate, a medium complex estate and a highly complex estate.  We have also indicated disbursements and additional costs which may be payable for some estates (depending on circumstances).

Simple estate: Grant of probate and administration of the estate only

The fee range below applies where:

  • The deceased was domiciled in England and Wales.
  • There is a valid will and its terms are clear.
  • The assets are straightforward, located in the UK and are readily identifiable
  • The deceased held no more than four bank accounts.
  • The deceased held no more than one portfolio of quoted shares via an investment manager (certificated shareholdings will take longer to administer and will add to costs).
  • There are no business or agricultural assets.
  • There is only one property held in the estate (NB. fee range does not include fees for sale, or transfer, of the property which are charged separately).
  • The deceased did benefit from any trust at the date of death.
  • Any lifetime gifts made by the deceased are low value and of cash.
  • All the beneficiaries can be easily identified.
  • There are no more than four legacies which are given outright.
  • There are no more than four residuary beneficiaries all of whom receive their share of the estate outright (no ongoing trusts apply).
  • There is no dispute in relation to the distribution of the estate or claims against the estate.
  • There is no inheritance tax payable, and no inheritance tax account is required to be submitted to HMRC.

The charges for an estate of this type are estimated to be between £3,500 and £6,500 plus VAT (at 20% where applicable) and disbursements, but the actual charges will depend on the specific facts of the case.

Medium complex estate: Grant of probate, inheritance tax account (but no inheritance tax payable) and administration of the estate

The fee range below applies where:

  • The deceased was domiciled in England and Wales.
  • There is a valid will and its terms are clear.
  • All the assets are located in the UK or there are no more than two assets located overseas for which valuations have been obtained (or can easily be obtained)
  • The assets are straightforward and are readily identifiable.
  • Information about lifetime gifts made by the deceased is readily available and any exemption claims are straightforward.
  • The deceased did not benefit from any trust interests at the date of death.
  • The deceased held no more than six bank accounts.
  • The deceased held no more than two portfolios of shares held via investment managers (certificated shareholdings will take longer to administer and will add to costs).
  • There are no more than two properties held in the estate (NB. fee range does not include fees for sale, or transfer, of the properties which are charged separately).
  • All the beneficiaries can be easily identified.
  • There are no more than eight legacies which are given outright.
  • There are no more than four residuary beneficiaries all of whom receive their share of the estate outright (no ongoing trusts apply).
  • There is no dispute in relation to the distribution of the estate or claims against the estate.
  • There is no inheritance tax payable, but a full inheritance tax account is required to be submitted to HMRC (fee range assumes there is no ongoing correspondence with HMRC about the information, or valuations, submitted in the inheritance tax account).

The charges for an estate of this type are estimated to be between £10,000 and £15,000 plus VAT (at 20% where applicable) and disbursements but the actual charges will depend on the specific facts of the case.

Highly complex estate: Inheritance tax payable, inheritance tax account, grant of probate and administration of the estate

The fee range below applies where:

  • The deceased was domiciled in England and Wales.
  • There is a valid will and its terms are clear.
  • All the assets are located in the UK or there are no more than two assets located overseas for which valuations have been obtained (or can easily be obtained).
  • The assets are easily identifiable.
  • Any lifetime gifts are not significant, or complex, and the information is readily available.
  • There is no more than one trust interest from which the deceased benefitted during their lifetime.
  • The deceased held no more than six bank accounts.
  • The deceased held no more than two portfolios of quoted investments held via investment managers, or there are no more than five certificated shareholdings.
  • There are no more than two properties held in the estate (NB. fee range does not include fees for sale, or transfer, of the properties which are charged separately).
  • The deceased held an interest in no more than one private company, or partnership.
  • All the beneficiaries can be easily identified.
  • There are no more than eight legacies which are given outright.
  • There are no more than six residuary beneficiaries.
  • There is no dispute in relation to the distribution of the estate or claims against the estate.
  • Inheritance tax is payable with a full inheritance tax account required.
  • Any questions raised by HMRC as to values or the reliefs claimed are easy to resolve and negotiations are neither complicated nor protracted.

The charges for an estate of this type are estimated to be between £15,000 and £25,000 plus VAT (at 20% where applicable) and disbursements but the actual charges will depend on the specific facts of the case.

Factors Making A Probate Matter More Complex (by way of example only):

The following factors will have a bearing on costs and the likely impact on fees will be discussed with you at the outset:

  • Gifts made by the deceased:
    • which are complex or require investigation.
    • in which the deceased retained a benefit during their lifetime.
    • which are transfers by the deceased into trusts.
    • claims for gifts made as normal expenditure out of the deceased’s income.
  • If the deceased held interests in more than one private company, or partnership, or the structures or interests are complex in nature.
  • The deceased held other business or agricultural property.
  • The deceased held commercial property.
  • The deceased benefitted from more than one trust at the date of death.
  • The deceased had multiple assets overseas, a foreign will and/or liaising with foreign advisers is required.
  • The deceased had life insurance which was held in trust, or private pension arrangements.
  • There are more than five certificated shareholdings.
  • Negotiations with HMRC as to valuations or relief claims are protracted or technical.
  • Residue provisions in the will or ongoing trusts are complicated.
  • Where the estate is intestate.
  • Where a variation or redirection of a beneficiary’s share in the estate is required.
  • Where deceased died domiciled outside England and Wales.

Potential additional costs

Disbursements to be paid by us and charged to you:

  • HM Courts Service probate application fee - £273.
  • Statutory advertisements for unknown creditors – advertisements in the London Gazette and local publication – typically £200 - £300.
  • Bankruptcy charges for beneficiaries/legatees - £2 per search.
  • Land Registry search fees – £3 per property or title.
  • Financial asset search – typically £250 - £300 (plus VAT at 20% where applicable), if required.
  • Bank charges – variable, depending on nature of transaction.

Other charges which may be payable as part of the administration (paid out of the estate):

  • Probate valuations of property, personal effects/chattels, shareholdings, company/partnership interests – fees (which may include VAT at 20% where applicable) to be agreed with PRs prior to third party instructions.
  • Inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax - for the deceased or the PRs.
  • Accountancy fees for tax compliance to the date of death (if required) and the PRs’ tax returns for the administration period - fees (which may include VAT at 20% where applicable) to be agreed with PRs prior to accountant’s engagement.
  • Conveyancing fees for sale or transfer of an interest in property – fees (which may include VAT at 20% where applicable) to be agreed with PRs.

How long will the probate process take?

The timescale for obtaining the grant and dealing with the administration of the estate depends on the factors of the case (and whether there is property to be sold/transferred) and the current operating timeframes for HMRC and the Probate Registry but the following are guidelines:

Simple estate:

  • 2-4 weeks to collate the information for the grant from instruction
  • 8-10 weeks to obtain the grant (subject to current timescales at the Probate Registry)
  • 4-8 weeks to deal with the administration of the estate

Total: 14 – 22 weeks


Medium complex estate:

  • 4-8 weeks to collate the information for the inheritance tax account and grant
  • 8-10 weeks to obtain the grant (based on to current timescales at HMRC and the Probate Registry)
  • 10-16 weeks to deal with the administration of the estate

Total: 4-8 months

Highly complex estate:

  • 6-12 weeks to collate the information for the inheritance tax account and grant
  • 8-10 weeks to obtain the grant (based on to current timescales at HMRC and the Probate Registry)
  • 12-26 weeks to deal with the administration of the estate (based on to any negotiations with HMRC)

Total: at least 6-12 months

Our team

Details of our team, and each solicitor’s experience, are available here. 

Complaints

We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service. If you are not happy about any aspect of our service, we would like to hear about it.

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