Applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets in an estate

We will always endeavour to provide an estimate of our legal fees for the administration of an estate before any work is undertaken.   This will be clarified with you as the client at an early stage in the process.

As you will appreciate, it is extremely difficult to predict how long it will take to administer an estate as there is “no size fits all” and we cannot anticipate exactly what is involved as each case would need to be assessed on its own merits.

In our experience, for a relatively straightforward uncontested matter, the average administration of an estate, with a valid Will, can take between 10 and 40 hours of work. The price range for our legal fees would be approximately £1,500 plus VAT to £8,000 plus VAT.

Our hourly rate depends on the relevant fee earner involved. We also charge an enhanced rate for estates valued above the Nil Rate Band threshold (currently £325,000) to reflect the additional work and complexity involved.

Estates below £325,000 – Standard Rate

Hourly rates (plus VAT):-   

Partner           £350

Associates     £280

Solicitors        £145 - £240

Wills & Probate Executive £160

Trainee          £125

Estates above £325,000 – Enhanced Rate

Hourly rates (plus VAT):-   

Partner           £450

Associates     £365

Solicitors        £190 - £310

Wills & Probate Executive £210

Trainee          £160

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there are one or two beneficiaries, a few bank or building society accounts and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, one or more properties, multiple bank and building society accounts and other investments such as share portfolios, our costs will be at the higher end. If we are involved in registering the death, arranging the funeral and dealing with more practical steps it is likely our overall fees will be in excess of this price range.

This price range of £1,500 plus VAT to £8,000 plus VAT is generally for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than two properties
  • There are no more than six bank or building society accounts
  • There are no unrealisable or difficult to claim
  • There are up to four beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full IHT400 account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate
  • There are no foreign assets
  • There are no trust assets in excess of £150,000.

Disbursements included in this price range of fees:

  • Probate application fee of £155 plus £0.50 per court sealed copy of the Grant
  • Land Registry Searches - £3
  • Statutory Advert for Creditors – London Gazette & Local Newspaper – approximately £200
  • Unclaimed Asset Register - £25
  • Bankruptcy Search - £2 per beneficiary

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a more streamlined process.

Additional fees charged at our range of hourly rates are payable if the estate is more complex and more work is required. This is often the case (but not limited to) if the following apply:- 

  • If there is no Will.
  • There is a complex income tax position for the deceased or for the period of administration.
  • There is a dispute between the beneficiaries.
  • There are trust assets over and above £150,000.
  • Foreign assets apply with or without another Will in a different jurisdiction
  • The assets are more complex than those provided in the example above.
  • A full inheritance tax account IHT400 needs to be submitted and inheritance tax is payable.

Please note that the legal fees of a sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included and these fees are quoted in the residential property section of our website.

On average, estates that fall within the above range are dealt with within six to eighteen months from the date of instruction. A more complex estate can take longer to complete the administration.  

The fee earners who deal with the administration of estates are set out below with links to their individual profiles:-

 

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