Our fee for Administering an Estate

 When someone dies the assets they have accumulated in their lifetime are generally known as their estate.  This can consist of property, savings, investments, share-holdings, entitlement from insurance policies, etc.   As a result of this, it is difficult to know what steps may need to be taken in administering an estate, but to assist our clients we are setting out below a guide based on certain assumptions drawn from our experience in administering the estates of our clients over many years of practice.

The exact cost will largely depend on the individual set of circumstances, for example, the number of assets and beneficiaries, or if there are Trust provisions that have been incorporated to protect vulnerable beneficiaries.  Generally, the more complex the estate, the greater number of beneficiaries, the more expensive the estate will be to administer.

As experienced practitioners in this type of work we will be able to handle the whole process for you, no matter how large or small the estate and whether the estate creates an Inheritance Tax liability, or indeed if there are other tax considerations, such as Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.

We would anticipate it would take between 10.5 and 21.5 hours based on the hourly rate of the fee earner working on the file as shown below.  The total estimated cost would be between £1,700 – £3,700 (plus VAT) at the then current hourly rate.  The exact costs within this range will be dependent upon the circumstances of the estate being administered.  For example, if there is one beneficiary, one bank account and no property, costs are likely to be at the lower end of the cost estimate above, but if there are four beneficiaries, four bank accounts and one property, the costs are likely to be at the higher end of the cost estimate above.

Our present hourly rates are as follows:-

  • Partner £210 plus VAT
  • Solicitor/Legal Executive £190 plus VAT
  • Paralegal/Legal Assistant  £100 plus VAT

In addition to our fees there will be certain other payments or expenses to pay as follows:

  • Probate Application fee – £155 plus £1.50 for each additional office copy of the Grant of Probate which may be required to administer the estate. In addition, you may choose to obtain a sealed copy of the Will for £1.50.
  • Bankruptcy Search at the Land Charges Department at £2 plus VAT per beneficiary for those resident in the UK.
  • Advertisement in the London Gazette and a local newspaper to help protect Executors against unexpected claims approximately £140 (newspaper dependent).
  • Certainty Will Search each at £95 plus VAT
  • Search of the Unclaimed Asset Registry at £25 including VAT per search

The above expenses are usually paid as part of the administration of the estate from the assets in the estate and we will deal with this on your behalf.

Please note that the guide above is only for an estate where we have made the following assumptions:

  • There is a valid Will.
  • There is only one property, usually the deceased’s dwelling.
  • There are no more than 3-4 Bank or Building Society accounts.
  • There are no other savings, investments or insurances.
  • There are no more than 3-4 beneficiaries.
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of the estate and all beneficiaries can be easily identified/located.
  • There is no Inheritance Tax payable and the Executors do not need to submit a full account to HM Revenue & Customs.
  • There are no claims made against the estate.

 Some of the circumstances where additional costs will be incurred: 

  • If the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax, or reliefs and/or exemptions are required to be claimed in order to mitigate any inheritance tax liability.
  • If the Will includes multiple beneficiaries, beneficiaries based overseas or beneficiaries that are difficult/unable to be located.
  • If the estate includes multiple assets, shareholdings, and/or a large share portfolio, more than one property, agricultural property (land or assets), business property (land or assets), trust interests, non-residential property, foreign property and or savings or there have been large gifts made in the seven years before death.
  • If there are issues with the Will i.e. the Will appoints Executors who are deceased, the Will is unclear as to its terms, there is a partial intestacy (the residue is left to someone who has died and no provision has been made for a substitute beneficiary)

We can give you a more accurate quote once we have seen a copy of the Will and have more information regarding the details of the assets and liabilities held in the estate.

Where there are properties in the estate, the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in our fee.  A separate quote can be provided from our Property Department which we will obtain for you.

Where a Will contains Trust provisions whereby a Trust is required to be set up and registered with HMRC the cost of this will be in addition to our fee and a more accurate quote can be given in these circumstances.

Our fee for obtaining a Grant of Probate only

If we are instructed to obtain a Grant of Probate only based on the required information being provided by the Executors and not deal with the administration of the estate after the Grant of Probate has been issued, leaving this to be dealt with direct by the Executors then our fees will be less.

Generally speaking, obtaining a Grant of Probate only, thereafter allowing the Executors to call in the assets, meet the liabilities of the estate and distribute the assets in accordance with the Will, our fees would start from £600 plus VAT.

Where there is no Will

Where someone dies without a valid Will the administration of the estate can be more complex, particularly if beneficiaries need to be traced and these include extended family.  Again, we can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information regarding the details of the deceased, any known family and the assets and liabilities in the estate.

How long does it take to administer an estate? 

Typically obtaining a Grant of Probate takes eight to ten weeks.  However, this depends on the time taken at the start of the matter to complete the initial enquiries into the assets of the estate in order to put together the application for probate.  Once the application is submitted to the Probate Registry, the Grant of Probate is usually issued within five to six weeks.  Calling in the assets following obtaining the Grant (excluding any property sale) can take between four to six weeks.  Once this has been done and all the liabilities of the estate settled the Executors and the residuary beneficiaries will be provided with estate accounts to approve prior to distributing the assets in the estate in accordance with the Will.  This normally takes between four to eight weeks.  However, in Law there are timescales that the Executors may choose to comply with to protect the estate and themselves from a claim which can affect the timescales as advised above.  We can advise you about this, if appropriate.

Who will act on my behalf? 

There are currently a number people in our Private Client Department that may undertake this work for you. If you refer to the “Our Team” page on this website you can see details of their qualifications and experience. Our Partner, John Tomalin, works within our Private Client Department and supervises all work undertaken.