When we are instructed to act for a client in relation to the administration of an estate, our fees are calculated by reference to the time spent on the matter by members of the firm.
The hourly rates of members of the Private Client Advisory Team are fixed according to their respective levels of experience. Currently, they range from £75 (plus VAT) for a legal administrator to £335 (plus VAT) for a senior partner. Details of the rates of the relevant individual members of the team will be provided to you at the outset and the work will be undertaken by the individual team member(s) with the appropriate level(s) of experience.
The level of fees will, naturally, depend on the particular circumstances of the matter, so it is impossible to provide meaningful figures which will apply across the board but, on the basis of our extensive experience of dealing with probate, we can advise that for the vast majority of estates, the fees will fall within the range of 1% to 3% of the value of the gross estate. Lower value estates will tend to fall at top end of that range whilst higher value estates may be at the lower end but the complexity of the estate whether that be, for example, the type of assets, their location, beneficiary complications, complicated tax or trust arrangements will affect the overall fee. We are always happy to discuss fee estimates and, where appropriate, fixed fee quotations. Once we have details of the size and nature of the estate, we can provide you with more detailed guidance.
In addition to the professional fees, there will be the following disbursements (that is, payments to third parties, which we can deal with on your behalf but for which we will have to be reimbursed):
- Probate registry fee: £155
- Fee for office copies of the grant : £0.50 for each copy (the number required will depend on the number/range of assets)
- Search fees: £2.00 per beneficiary plus VAT*
- Cost of statutory adverts: approximately £300, plus VAT* (not always essential but usually advisable for the protection of the executors).
We usually deal with the whole process of the administration of the estate, which will include:
- ascertaining and obtaining valuations for the assets and liabilities of the estate, including joint or trust assets and generally gathering the information required to complete the probate papers
- obtaining details of any gifts made by the deceased in the seven years prior to death
- obtaining details of any assets in which the deceased had reserved a benefit
- identifying the beneficiaries
- drafting the necessary statement and other papers for HMRC (Inheritance Tax) and the Probate Registry
- applying for and obtaining the grant of representation
- realising the assets of the estate
- settling the estate liabilities, inheritance tax and administrative expenses
- preparing and updating estate accounts
- distributing the residuary estate in accordance with the will
- clients may prefer to undertake some of these tasks themselves and we are happy to discuss with you which aspects of the administration you would like us to undertake for you.
You may wish us to deal with other matters besides the routine administration of the estate. For example:
- Income Tax to the date of death or for the administration period
- deeds of variation
- work undertaken by our property department in respect of the sale or transfer of any properties
- dealing with foreign property and tax and corresponding with overseas lawyers
- tax planning advice for beneficiaries.
If such additional services are required, we will provide a properly tailored estimate of the cost at the appropriate time.
In most cases we would hope to have obtained a grant of probate within six months of receipt of full instructions and to have completed the bulk of the administration of the estate within a year. There will be exceptions to this when an estate is complicated but we will report to you regularly. On the other hand, a simple matter will be completed more quickly and we will provide you with bespoke time estimates once we have details of the size and nature of the estate. We will always deal with instructions promptly but we are heavily dependent on response times of others, such as, HMRC, banks/other institutions and, of course, the executors and beneficiaries themselves.
*VAT is currently charged at 20%.