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Our charges for estate administration services

What is Estate Administration?

Estate administration is the process of distributing the estate of a person who has died. The estate is the value of all their assets, less money that they owed (e.g. mortgages, inheritance tax).

This requires obtaining from the Probate Registry a ‘Grant of Representation’ once all assets and liabilities have been valued, and then distributing the net estate to those persons entitled to receive it. Where a Will was made by the deceased, the beneficiaries of the estate will be named in the Will. Where no Will was made, the distribution is in accordance with legal rules that apply to intestacy (when someone dies without making a Will).

Our service for obtaining the Grant of Representation only

If you wish to deal with the estate administration yourself, we can offer a Grant Only Service to help you apply for a Grant of Representation to the Probate Registry.

This service is limited to us dealing with the following:

  • an Inheritance Tax Return based on the financial information you provide to us;
  • a Statement of Truth for Personal Representatives; and
  • an application on your behalf to the Probate Registry

You will need to pay a Court Fee of £155.00 when we apply for the Grant, together with a sum of £1.50 for each copy of the Grant that is required.

If no inheritance tax is payable on the estate, our charges for the Grant only service are £500.00 plus VAT.

If the estate is subject to inheritance tax, we would need to complete a longer Inheritance Tax Return, and our charges for the Grant only service are £1,000.00 plus VAT.

How much does the full Estate Administration service cost?

These differ according to whether or not we prepared the Will on behalf of the deceased.

Full Estate Administration charges where we prepared the Will

Where we prepared the Will on behalf of the deceased, we quote a fixed fee, based on whether or not the estate is subject to inheritance tax and the number of each of the following:

  • Personal representatives (called executors where there was a Will and administrators where no Will was made)
  • Legatees (recipients of specific cash or other gifts made by the Will)
  • Residuary beneficiaries (persons who receive the balance of the estate after payment of legacies and liabilities of the deceased)
  • Assets of the deceased
  • Shareholdings of the deceased
  • Liabilities of the deceased
  • Properties owned or part owned by the deceased
  • Mortgages
  • Codicils (amendments made to a Will in a separate document)
  • Personal representatives who decided not to proceed with their duties

We find that this method fairly reflects the amount of work to be undertaken, but obviously makes it difficult to publish precise fixed fees that would apply to every estate, but to help you understand what the fees might be in practice, here are three examples of typical estates and our charges, to which VAT at the prevailing rate would be added:

Examples

Example 1

  • 1 personal representative
  • 1 residuary beneficiary
  • 2 assets
  • 2 liabilities
  • No property

Our charges: £1,500.00 plus VAT and disbursements

Example 2

  • 2 personal representatives
  • 2 residuary beneficiaries
  • 5 assets
  • 20 liabilities
  • 1 property
  • 1 mortgage

Our charges: £2,700.00 plus VAT and disbursements (See Disbursements below for an explanation)

Example 3

  • 2 personal representatives
  • 4 legacies
  • 6 residuary beneficiaries
  • 10 assets
  • 10 shareholdings
  • 20 liabilities
  • 2 properties
  • 2 mortgages

Our charges: £4,300.00 plus VAT and disbursements

Where the estate is liable to inheritance tax, we charge an additional £500 plus VAT for the inheritance tax calculations, obtaining the certificate from HMRC and producing the IHT forms and filing them with HMRC.

Conveyancing

If you decide to sell a property included in the estate, or transfer it to a beneficiary under the Will, we will quote separately for the Conveyancing of the property.

Estate administration charges where we did not prepare the Will

Where we did not prepare the Will, our charges are up to 1.99% of the gross value of the estate (i.e. the value of all assets in the estate, without taking into account money owed and other liabilities of the deceased). VAT is added to this fee, at the rate prevailing at the time, which is currently 20%.

Disbursements

In addition to these fees (whether or not we prepared the Will for the deceased), we may have to pay expenses on your behalf, called ‘disbursements’. These typically include:

  • Probate Registry fee of £155.00 and £1.50 for each sealed copy of the grant
  • Bankruptcy searches against the name of the deceased and each beneficiary (£2.00 per person).
  • £200 (approximately) Posts in The London Gazette and a local newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors and unexpected claims. This is an approximate figure, because fees vary by region and newspaper.

The need for other disbursements can arise, such as searching a national Will Register where it is thought that a Will might have been made, but has not been found, or a search by a specialist company for assets for which no papers can be found.

What is included in our service?

Regardless of whether or not we prepared the Will for the deceased, our services include:

  • Providing you with a dedicated team, headed by an experienced solicitor or legal executive to handle your case
  • Identifying the legally appointed personal representatives and beneficiaries
  • Accurately identifying the type of application to be made to the Probate Registry
  • Notifying all creditors and utility providers and liaising re sale of property and final accounts due
  • Carrying out dormant asset searches as required
  • Liaising with property lawyers regarding conveyancing of the deceased’s property, including valuations of property and contents and arranging house clearance, meter readings and final accounts
  • Corresponding with H M Inspector of Taxes regarding tax affairs to date of death
  • Conducting all bankruptcy searches
  • Attending to funeral account, including pre-Grant release of funds from bank account
  • Corresponding with creditors of the estate
  • Notifying legatees of their legacies
  • Notifying residuary beneficiaries of their interests
  • Obtaining share and other asset valuations
  • Obtaining the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Drafting Statement of Truth for your signature
  • Making the application to the Probate Registry on your behalf
  • Obtaining the Grant of Representation and sending a sealed copy to you
  • Collecting and distributing all assets in the estate
  • Entering Statutory Notices to Creditors in both the London Gazette and a local newspaper where required
  • Preparing inheritance tax return forms for Capital Taxes Office – either a full form account or a summary account depending upon whether the estate is chargeable to inheritance tax and treated as an excepted estate
  • Dealing with non-proving executors and renunciation of probate where required
  • Corresponding and liaising with the Probate Registry and obtaining preliminary approval of the Probate application papers if desired
  • Instructing accountant on behalf of the estate where required
  • Making interim payments
  • Paying legacies
  • Paying liabilities and administration expenses, including utilities
  • Preparing estate accounts
  • Paying residuary beneficiaries
  • Paying all taxes due
  • Producing income tax certificates where required
  • Obtaining Clearance Certificate from Capital Taxes Office, where required
  • Lodging Corrective Account with Capital Taxes Office, where required
  • Updating Executors and beneficiaries throughout as to procedure

All of the above fees relate to estates where all assets are held within the UK and where the Will or intestacy is not contested by anyone. We will quote for cases falling outside these parameters on a case by case basis.

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 6-12 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate can take up to 12 weeks but may be quicker for a simple estate. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 2-4 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-4 weeks. We then make sure all HMRC requirements have been met and then proceed to wind up the estate.