Estate Administration Fees Explained
When someone dies, we can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf. We can also assist in administering the estate by collecting and distributing of assets and dealing with tax issues if and when they arise.
The Grant of Probate:
The executor of an estate is named in the Will of the deceased and is the person who has authority to deal with the assets of the estate. The Grant of Probate is the document obtained from the court to provide proof, to those who require it, of the authority. Not all companies or institutions will require a Grant of Probate.
Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets:
If Probate is required, we anticipate this will take between 20 and 40 hours work at the fee earners hourly rate plus VAT at 20%. Based on an hourly rate of £240 plus for the Partner and Head of Department the total costs estimated at £4,800 - £9,600 (+VAT at 20%). We have other members of the team whose hourly rates range from £190 to £240 plus vat per hour.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are no more than 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 account to HMRC
- There are no claims made against the estate
Disbursements in addition to this fee (where applicable VAT is included at 20%):
- Probate application fee of £155
- Sealed Copy Grant of Probate fees of £1.50 per copy.
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£3 per beneficiary)
- Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors and post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. These usually are £150-250.
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.
Potential additional costs could be:
- If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
- If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £1.50 (1 per asset usually).
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
The following is an example of the costs that might be incurred in the following scenario. All estates are different and the following can only be a broad guide as to what the fees and process might be.
John, the only executor named in his mother’s Will, has asked us to assist in obtaining the Grant of Probate. John and his brother Christopher are the only beneficiaries under the terms of their mother’s Will. Their mother was resident in a care home and her estate amounted to £300,000. The estate is made up of two bank accounts. She also had a pension with the Department for Work & Pensions and a private pension from her work. John has asked us to assist with the Inheritance Tax forms that are required and make the application to the Probate Registry in order to obtain the Grant of Probate. John has said that he will deal with the care home and the remaining personal items that their mother owned. John will deal with the estate once probate has been received.
How much does this service cost?
TOTAL: fixed fee of £3041 (incl. VAT and disbursements, see below).
This includes: obtaining the Grant of Probate.
Breakdown of costs:
Legal fees £2400
VAT on legal fees £480
Disbursements (£161 in total including four sealed copies of the Grant of Probate):
- Probate court fee of £155 +£1.50p for each additional sealed copy from the Court
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.
As part of our fixed fee in the above scenario we will:
- Provide John a dedicated and experienced specialist solicitor to work on the matter with a team supporting them
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Court application that will be required
- Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
- Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC Inheritance Tax forms
- Draft a legal oath for John to sign
- Make the application to the Probate Court on John’s behalf
- Obtain the Probate and securely send four copies to John.
When dealing with the administration of an estate we are often reliant on third parties to supply information and act in a timely fashion. However, to give some guidance, on average, applying for and obtaining a Grant of Probate in estates that fall within this range might typically take between 8-12 weeks. Having said that, if the matter is particularly pressing the process can be expedited.
Collecting and distributing assets:
If, once we had obtained the Grant of Probate, John asked us to continue assisting with the administration of the estate and to collect and distribute the assets, we would endeavour to provide John with a fixed fee for the work to be undertaken. At that stage, as we had been involved in applying for the Grant of Probate, we would have a better idea of the actual work that would be involved and would try to give John a fixed fee for the next stage of the administration.
Typically, as part of the fixed fee we would undertake the following steps for John:
- Write to the banks in order to close the accounts and collect the funds
- Write to the Pension Companies
- Publish the Statutory Advertisements (see below)
- Pay any outstanding liabilities
- Pay any administration expenses including outstanding disbursements
- Calculate any income tax payable during the course of the administration of the estate
- Draw up an account of the estate for the approval of John and Christopher
- Distribute the assets to John and Christopher and obtain receipts.
How much does this service cost?
TOTAL: fixed fee of £1989.40 (incl. VAT and disbursements).
This includes: administering the estate.
Breakdown of costs:
Legal fees £1500
VAT on legal fees £300
Disbursements £189.40 in total (depending on the cost of local advertisement):
- Bankruptcy – Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
- £83.40 including VAT to publish advertisements in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
- £102 including VAT to publish advertisements in a local newspaper – local newspapers do vary in the cost of their advertisements. The publication of advertisements in a local newspaper also helps to protect against unexpected claims.
Typically, collecting the assets of the estate can take between 6-8 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4-6 weeks. There are occasions when delay may be caused by third parties.
You will see, therefore, that the cost of the overall process from start to finish will be, in the above scenario, £4553.40. This includes the legal fees, and any additional expenses and VAT.
No two estates are the same. The above is intended to be a guide. There are numerous aspects to an estate which might increase the costs considerably. Typically they might be: if there is a portfolio of shares, more than one property, numerous gifts made in a Will or during the deceased’s lifetime, a number of executors or numerous outstanding liabilities and ongoing expenses. We are always very happy to provide information on costs in individual cases.
Fixed fee or estimate? Where matters are relatively straightforward and the amount of work that we are to undertake is clearly defined we are often able to provide a fixed fee. In more complicated cases it may be that we would work on an hourly basis. We would then give consideration to the number of hours that might be undertaken in a particular matter and provide a guide as to what the likely fees might be.
The estate administration team and their hourly rates, where applicable, are:
|Sonia Pym – Supervising Partner, Solicitor and Head of Private Client||£295.00*|
|Paula Marshall – Partner||£260.00*|
Lynn Murray is the ultimate Supervising Partner.
For more information regarding the individual members of the team please see the About Us section of our website.