Administration of Estates

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

Team Members

Our team of fee earners have many years of collective experience in providing a high quality of service to clients.  It is acknowledged by us that the administration of an estate of a loved one can be very stressful as well as time-consuming and our Private Client Department Team are always extremely conscious of the difficulties that may be faced in instructing solicitors to assist in connection with the administration of an estate.

Applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets 

We can provide you with an estimate which is specific to the instruction that you wish to give us concerning the administration of an estate.  

In applying for a Grant of Probate, collecting and distributing the assets, we anticipate that this will take approximately 15-25 hours at £270 per hour.  The total cost is between £4,050 – £6,750 plus VAT at 20%. 

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter.  For example, if there is one Beneficiary and no property, it will be at the lower end of the range.  If there are multiple Beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end of the range.  

We will handle the full process for you.  This quote is for the estate where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 2 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There is one Beneficiary
  • There are no disputes between Beneficiaries on 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 account to HMRC
  • There are no claims against the estate 

Disbursements included in addition to the hourly cost will be:

  • Probate application fee of £150 plus £1.50 for each Office Copy of the Grant of Probate 
  • £5 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Registry search (£2 per name)
  • Statutory advertisements in the London Gazette and/or a local newspaper in order to protect the Personal Representatives against unexpected claims for an unknown creditor £100 – £350

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.  

There are potential additional costs. 

  • If there is no Will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds), there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with.  We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information. 
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included but our Residential Conveyancing Department can provide you with an appropriate quote for acting in connection with the sale of the property or the transfer of the property to a Beneficiary. 

A more complex estate administration which is not subject to inheritance tax but where a full Report is required to HMRC but no tax is due, could take between 20 and 30 hours with a cost of £5,400 to £8,100 plus VAT at 20%.

A far more complex estate subject to inheritance tax, that has numerous assets and several Beneficiaries may take between 40 and 60 hours at a cost of £10,800 to £16,200 plus VAT at 20%.

Whilst we try to provide an accurate estimate at the outset, it is not always possible to foresee all eventualities so our estimates may need to be revised as the matter progresses.

There may be a requirement for additional information from certain companies, copy documentation (eg 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 that are due that the family are unaware of, and the time spent in dealing with enquiries from Executors and Beneficiaries over and above what is normally expected. 

How long will the process take?

On average, estates fall within the range of being dealt with between 6 to 12 months. Typically, obtaining a Grant of Probate takes between 12 and 20 weeks.  Collecting assets then follows, which can take anywhere between 12 and 20 weeks.  Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes between 6 to 10 weeks.  It may be that during the course of the administration of the estate, it will be possible to make interim distributions to Beneficiaries subject to the instructions that we receive from the Administrator/Executors of the estate. 

Substantial Estates 

In the case of very substantial estates where there may be multiple assets in the estate, then we will be happy to provide an estimate specific to that estate in relation to the costs of the administration of the estate.  Needless to say, we always reserve the right to review our costs estimate to you and the guideline in substantial and complex estates are costs of anywhere between 2% and 3% of the gross estate plus VAT at 20% and any necessary disbursements, together with a value element equivalent to 0.05% of any property. 

The Fee Earners in the Private Client Department who will have conduct of the administration of an estate will be either Andrew Penfold, who is Head of the Private Client Department, and who is a Solicitor, or Jane Freeman, who is a Solicitor within the Department. 

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