The death of a loved one can be one of the most difficult times of our lives.
Dealing with the administration of an estate of someone who has died can be time-consuming and stressful. It’s at times like these when you need help and guidance to point you in the right direction, which is where our specialist Estate Administration team can assist.
At Ashtons we don’t claim to be the cheapest solicitors; we pride ourselves on delivering a great service for a fair price. As one of the largest law firms in East Anglia we deal with every complexity of estate administration, from fairly straightforward to highly complex multi-jurisdictional estates.
We have outlined example costs and timescales below; there are so many variables with an estate administration that we can only provide a range. To put these into context here is an actual case we have dealt with showing the exact timing and costs of this case.
A typical example of a probate case we finalised for a client in 2018
The client died leaving a house in Cambridge, one bank account and Premium Bonds. His Executor instructed us to administer the entire estate, including the house sale which had been agreed during the client’s lifetime.
|Initial Advice Meeting||1 hour meeting with the Executor or Personal Representative to discuss the probate process and receive all relevant paperwork|
|Pre-Grant of Probate||6 weeks from the date of death until the issue of the Grant of Probate including claim to HMRC to reduce Inheritance Tax liability|
|Selling the property||7 weeks after the date of death and 1 week after the issue of the Grant of Probate|
|Post-Grant Administration||20 weeks from the issue of the Grant of Probate until the estate was finalised which includes completing all matters relating to the sale of the property, calling in assets, settling liabilities and legacies, completing all matters with HMRC, preparation of estate accounts and distributing to the beneficiaries, providing advice to the Executor as needed.|
The total cost of this Estate Administration was £10,773.50 which breaks down into the following components:
- The legal advice £9,600
- The sale of the house £996
- Court fee £157.50
- Searches £13
These prices include VAT at 20%.
We have a team of specialist lawyers which includes members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Law Society Probate Section, and Solicitors for the Elderly, with many years’ experience handling estate administration. At Ashtons we have the ability to draw on expertise within the team and wider firm to deal with complex tax issues, cross border issues, business and agricultural estates and contentious probate, and to offer proactive advice on tax mitigation and planning.
We will tailor our estate administration service to your needs, from purely securing the Grant of Probate and advising on particular issues that may affect the estate, through to taking on the full administration including arranging the funeral and sorting out the house.
For those clients who wish to deal with the estate administration themselves, we provide a report of the steps required in your case following our initial meeting with you. We can then provide advice as and when needed.
Timescales are calculated from the date on which we receive substantive instructions. Please be aware that much of the process involves liaising with outside agencies such as financial institutions and HMRC whose timescales are outside our control.
On average, for a simple estate not liable to Inheritance Tax with no residence, the full administration takes in the region of 6 months.
For a relatively simple estate liable to Inheritance Tax with one residence to sell, on average the full administration takes 9-12 months. However there are more variations within this scenario which are out of our control e.g. selling the house and communication from the tax office. Such an estate may take longer to complete.
Estates that involve more complex Inheritance Tax issues and other factors such as:
- Significant lifetime gifts
- Claims for business or agricultural reliefs or for a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax
- Protracted correspondence with HMRC
- Administration of business or other complex assets
- Management and allocation of a substantial investment portfolio
- Interests under Trusts
- Heritage assets.
can typically take 18 months to 48 months for the full administration.
All prices below are inclusive of VAT at 20%.
Our fixed fee for the initial meeting is £660. We will tell you in the meeting if Inheritance Tax issues or other factors such as those in the list below may require further advice. Following the initial meeting we will provide a report confirming the advice given.
If you wish to meet at your home, or the home of the deceased, we are happy to do so. This is often helpful and in this case the price may increase to include travelling time and expenses. We will provide a quote for you when we know the address.
In some cases you may only wish us to obtain the Grant of Probate. If you are able to supply full and accurate information, our fee for purely obtaining the Grant of Probate without further advice would range from £1,200 to £2,400 if the estate is straightforward and a full Inheritance Tax return is not required.
If the estate is not liable to Inheritance Tax but is more complex e.g. including substantial assets or claims are needed to secure reliefs from Inheritance Tax our fee would typically range from £2,400 to £7,200.
There will be fees payable to third parties e.g:
A fee payable to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service of £155 (proposed to be changed to £50-£6,000 depending on the value of the estate)
50p for each copy of the grant required.
Full Estate Administration
Our fees for a typical estate where we carry out the whole administration range from around £3,000 to £5,000 for a simple estate to around £6,000 to £25,000 for a more complex estate not liable to Inheritance Tax with a limited number of assets. The fees for a typical estate liable to Inheritance Tax can range from £8,500 to £40,000.
The above example fees are for estates where:
- All assets are in the UK and the deceased and beneficiaries are all UK domiciled.
- There is a valid Will. Where there is no Will this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
- There is no more than one residence for which we undertake supervision and clearance.
- There are no other intangible assets including interests under trusts.
- There are no claims made against the estate nor disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any residence or land in the estate or with any claim or dispute is not included.
Potential additional costs
Administration of estates involving factors such as significant lifetime gifts, claims for business or agricultural reliefs or for a reduced rate of inheritance tax, or protracted correspondence with HM Revenue and Customs, or administration of business or other complex assets including management and allocation of a substantial investment portfolio, overseas aspects, interests under trusts or heritage assets are likely to involve an increase in costs which we will discuss and agree with you.
There will be fees payable to third parties e.g.
- A fee payable to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service of £155 (proposed to be changed to £50 – £6,000 depending on the value of the estate)
- 50p for each copy of the grant required
- If wished, approximately £250 to place a statutory notice in The London Gazette and a local newspaper to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors
- There may be additional expenses such as valuation fees, searches and insurance premiums payable during the administration.
Our price promise
At Ashtons we believe in ensuring that the right work is done at the right level but with the ability for the skills and expertise of our senior lawyers to be called upon as necessary.
We will always give you an individual cost estimate at the start of the transaction taking into account the actual features of your estate. We will also discuss with you alternative methods of charging for our work (such as a fixed fee or hourly rate). We will always advise you immediately about any complications that arise and discuss the potential impact on price before any additional charges are incurred.
All our illustrative ranges have been calculated on the following hourly rates.
|Solicitors/Chartered Legal Executives||£215 to £275|
|Trainee Legal Executives/Paralegals||£185 to £220|
|Trust and Tax Executive / Estate Administrator||£185 to £220|