Administration of an Estate Prices
Each estate is unique
As with every individual, each estate to be administered is unique. The amount of work depends on 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 or 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 here.
The help you need
We can offer a full administration service or provide as much or as little help as you need. For example, you may be happy to collect all the information in Stage 1 shown in the Stages of Administration Guide 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 profitable. Consequently, our estimates are calculated on a time spent basis.
We benefit from having a broad range of experience and qualification of lawyers within the team who charge their time at different rates. You can see the current rates of our fee earners here.
Initial “no obligation” meeting
We offer an initial “no obligation” meeting. This means we can gather enough initial information to provide an estimate and guidance on what work 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.
Below are some illustrations 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 £220. 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 £3,500 – £5,500 plus 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 20 – 30 hours, so £4,500 - £6,500 plus VAT.
- A complex estate, which is subject to Inheritance Tax, and has numerous assets and several beneficiaries might take 30 – 40 hours, so £7,500- £9,500 plus VAT.
Whilst we try to provide an accurate estimate at the outset it is not always possible to foresee every eventuality and so our estimates may need to be revised as the matter progresses.
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.
We often have to pay fees to other organisations such as the Probate or Land Registry and 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 + VAT at 20%
- Oath swear fee for executors applying for Grant - £5 for the Oath plus £2 for each additional document referred to in the Oath
- Probate Court Costs - £155
- Copies of the Grant - 50p per copy
- Notice inviting creditors to come forward (estimate only and not always necessary) - from £100
- Bankruptcy Searches of Executors and Beneficiaries - £2 plus VAT at 20% per search
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.