Costs in the Administration of Estates after Death

We will always liaise closely with you at the outset of any instruction to agree costs prior to undertaking any item of work.

We offer the choice of either a fixed fee agreement for administering an estate after death, or fees based on time spent dealing with the matter in accordance with our hourly rates published below. Every estate is different and sometimes unforeseen issues can arise during an administration which will affect the amount of time necessary to complete the work and the timescale for completion.

The fees quoted below are for the work we will do on your behalf. It does not include any taxes that may be payable by the estate, such as inheritance tax, capital gains tax (on a later disposal of an asset) or income tax. The information provided below does not include any estate where there is a foreign element, nor where there is a dispute of any nature. These two aspects have been specifically excluded by the SRA Transparency Rules under which this information is provided. The fees quoted below are for the work we will do on your behalf. It does not include any taxes that may be payable by the estate, such as inheritance tax (IHT), capital gains tax (CGT) (on a later disposal of an asset) or income tax.

Fixed fee option

Should a client wish to do so, we are happy to agree a fixed fee for administering an estate in the UK, subject to a minimum charge of £750 plus VAT (£900 inclusive of VAT). The fixed fee would be calculated at 3% of the gross value of the estate plus VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%). For example, a gross estate where the total assets are valued at £500,000 before deduction of liabilities, would attract a fee of £15,000 plus VAT (£500,000 x 3%), a total of £18,000 inclusive of VAT.

Time spent option-range of costs

It is not possible to state precisely how much an administration will cost as this depends on a number of factors, including the size of the estate, the different types of assets within the estate, the number of beneficiaries and how these must be dealt with, IHT issues (is IHT payable on the estate or is it an exempt estate?), business property relief, valuation of assets issues (are these being challenged by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)?); any issues relating to the will, (for example, validity, appointment of executors, Intestacy Rules affecting the estate if there is a partial or complete intestacy, those entitled to probate or the beneficiaries; missing beneficiaries and so on). There are so many possible variables and complications that it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list.

Accordingly, the range of figures provided below is based on the average estate in the south east of England. Statistics published on the HMRC website for 2016, for estates admitted to probate, suggest that the majority (53.9%) are in the value range of £200,000 to £500,000. As that statistic is based on the entirety of the UK, we would suggest that an average estate in the south east is at or near the upper of that range, being close to £500,000. Charges for administering an estate will generally fall within the range of £5,000 to £15,000 plus VAT (£6,000 to £18,000 inclusive of VAT). Sometimes the charges will be less than £5,000 and sometimes they will be more than £15,000, depending on the variables involved as indicated above.

Our Private Client Department consists of the following fee earners and their charge out rates are below:

  • James McMullan, Head of Department, qualified as Solicitor 1990 – £400 per hour plus VAT.
  • Lalita Kauldhar, Assistant Solicitor, qualified 2016 – £260 per hour plus VAT.
  • William Roberts-Phelps, Assistant Solicitor, qualified 2016 – £260 per hour plus VAT.
  • Another, Paralegal – £100 per hour plus VAT.

All work carried out by Lalita Kauldhar, William Roberts-Phelps and any paralegal is supervised by James McMullan.

The following is a summary of the work we will typically carry out in the administration of an estate. This is essentially the standard process we undertake, not including any of the variables or complexities mentioned, and which, if applicable, would add to the work we need to do to successfully complete the administration. This summary is more or less in chronological order in terms of the steps that need to be taken and usually, although not necessarily, in that order.

The following work only is required in a typical estate administration:

  1. taking instructions and advising the client throughout the process of the administration;
  2. gathering all necessary documents to provide evidence of the value of the assets and liabilities of the estate;
  3. advertising the death in the London Gazette and/or local newspaper for the area in which the deceased resides;
  4. completing an IHT account, calculating any IHT liability and arranging for payment of the IHT debt, if any;
  5. checking the income tax position of the estate up to the date of death and during the administration period. Liaising with the deceased’s accountant and providing necessary information for them to complete the income tax returns. Making any application for an appropriate income tax rebate and/or arranging for payment of income tax liability. Checking any CGT issues and liaising with an accountant to resolve these;
  6. preparing the oath for executors and making the application for the grant of probate and paying the Court fee;
  7. upon receipt of the grant of probate/administration, gathering in the assets, paying outstanding debts, and arranging for the transfer of assets to beneficiaries, in accordance with the deceased’s will;
  8. preparing a final estate account as a record of the administration for the executors’ approval;
  9. accounting to the beneficiaries for their entitlement under the will (or intestacy if there is no will);
  10. advice concerning all relevant aspects of IHT in connection with the estate, including any exemptions and reliefs from IHT, availability of the deceased’s nil rate band, and any transferable nil rate band; the effect of any lifetime gifts for IHT; and
  11. advice concerning any CGT liability in the event of any gains realised or losses suffered on the sale of the assets over and above probate value.

Potential additional costs

If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks or bonds) or other unusual assets, there is 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.

Disbursements in probate work

  • Court fees for probate £155 plus 50p per sealed copy.
  • £7 swear fee on the oath (per executor).
  • Statutory advertisement of death (London Gazette, local newspaper) est. £90 plus VAT for each.
  • Bankruptcy search fees £2 per name (no VAT).
  • Land Registry fees for title to property £3 and for any additional Land Registry work (cost based on value of property in accordance with Land Registry tariff) (no VAT).
  • Fees to obtain valuations for assets, if necessary (experts’ fees will normally be subject to VAT.
  • Accountants’ fees for income tax returns are charged to VAT.

We are happy to discuss the costs in relation to any item of work undertaken by us. Contact James McMullan today to discuss your enquiry.

RIAA Barker Gillette (UK) LLP

11-12 Wigmore Place

James McMullan

    • Private Client
    • +44 (0) 20 7299 6902
    • +44 (0) 7773 888 656
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