Administering an Estate
When someone dies, the decisions to be made and the action to be taken can be confusing. Dealing with the loss of a relative or a friend can be a difficult time and most people are unsure what action to take. At Williamsons we are here to help and can handle the full process for you. This information is for straightforward estates where:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than 2-3 bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are 2-3 beneficiaries
- 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 made against the estate
Costs are estimated at between £3,500 and £5,500 (+VAT), based on an hourly charging rate of £150-£225 (dependent on the experience and qualification of the fee earner). The exact time and 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 the range and the time it takes to complete the administration will be quicker. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end and the administration will take longer.
Disbursements not included in this fee are:
- Probate application fee of £273 (with additional copies at £1.50)
- Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary)
- £250 Notice in The London Gazette and local newspaper which protects the Personal Representatives against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
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.
We anticipate a straightforward estate will take between three to six months to obtain a Grant and a further six to twelve months to complete administration of the Estate.
If Williamsons Solicitors are appointed as Executors on a Will, an Estate will not be distributed until 10 months after the issue of the Grant.
If an Estate requires a full inheritance tax return or where it is necessary to claim the transferable nil rate band or claim the main residence nil rate band for example or where there are significant number of assets or beneficiaries, this will mean that legal fees will be more that those quoted above and the time scale to complete the process make take longer. However, you will be given a quote once we have all of the information.
What’s Involved in Administering an Estate
Age UK have provided a very good fact sheet about what is involved in administrating an Estate. This is an independent fact sheet, it will give you a good idea if the process, what is involved and why it is often a very good idea to instruct professionals, such as Williamsons Solicitors to assist in navigating this process.
Why Instruct a Professional to Deal with the Administration of an Estate?
There is very good, independent advice about when it is a good idea to consult a specialist, such as Williamsons Solicitors to assist you with dealing with and application for a Grant of Probate or to deal with the administration of a friend or relative’s Estate from start to finish, this can be found on the Money Advice Service website: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/when-to-use-a-probate-specialist.
Williamsons Solicitors are happy to assist on those Estates and the simpler ones, if you simply don’t feel comfortable dealing with them, don’t have the inclination or just don’t have the time.
Will the Estate be Taxable?
To find if an Estate is taxable to give you an idea whether your friend or loved ones Estate would be a simple administration or not, why not look at the https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax. Williamsons Solicitors are probate specialists who would be able to assist and advise you throughout this, often complex process.
Grant of Probate Only
We can help you get started with administering an estate by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf. This includes completing the relevant Inheritance Tax forms for HMRC and preparing the probate papers, including the Oath. You would be responsible for providing us with the relevant figures for the valuation of the Estate. Please see: https://www.gov.uk/valuing-estate-of-someone-who-died for more information on this. Once the Grant is extracted, you will be able to administer the estate.
Our legal fees start at £600 plus VAT for straightforward Grants. In addition, disbursements may be incurred on top of this fee, including;
- Probate application fee of £273 (with additional copies of the Grant at £1.50)
If the Grant is likely to be complex, such as in estates where inheritance tax is payable or a transferable nil rate band is being claimed, the costs will be higher and we will be able to give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
A Grant of Probate can usually be obtained within 8-12 weeks.
You may find some of the links above useful in determining whether you wish to instruct to obtain a Grant only or whether you decide it may perhaps be worthwhile instructing a professional to carry out the full administration of your friend or relative’s Estate.
For a straightforward Will, our fees are £275 (+VAT) per Will. If you require a more complex Will, such as those including a trust or inheritance tax planning, we will give you a more accurate quote once we have more information about your needs.
We aim to send a draft Will out to you within two weeks of receiving your written confirmation of instructions.
Why it is important to have a Will
For information about the difference having a Will makes see our fact sheet here and who inherits where this is no Will, https://www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will
Lasting Powers of Attorney
We charge a fixed fee as follows:
- One Lasting Power of Attorney is £562.00, e.g. a single Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney or a single Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
- Two Lasting Powers of Attorney are £884.00 e.g. one person wanting Lasting Powers of Attorney for both Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare
All fees include preparation and registration costs, VAT and the Court fee required to register the documents.
In addition, Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches will be required in respect of Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs (£2 per donor and attorney)
Lasting Powers of Attorney matters can take six months or more to be completed as they have to be registered with the Office of The Public Guardian, which can take up to three months.
Why it is important to have a Lasting Powers of Attorney
For information about why it is important to make a Lasting Power of Attorney please see our fact sheet here and to find out what happens if you don’t have a lasting Power of Attorney, you’ve lost capacity, and someone needs to deal with your affairs.
Choice Legal Providers
It is important that you are aware of the choice of legal providers that are available and looking at the Legal Choices website will assist you in making decisions about the services available to you and importantly which of those, such as Williamsons Solicitors, that are regulated https://www.legalchoices.org.uk/ and the potential lack of protection offered to you in having an unregulated person or company carry out these services for you, for example a Will Writer preparing a Will for you. In England and Wales, the law lets anyone write Wills, meaning that some of these Will Writers not being regulated they may not even have any legal qualifications!W