Estate Administration cost information
We understand that our clients would like an idea of our costs to obtain a Grant of Representation and administer an Estate at the earliest opportunity. We believe it is important to be as clear as possible as to the likely costs from the outset of the matter. However, we also recognise that each Estate is different and can vary in complexity. In light of this, it will be necessary for a member of our team to speak with you to establish a number of facts, including:-
- The family history or circumstances;
- The number and type of assets, liabilities, debts and income belonging to the deceased;
- Whether the Estate is taxable;
- Whether or not the Deceased left a Will;
- Whether the Will sets up a Trust or the deceased created or benefited from Trusts during their lifetime;
- Whether any element of the deceased’s affairs are contested;
- Whether there are foreign assets or liabilities; and
- Whether a Deed of Variation is required.
We charge on a time-spent basis, which means that our cost estimate can evolve as the matter progresses. We attempt to anticipate the costs based on the information that we are given at the outset of the matter, but it is often the case that situations arise during the course of the administration process, which are likely to be outside our initial estimate of costs. In the event it becomes apparent that more work is required than originally anticipated, resulting in potential costs outside our initial estimate, we will seek instructions to proceed at the earliest opportunity.
In order to tailor our services to each client and Estate, we offer to assist with the full administration process, or just as much as you require. For example, we offer a fixed fee interview for a one-off discussion about your matter and the options available to you (£100.00 plus VAT), ad hoc on-going advice (charged on an hourly rate basis) and a grant only service (see ‘Our Estimate of Costs’ below).
Our Department’s Hourly rates
Team Member Qualification Hourly rate Dhruva Patel Partner and Head of Department £275.00 plus VAT Iain Reed Partner £250.00 plus VAT Anthony Kalp Solicitor £260.00 plus VAT Lisa Maley Solicitor £250.00 plus VAT Joanna Fildes Solicitor £200.00 plus VAT Sohret Haffenden Solicitor £200.00 plus VAT
Our Estimate of Costs
To give you an idea of what we might expect our costs to be for administering an average, simple and straightforward Estate, we can give you the following information.
We anticipate it will take approximately 10 to 18 hours work to obtain the Grant of Representation, which amounts to between £1,900.00 and £4,500.00 plus VAT and approximately 10 to 14 hours to administer the Estate, which amounts to between £1,900.00 and £3,500.00 plus VAT. Therefore, we estimate that the total cost will be between £3,800.00 and £8,000.00 plus VAT. Our costs may be lower or higher, depending on what the Estate comprises of and the level of work you would like us to carry out for you.
We will conduct the following work within this estimate:
- Notification of death to organisations:-
- with which the deceased held an asset;
- received services from;
- owed a debt to; or
- was in receipt of income from;
- Ascertaining the extent of the Estate (including jointly owned assets);
- Obtaining date of death valuations and determining the total value of the Estate;
- Preparing and submitting the relevant Inheritance Tax Return Forms and Schedules;
- Arranging payment of the Inheritance Tax due;
- Preparing the Oath or Statement of Truth and applying for the Grant of Representation;
- Closing any accounts and obtaining the closing balances and/or arranging the sale of investments;
- Settling liabilities and debts owed by the Estate;
- Drafting Estate Accounts showing the financial position during the Estate’s administration;
- Preparing and submitting Income and Capital Gains Tax Return Forms for the administration period;
- Obtaining clearance from HM Revenue & Customs in respect of Inheritance, Income and Capital Gains Taxes; and
- Arranging distribution of the Estate in accordance with the terms of the Will or rules of intestacy.
There are a number of different circumstances that affect our estimated costs. We have identified some of those that will increase the time required to be spent on administering the Estate, and therefore potentially increase our fees:-
- There is no valid Will or the Will is contested;
- Registering the death and arranging the funeral service;
- Beneficiaries needing to be traced and located;
- There are existing disputes between the executors and the beneficiaries;
- There is more than one property to deal with;
- The Estate includes share holdings (stocks and bonds);
- There are intangible or foreign assets;
- There are more than 5 residuary beneficiaries and/or 10 legatees;
- There are disputes between beneficiaries on division or ownership of assets;
- There are lifetime gifts to be declared to HM Revenue & Customs for Inheritance Tax purposes;
- Claiming Business Property or Agricultural Relief for Inheritance Tax purposes;
- Claiming loss on the sale of shares or property during the administration period;
- There are unexpected requirements from asset holding organisations to release funds or proceeds;
- Inheritance Tax must be paid from several different accounts or investments; and
- Dealing with associated Trusts and/or Trusts created by the Will.
Potential additional costs
During the administration process circumstances may arise where we need to refer to other departments of the firm for their specialist advice. Examples of such circumstances include:-
- Where a claim is made against the Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“1975 Act”), the executor is required to act in a neutral capacity – if you would like our firm to act on behalf of the executors in litigation proceedings, this will be dealt with by our Dispute Resolution department;
- Where a claim is made as to the validity of the Will – if you would like our firm to act on behalf of the executors in litigation proceedings, this will be dealt with by our Dispute Resolution department also; and
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the Estate – if you wish our firm to act on behalf of the executors in the conveyancing, this will be dealt with by our Property department.
Disbursements (not included in our fee)
Disbursements are the costs arising which are payable to third parties, some of which are mandatory and others are optional. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process and to protect your interests.
- Mandatory Disbursements
- Probate application fee – (currently) £155.00 plus 50p for each additional sealed copy which are required in order to close accounts and sell investments; and
- Swear fee for the Oath and Will (and any codicils) which each of the executors will need to make – £5.00 plus £2.00 for the Will and each codicil exhibited.
- Optional Disbursements
- Certainty Will search fees – A search of the National Will Database to help ascertain whether or not the deceased person made a Will or later Will and stored it with another firm of solicitors. There are three types of searches which vary in price ranging between £45.60 and £238.80 and offer different services, depending on your requirements;
- Bankruptcy searches for the deceased, individual legatees and residuary beneficiaries to protect against a Trustee in Bankruptcy making a claim against the Estate – £2.00 per UK search and varies for international searches;
- Trustee Act Notice in The London Gazette and local newspaper requiring any claimants and creditors to come forward. This Notice limits and protects the personal representatives from unexpected claims from unknown creditors or claimants and costs approximately £250.00 (including VAT); and
- Shareholder Registrar administration fees or stockbroker costs to sell shares (vary depending on the Registrar/stockbroker requirements)
On average, we estimate it will take between 12 – 18 months to administer a simple and straightforward Estate from start to finish. Typically, it takes between 3 to 6 months to obtain the Grant of Representation and a further 6 to 12 months to finalise the administration process which includes collecting assets, paying liabilities and debts, accounting to HM Revenue & Customs for Income and Capital Gains Tax and distribution.
These timescales take into account our advice to executors to wait for 10 months after the date of the Grant of Representation before the Estate is distributed. This advice allows for the period in which any claims against the Estate under the 1975 Act must be made. The 1975 Act provides that claims must be made within 6 months of the date of the Grant, and it is considered best practice to wait 10 months to allow time for any claims filed at court but unserved on the executors.
If an executor is the sole residuary beneficiary or the executors consider the risk of a claim being made against the Estate minimal, they may decide to proceed with distribution of the Estate sooner than 10 months after the date of the Grant of Representation, as advised by us. In this case we would anticipate the administration to be finalised within 12 months of the date of death.
It is possible, in some circumstances, that the administration of the Estate can be completed sooner than 12 months after the date of death. However, in the event that unexpected complications arise, it may take longer than the estimated timescales given above. Either way, we recognise that it is important to our clients that they are kept informed of our continual progress. We endeavour to update time scales as it becomes apparent that our initial estimates may change.