ADMINISTERING AN ESTATE
Every estate is different. Assets differ. Affairs may or may not be in order at the date of death. As a consequence we do not offer a fixed fee service but charge on the basis of current hourly rates. At present these range from £350 to £420 plus VAT depending on the level of seniority of the solicitor involved.
Applying for a Grant of Probate or, where a will has not been made, a Grant of Letters of Administration, usually involves the following steps:-
- Identifying and valuing the assets and liabilities of the estate
- Notifying all relevant organisations of the death
- Completing the HMRC account and arranging payment from the estate of any Inheritance Tax that may be due
- Arranging for any Self Assessment Tax Return to be completed and filed for the deceased and any Trust/Tax Returns, including Capital Gains computations
- Obtaining and circulating the Grant to all relevant parties
- Arranging sales/disposals of assets
- Advertising for creditors and then discharging the debts of the estate
- Preparing Estate accounts for approval
- Distributing assets and paying legacies in accordance with the terms of the will
Example of Charges for an Uncomplicated Estate
Where there is an uncontested will with 3 or 4 beneficiaries all of age and an estate with a total gross value of around £500,000 comprising a freehold property, 2/3 bank accounts and a small share portfolio , we would expect our fees to be between £5,000 – £8,000 plus VAT. In this example we would also have to incur the following expenses on your behalf:-
- Probate court fees: approximately £158
- Valuation fees (and possible sale commission) for share portfolios: £150-£1,000 plus VAT
- Valuation for property: £400-£1,000 per property plus VAT
- Bankruptcy search fee of £2 per search
- Land Registry title search fee £3 per property
- Statutory advertisements for creditors: £150-£200 plus VAT
Where a property has to be sold or transferred in the administration of an estate, this will incur further fees and our conveyancing department will provide you with an estimate of the costs involved. Estate agents’ fees will also be payable on a sale.
Factors That May Affect Fees
There can be many unforeseen issues that arise during the course of an administration, which can affect fees. Some of the more common encountered are:-
- Claims by third parties against the estate
- Challenges to the validity of the will
- The state of the deceased’s affairs at death
- Delays by third parties in providing information that we request
- Assets which are difficult or are complex in nature to value
- Establishing the existence of lifetime gifts by the deceased
- Investigations by, for example, HMRC into the deceased’s affairs
- The existence of foreign assets
- The death of beneficiaries before the administration is complete
- Tracing beneficiaries
We would generally expect to lodge the application for the Grant within six months of your initial instructions, unless complex issues or particular difficulties arise in identifying or valuing assets. The administration of most estates is usually completed within 9 to 18 months.
We are happy to meet with you for an initial meeting without charge or obligation, following which we will provide you with a written estimate of the costs involved with our terms of business.
All work is undertaken by highly experienced solicitors. The team comprises John Gold (admitted as a solicitor in 1963) Sarah Seddon (admitted in 1985) and Anthony Sebastian (admitted in 1973).