Full Administration of the Estate
If you want the certainty that the whole estate be administered correctly and according to the law’s requirements, then our Full Administration service will be appropriate.
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 administer 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 valid Will, only one or two beneficiaries, no property to sell, a few bank accounts and investments, and no inheritance tax to pay.
A typical estate with a valid Will, a single property to sell, a small portfolio of assets which includes a few bank accounts and some UK based shares or investments and inheritance tax to pay will typically take between 25 and 50 hours to administer, costing between £4,750 and £9,500 plus VAT and disbursements.
Factors that will increase the time involved in administering a typical estate, and accordingly tend towards the higher end of these costs include (but are by no means limited to):
- More than one property to sell;
- Several UK shares;
- Multiple investments and bank accounts;
- Where there are several beneficiaries;
- Where estates are subject to inheritance tax, capital gains tax or income tax issues;
These are intended as an illustrative example and will vary depending on the particular circumstances. In estates where there is no Will or the Will creates tursts, there are offshore accounts or shares or the executors do not get along our charges are likely to be in excess of £10,000.
Disbursements are payments for services which are required for 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 £200 plus VAT;
- Search for additional financial assets at £135 plus VAT;
- Search for a Will at £95 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 Registry;
- 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 dealt with, 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 increased charge to their estate.
If we are appointed executor, we will discuss with you the options before proceeding. If we proceed to act as executor, then we would currently charge an hourly rate of £190 plus VAT for administering the estate. The larger or more complicated the estate, the more time we may spend on the matter. It is the firm’s rates at the time that we carry out any work for the estate that would apply.
Other matters to consider
Dealing with an estate often leads our clients to rethink their own affairs and we can help with that too. Should you wish to make (or revise) a Will or Power of Attorney, we would be happy to discuss this with you.