Administration of Estates

We offer two levels of service for estate administration:

 Grant Only

Where the estate is very straightforward and you feel capable of taking on the liability of dealing with many of the legal aspects yourself then you may wish to use our Grant Only Service, where our involvement is limited to helping complete the paperwork to make the application to the court for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

Our Costs

In most cases we are able to offer a fixed fee of £850 plus VAT for this service.

However, additional charges will apply if it transpires that the estate does not qualify for the “excepted estates procedure” and a full inheritance tax return is required to be reported to HM Revenue & Customs.

Disbursements

Disbursements are payments for services which are necessary in the legal process, but which are not provided by us, for example court fees and specialist services. The following disbursements will also be payable:

  • Application fee for the Probate Registry which ranges from £155 to £165 and on average is £158

 Our ‘Grant Only’ service includes:

  • Advising you what information we require to complete the application to the Probate Court;
  • Completion of the excepted estates inheritance tax form;
  • Drafting the Statement of Truth for executors/administrators;
  • Arranging for you to sign the Statement of Truth and sign the inheritance tax forms;
  • Submitting the Grant application to the Probate Court;
  • Sending the ‘sealed copies’ of the Grant to you.

 Our ‘Grant Only’ service does not include:

  • Making enquiries about the deceased’s assets and affairs;
  • liaising with the relevant people/organisations to gather the information required for the inheritance tax return;
  • Any other part of the administration of the estate, such as:
    • Paying income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax;
    • the collection and distribution of money, property and other assets;
    • the preparation of estate accounts;
    • paying the beneficiaries named in the Will.

Procedure and Timescales

  • Once we have confirmation of your instructions, we will advise you what information you need to give us to allow us to prepare the paperwork.
  • When we have received all relevant information from you, we will prepare draft papers for your approval. This usually takes 3 to 4 weeks from receipt of all information we have requested.
  • When you have approved and signed the paperwork, we will send it to the Probate Registry within 2 working days of receipt.
  • The Probate Registry usually issue the Grant within 4 to 5 weeks of us sending the application to them.
  • We will check the Grant and send you the ‘sealed copies’ which you can then send out to the various banks and financial institutions.

We will also send you our bill at this stage.

 Full Administration of the Estate

Administering even a relatively straightforward estate can involve many hours’ work. If you are an executor or administrator of an estate and either do not have the time, or do not feel confident to undertake all of the necessary work, or if the estate if complex, then our Full Administration service will be more appropriate.

Our Costs

Our charges for full estate administration are based upon our hourly rate of £190 plus VAT. At the beginning of the matter we will give you an estimate of how many hours’ work we estimate is involved to complete the estate administration. It is very unlikely that we can fully administering an estate in fewer than 10 hours and so our charges will start at £1,900 plus VAT. This will be a for a very simple estate with a few bank accounts and investments, and no inheritance tax to pay.

Factors that can increase the time involved in administering the estate include (but are by no means limited to):

  • properties to sell;
  • UK shares;
  • offshore accounts or shares;
  • multiple investments and bank accounts;
  • several beneficiaries;
  • where there is no Will;
  • where the Will creates trusts;
  • where estates are subject to inheritance tax, capital gains tax or income tax issues;
  • where executors do not get along with each other.

A typical estate with one property to sell, a small portfolio of assets which includes a few bank accounts, some UK based shares, a small number of beneficiaries and inheritance tax to pay will typically take 25 to 50 hours to administer, costing £4,750 to £9,500 plus VAT and disbursements.

These are intended as an illustrative example and will vary depending on the particular circumstances.

Disbursements

Disbursements are payments for services which are necessary in the legal process, but which are not provided by us, for example court fees and specialist services. The following disbursements will also be payable:

  • Application fee for the Probate Registry which ranges from £155 to £165 and on average is £158;
  • Bankruptcy Search fees of £2 per person for each beneficiary;
  • Land Registry searches of £3 for each property;
  • Special delivery postage charges when posting the original Will of between £6.25 to £6.75 plus VAT each time;
  • Optional costs to protect executors, including:
    • advertisement notices on average of £250 including VAT;
    • search for additional financial assets at £135 plus VAT;
    • search for a Will at £90 plus VAT

 

Our ‘Full administration’ service includes:

  • Meeting with you to take your instructions;
  • Writing to and liaising with financial institutions, utilities providers, local council, Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC to obtain information to value the estate;
  • Completing the inheritance tax forms for your approval;
  • Drafting the Statement of Truth;
  • Arranging for you to sign the Statement of Truth and inheritance tax forms;
  • Submitting the inheritance tax return and arranging for the payment of any tax due;
  • Submitting the Grant application to the Probate Court;
  • Obtaining the Grant and registering it with all financial institutions;
  • Collecting money and property belonging to the estate;
  • Verifying the identity of beneficiaries;
  • Preparing accounts showing the transactions made by the estate;
  • Distributing the estate according to the terms of the Will.

 

Our ‘Full administration’ service does not include:

  • The sale or transfer of any property. However, we work very closely with our residential conveyancing colleagues who we can approach on your behalf to provide you with an estimate of for the costs of such sale or transfer.

 

Procedure and Timescales

It is not possible to give an exact timescale for the administration of an estate. There are many factors which may affect how long each stage takes. The following is intended as an illustrative example of a simple estate, which is likely to take 10 to 12 months to administer. Please be aware that this is not the precise time that it may take your particular estate to be concluded. A complex estate with a high value and a number of investments and properties to be sold or transferred can take significantly longer than this – sometime sup to 2 or 3 years.

  • Once we have confirmation of your instructions, we will write to the various financial institutions to gather the information we require. This can take up to 3 months;
  • We will then prepare the inheritance tax forms and Statement of Truth for your approval. That can take up to 1 month, as there may be outstanding items of information we require.
  • If inheritance tax is payable, we will send the completed tax return to HMRC, with the tax payment, and await a receipt. It can take 3 to 4 weeks for the receipt to come back from HMRC.
  • Once you have signed all of the appropriate forms we will send the application to the Probate Registry, who will take 4 to 5 weeks to issue the Grant.
  • When we receive the Grant, we will send it to the various institutions, collect in monies, sell or transfer any shares and investments and pay liabilities. Depending on the nature and location of the assets this can take up to two months. If there is a property or properties to sell, it is impossible to estimate how long this stage will take.
  • Once the assets have been realized, we will prepare accounts for your approval and distribute the estate. This usually takes another 4 to 6 weeks.

 

We will bill you during the course of the administration of the estate, usually monthly. We will usually be able to take our costs from estate funds which come to us.

Where we act as Executor

There may be occasions where the deceased has appointed us to act as executor, either solely or jointly with you. In line with our core principals of honesty and integrity we do not routinely advise people to appoint us as executor. However, there may be circumstances where the person making the Will wished to appoint us for a specific reason. We will have advised the person making the Will that this will mean an additional charge to their estate.

If we are appointed executor, we will discuss with you the options for proceeding. If we are to act as executor, then due to the increased responsibilities imposed upon personal representatives, we will charge a percentage of the gross value of the estate in addition to the charges set out above. The percentage is usually 1 to 1.5% of the gross value of the estate, depending upon the issues which arise. In practice this means that if an estate is worth £500,000, we will charge £5,000 to £7,500 on top of our fees as set out above.