Our pricing for estate administration
Our charges in respect of estate administration will be based upon the following elements which are in accordance with the Law Society’s guidelines for work of this type, namely:-
- Time spent on the matter
- Value element.
1. Time spent on the matter
We will charge for the time that we spend on the matter. Our charging rates range from £215.00 per hour to £260.00 per hour plus VAT depending on the experience of the solicitor that deals with your matter. For details of our solicitors please see our Private Client Department page. Our charging rates are reviewed annually and we will advise you if they change during the progress of your matter. Our firm operates a computerised time recording system which accurately records time spent on each matter. Charges are made in six minute units with a minimum of one unit per charging event eg a letter or telephone call. Similar charging systems are operated by most firms of solicitors throughout the country and they are usually approved by the courts for taxation purposes.
2. Value element
In addition to charging for the time we work on the matter, our charges may also include a value element if the circumstances justify it.
Where a solicitor is acting as an executor (either solely or jointly with another person), the Law Society guidelines suggest the following percentage value formula:-
Value of gross estate less residence 1.5%
Value of residence 0.75%
Where a solicitor is not acting as an executor, the Law Society guidelines suggest the following percentage value formula:-
Value of gross estate less residence 1%
Value of residence 0.5%
A decision on the value element will be made in the course of your matter.
Our general price ranges for work of this type including applying for the grant, collecting in the assets, paying off the liabilities and in due course distributing the estate to the beneficiaries is as follows:-
- Simple case: £3,000 to £7,500 (excluding VAT, disbursements and conveyancing costs)*
- Medium complexity case: £7,500 to £25,000 (excluding VAT, disbursements and conveyancing costs)
- High complexity case: £25,000 to £50,000 (excluding VAT, disbursements and conveyancing costs)
*but we reserve the right to apply a lower fee if the circumstances of a particular case justify it
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary, no property, but some bank or building accounts, then costs will be at the lower end of the range.
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the above estimates.
We will handle the full process for you.
A simple case estate is where:-
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 10 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are up to 10 beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
- There is no Inheritance Tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full Inheritance Tax account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
For medium complexity case estates and high complexity case estates the following items may mean that the matter falls within one of those categories:-
- Inheritance Tax will be payable and a full Inheritance Tax account to HMRC will be required
- There is no valid Will
- There is more than one property
- There are more than 10 bank or building society accounts
- There are other intangible assets
- There is a share portfolio or other stocks and shares
- There are foreign assets
- There are business assets
- There are farm assets
- There are company assets
- The deceased made lifetime gifts
- The deceased was the beneficiary of a trust which needs to be added to the value of their estate for Inheritance Tax purposes
- Business Property Relief or Agricultural Property Relief or Heritage Exemption or Woodlands Relief may be claimable
- There is a dispute between beneficiaries on division of assets
- There are claims made against the estate
Disbursements not included in our fees:-
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £1.50 for each copy of the grant required
- £5 Swearing of the oath (per executor) plus £2 per exhibit
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
- £282 (including agent’s fee) for Statutory Notices in The London Gazette and a local newspaper to Ipswich – Protects Personal Representatives against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. Notices in other localities will incur an additional charge
- Unclaimed Assets Register search – £25
- Valuation fees for property, share portfolios, chattels and other assets will incur additional charges depending on the valuer you ask us to instruct
- HMLR search fees from £3 per Land Registry title
- Accountants’ fees, stockbrokers’ fees, Counsel’s fees and other professional fees may be incurred and you will be advised if this is the case in your matter
- All conveyancing costs and disbursements
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Stages of the process
- Taking your instructions in person and advising as to the position and confirming that advice in writing
- Writing to banks, building societies, pension companies etc in order to obtain the details of the information required to prepare the probate papers
- Instructing valuers as necessary for property, chattels, share portfolios and other assets as necessary
- Receiving information in from the various letters sent
- Preparing an executors or administrators oath
- Preparation of Inheritance Tax form as applicable to your case
- Going through the probate papers with you and advising in connection with Inheritance Tax (“IHT”) if relevant to your matter
- Arranging for the IHT to be raised and subsequently writing to HM Revenue & Customs re IHT
- Application to Probate Registry for Grant of Representation
- Dealing with any requisitions raised by the Probate Registry or HMRC upon your instructions
- Receiving Grant of Representation
- Writing to banks, building societies, pension companies etc
- Writing to stockbrokers and other financial organisations in order to collect in the assets upon your instructions
- Receiving assets into the estate and paying off liabilities as necessary including IHT
- Dealing with estate agents, stockbrokers, valuers etc with regard to property or portfolio of shares or chattels etc
- Instructing agents to place Statutory Notices in The London Gazette and a local paper
- Carrying out bankruptcy searches regarding beneficiaries upon your instructions
- Liaising with HMRC in connection with Income Tax matters and liaising with accountants as necessary
- Dealing with any loss relief claims with HMRC re IHT as necessary
- Subject to paying off the liabilities, Statutory Notices expiring and receiving clearance re IHT and on Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax matters, arranging for the estate to be distributed
- Writing to any legatees to settle their legacies upon your instructions
- Preparing final Estate Accounts and arranging for the executors and beneficiaries to approve these prior to distributing the estate
- Keeping you updated throughout
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within the simple case estate range are dealt with within 12 months.
On average, estates that fall within the medium complexity case estate range are dealt with within 12-36 months.
On average, estates that fall within the high complexity case estate range are dealt with within 36-48 months.
All these timescales are examples only and are often dependent on responses from third parties such as HM Land Registry, HM Revenue & Customs, all of which are beyond our control.
Typically, obtaining the grant of probate for a simple estate case may take 2-6 months. Obtaining a grant for a medium complexity estate case may typically take 4-6 months and for a high complexity estate case 6-12 months. Collecting assets then follows which can take between 4-12 weeks. Once this has been done then the estate can be distributed as long as all other matters have been completed and this should be within the timeframe shown above and if it is any different the fee earner dealing with the matter will confirm this to you.