Administration of an Estate Costs

Each estate is unique

As with every individual, each estate to be administered is unique. The amount of work depends on a number of factors, such as whether or not there is a Will, the number, nature and location of assets and liabilities, and also the number and location of beneficiaries.

We take into account whether or not the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax, the domicile of the deceased, whether there are any business or agricultural interests and/or foreign considerations, whether there are any contentious elements, if there have been lifetime gifts, as well as whether any trusts arise under the Will or intestacy provisions.

If there are any problems with the Will such as;

  • Questions about the capacity of the person who made it
  • Issues with the signing
  • Whether a Will is the last one made 
  • If people have been left out that might have been expected to be mentioned

These are likely to significantly increase the amount of work needed. Likewise, if there is no Will and investigations have to be made about the deceased’s family and who the rightful beneficiaries are under the rules of intestacy.

What is involved?

For a clearer understanding of the work required to administer an estate, please refer to our ‘Stages of Estate Administration’ Guide.

The help you need

We can offer a full administration service as well as provide as much or as little help and support as you need. For example, you may be happy to collect all the information in Stage 1 (shown in the Stages of Administration Guide above) yourself and just ask us to help with the Inheritance Tax forms and application for the Grant.

Our charging structure

The number of variables and therefore amount of work will affect our fees. Whereas some other law firms and estate administration companies charge a percentage of the estate, often in addition to the amount of time they spend, we believe that this is not an accurate, or fair, way of charging. 

Likewise, those that offer fixed fees may often have to over-charge to cover contingencies, or effectively “cut corners” or use unqualified and poorly supervised staff to make the work more profitable. Consequently, our estimates are calculated on a time spent basis.

Our specialist team of solicitors

We benefit from having a broad range of experienced and qualified lawyers within the team who charge their time at a range of different rates. Click here to view the current rates for our Wills, Trusts and Probate team.

Initial “no obligation” meeting

We offer an initial “no obligation” meeting over the phone. This means we can gather enough initial information to provide an estimate and guidance on the level and detail of work that may be required. If we are instructed to proceed, the time spent in that meeting will be included in the costs charged to the estate.

Our estimates

Below are some examples of what our charges might be to deal with the collection and distribution of money, property and other assets (where everything is in England and Wales and there are no contentious matters). These are purely indicative and at a mid-level charge out rate of £240.00 (£288.00 incl VAT). All our charges are plus VAT at 20%.

A case-specific estimate can be obtained by contacting us and having a no-obligation discussion, as outlined above.

  • A simple estate administration, which is not subject to Inheritance Tax (such as a property, a couple of bank accounts and one beneficiary) might take 15 – 25 hours, so £3,600.00 – £6,000.00 plus VAT (£4,320.00 – £7,200.00 incl VAT).
  • A more complex estate administration, which is not subject to Inheritance Tax (e.g. where a full report is required to HMRC, but no tax due) might take 25 – 35 hours, so £6,000.00 – £8,400.00 plus VAT (£7,200.00 – £10,080.00 incl VAT).
  • A complex estate, which is subject to Inheritance Tax, and has numerous assets and several beneficiaries might take 35 – 45 hours, so £8,400.00 – £10,800.00 plus VAT (£10,080.00 – £12.960.00 incl VAT).

While we try to provide an accurate estimate at the outset, it is not always possible to foresee every single eventuality and so our estimates may need to be revised as the matter progresses further.

There may be a requirement for additional information from certain companies, missing documentation (e.g. share certificates), government department enquiries (especially regarding Inheritance Tax), property sales falling through, family disputes which arise during the administration period, claims against the estate, debts and/or gifts the family are unaware of and time spent dealing with enquiries from the executor and beneficiaries over and above what is usually expected.

Other costs

We often have to pay fees to other organisations such as the Probate or Land Registry (a few of the most common examples are shown below), these are due from the estate and are in addition to our charges.

  • Land Registry Office Copies of titles to property (per title) – £3.00 + VAT at 20% (£3.60 incl VAT)
  • Probate Court Costs – £155.00 
  • Copies of the Grant – £1.50p per copy
  • Notice inviting creditors to come forward (estimate only and not always necessary) – from £100.00
  • Bankruptcy Searches of Executors and Beneficiaries – £2.00 plus VAT at 20% per search (£2.40 incl VAT)

If a property is sold or transferred you may require the services of our Property department and if so, they will provide a separate costs estimate.

Adding value to you and future generations

We aim to add value by advising beneficiaries about the opportunities for their own tax or estate planning. These costs would be in addition to the estate administration charges.

Get in touch with a specialist solicitor

For more help, advice and guidance on our Administration of an Estate costs, get in touch with one of our expert solicitors and make an enquiry or call us on 01202 525333.

Our Experts

Carla Brown

Partner, Solicitor and Head of Wills, Trusts & Probate

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Andy Kirby

Private Client Consultant

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Chris Pemberton


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Richard Smith

Partner & Solicitor

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Rebecca Suthers

Senior Associate & Chartered Legal Executive

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Nicola Hall

Associate Solicitor

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Marie Pethen

Associate & Private Client Executive

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Katy Sewell

Associate Solicitor

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Paul Naser

Consultant Solicitor

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Rosemary Drew

Chartered Legal Executive

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Rose-Marie Stone


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Florence Newton


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Louise Sutton

Chartered Legal Executive

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Jo Tout

Associate & Probate Executive

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Diane Vincent

Chartered Legal Executive

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Samantha Barratt-Habgood

Legal Assistant

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Corinne Bowerman-Watson

Wills, Trusts & Probate Assistant

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Jennifer Dinsdale

Chartered Legal Executive

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Emma Fidler


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Kim Houston


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Samantha Laird

Personal Assistant

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Amanda Vanson


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Harry Brooks

Legal Placement

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Howard Hasan

Legal Placement

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Jessica Khelifi


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Here to help

Our specialist teams can provide full service legal advice and assistance, providing practical and cost-effective solutions.

Our offices

302 Charminster Road Bournemouth Dorset BH8 9RU
01202 525333 Contact
Office 320 107 – 111 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AB
02039 784720 Contact
14a Haven RoadCanford Cliffs, Poole Dorset BH13 7LP
01202 709898 Contact
Monmouth Court Southampton Road, Ringwood Hampshire BH24 1HE
01425 484848 Contact
55 High Street Swanage Dorset BH19 2LT
01929 422233 Contact
39a East Street Wimborne Dorset BH21 1DX
01202 057676 Contact