Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets (full estate administration)

This work will normally be undertaken on an hourly rate basis. On rare occasions a fixed fee may be appropriate. See below for more detail on this.

It is very difficult to give narrow estimates for this type of work as each case is different. We pride ourselves on working with you to offer a bespoke service where we undertake the elements of the administration you want us to, thereby enabling you to undertake some of the work yourself, if you wish. We will discuss what is involved with you so you can decide if you wish to undertake any tasks yourself.

Within the department we generally work in small teams meaning the most appropriately qualified fee earner is able to deal with each aspect. Details of our team are elsewhere on our website (https://www.sillslegal.co.uk/meet-the-team-dept/). Our charging rates are as follows:

 

Paralegals and administrative assistants £80 – 145 plus VAT
Solicitors, legal executives & TEP £180 – 220 plus VAT
Partners £230 to £255 plus VAT
Head of Department £270 plus VAT

 

The exact charge rate of fee earners within each category is based primarily on experience.

As mentioned the exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of any range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end. If there are other assets, such as shares, other investments, additional properties or foreign assets they are likely to exceed the higher end. For most straight forward estates we anticipate the work will take between  8 and 14 hours, at an average rate of approximately £225 plus VAT per hour. This is a total of between £1800 and £3000 for our time. This equates to between £2160 and £3600 after VAT.

These quotes assume:

  1. There is no question over the validity of any will or it is a straightforward intestacy
  2. There is no more than one property and you deal with all utilities, insurance and clearance
  3. There are accounts at no more than 3 bank or building societies (including NS&I)
  4. There are no other intangible assets
  5. There are no more than 4 beneficiaries of age and full capacity
  6. There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to a substantial increase in costs and the involvement of our contentious probate team
  7. There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC. If there is no tax payable but claims are required for a transferable nil rate band, or the longer form of inheritance tax is otherwise required this is likely to add around 3 to 4 hours work at a cost of around £750 to £1000 plus VAT.
  8. There are no claims made against the estate
  9. We do not deal with any tax matters other than inheritance tax

In addition payments to third parties, called disbursements, will also be payable. The likely ones are:

  1. Probate application fee of £155 (see note 1 below)
  2. Copies of the grant 50p per copy (usually one per asset)
  3. Swearing of the oath £5 per person and £2 per document (will and any codicils)
  4. Bankruptcy searches £2 per beneficiary (at least one for each beneficiary)
  5. Post in The London Gazette and Post in a Local Newspaper (section 27 notices) – These help to protect against unknown creditors These are placed through an agency which is cheaper than placing direct The costs depends on what the local paper charges. The cost is usually between £180 to £220.
  6. Land Registry office copies £6 per property

We handle the payment of the disbursements from available funds on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

 

Time frames

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 4 to 8 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 12 to 24 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 8 and 20 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 4 to 6 weeks.

 

Potential additional costs

If there is a liability to inheritance tax or advice is required on any other taxes.

If there are assets in excess of those set out above the costs could increase significantly depending on their nature and how they are to be dealt with. This is particularly true if there are direct equities and share certificates are missing.

Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. A separate quote will be provided if it is to be transferred. If it is to be sold our Conveyancing department can provide a quote.

If we are the only executors and there are no persons benefiting from the estate who are able to help with practical tasks cost are likely to increase significantly. If this means we are in a position where we have to give the matter priority at the expense of other matters and undertake steps we would usually not, such as arranging a funeral or house clearance a % uplift may be charged. We would though discuss this with the residuary beneficiaries.

If the will creates ongoing trusts, we are required to advise on any post death arrangements, or if the estate includes an interest in a private business or agricultural land then costs will be significantly more.

If the deceased was a beneficiary of a trust.

If the deceased made significant gifts prior to death.

We will discuss additional charges with you when we have full details of the assets and work required. If any additional work is needed the time frame above is likely to increase. Again we can discuss this with you when we have full details.

 

Fixed fee applications

On occasions clients ask us to assist them in applying for a Grant, but not to assist with any administration. We are happy to do this. Normally we will charge £750 plus VAT when the long form of IHT return is not required, and £1500 pus VAT when it is. These quotes are on the basis that we are not required to obtain any valuations of assets in the estate or to conduct any enquires into the nature and extent of the assets. It also assumes no foreign assets, interests in trust, or claims for agricultural or business relief. We may still be able to provide this service on a higher fixed fee basis and are happy to discuss this with you.

In addition payments to third parties, called disbursements, will also be payable. The likely ones are:

  • Probate application fee of £155 (see note 1 below)
  • Copies of the grant 50p per copy (usually one per asset)
  • Swearing of the oath £5 per person and £2 per document (will and any codicils)

We are also happy to undertake other aspects of the administration process for you on a fixed fee basis. Please discuss this with us.

 

Note 1 – Probate Court fee

The current Probate Court fee is £155 regardless of the size of an estate. However on 6th November 2018 the Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018 was published in draft. This Order contains a substantial change to the Probate Court Fee. If the Order is passed without amendment the Probate Court fee will change 21 days after the Order comes into force and will be as follows:-

 

Value of estate Fee
Under £50,000 £0
£50,000 – £300,000 £250
£300,000 – £500,000 £750
£500,000 – £1,000,000 £2,500
£1,000,000 – £1,600,000 £4,000
£1,600,000 – £2,000,000 £5,000
Over £2,000,000 £6,000

 

The fee increase will be based on the date of application for the Grant of Representation, not the date of death. We do not yet know when the Order will come into force, and therefore when the fee increase will take effect.