Applying for the Grant, collecting and distributing the assets – where there is no valid Will and there is inheritance tax to pay

If you instruct us to deal with the whole of the estate for you, we will ascertain the assets and liabilities of the estate and obtain valuations for you, prepare the papers to apply for a grant of letters of administration, arrange for the inheritance tax to be paid (usually from assets in the estate or by way of an administrator’s loan), obtain the grant for you, pay any liabilities and collect and distribute the assets. We may also discuss with you making checks to ascertain the beneficiaries of the estate and their entitlement to the estate.

When we act for you, we charge on the basis of the time spent multiplied by the hourly rate of the person dealing with the matter.  Our hourly rates range from £120 plus VAT to £215 plus VAT.   Where inheritance tax is likely to be payable in an estate, we would anticipate that this will take between 50 and 92 hours of work, depending on the complexity of estate.  Therefore our costs estimate would be in the region of £10750 plus VAT of £2150 (i.e. £12,900 in total) to £19780 plus VAT of £3956 (i.e. £23,736 in total) plus disbursements (see below).  Any costs payable are not usually met by the executors personally, instead the costs are deducted from the funds in the estate.

We will handle the full process for you and the estimates above are for estates where: –

  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There are no disputes between the administrators. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs.
  • There are no claims against the estate

The exact cost depends on the individual circumstances of the matter and varies a lot from case to case depending on the number of assets, the type of assets and liabilities in the estate and whether there have been gifts made by the person who has died prior to their death. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property and a few bank accounts, costs will be at the lower end of the range and may even be less than that quoted above. However, if there are multiple beneficiaries, multiple bank accounts, multiple properties and investments, costs will be at the higher end. We will discuss the likely fee with you when we have more information on the value of the estate, the beneficiaries and the number of assets.


Disbursements are charges related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees and inheritance tax. We handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. The disbursements that are likely to be payable are: –

  • Probate Application fee of £155
  • £5 swearing of the oath (per administrator)
  • Bankruptcy Only land Charges Department Searches (£2 per beneficiary name)
  • £83.40 (including VAT) Notice in the London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims for unknown creditors
  • £200 – £300 (excluding VAT). Notice in the local newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims. Please note this is an estimate and the cost of adverts in local papers vary depending on location and newspaper.
  • £162 Search of the Unclaimed Assets Register – this is a check for unknown assets
  • £114 Certainty Will Search – this safeguards the administrators by giving comfort that there is no Will
  • Inheritance Tax – this will vary from estate to estate and we cannot give an estimate of the amount payable before ascertaining the exact value of the estate and any gifts to be taken into account in calculating the tax. For more information on Inheritance Tax, please see


Potential Additional Costs

  • If the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could vary 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
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost 50p per copy (1 per asset usually)
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included
  • We do not prepare tax returns to the date of death or during the administration period and we may need to instruct an accountant to deal with these on your behalf
  • If there have been gifts made and substantial investigations need to be made in ascertaining gifts, this is likely to increase costs
  • If there are any foreign assets, this may increase costs and may result in having to instruct solicitors expert in other legal jurisdictions
  • If we are required to negotiate on your behalf with the District Valuer in relation to Inheritance Tax.


All of the cost information provided above is general and we will be very happy to give you more precise and personalised information once we understand the specific circumstances so please do get in touch with us.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 12 to 18 months. Typically obtaining a grant of letters of administration takes 5 to 6 months. Collecting assets and paying liabilities then follows, which can take between 2 and 4 months. Once this has been done and HMRC have confirmed there is no further inheritance tax to pay (or any income or capital gains tax for the pre-death and administration period) we can prepare estate accounts for approval by the Executors and then distribute the assets, which normally takes 5 to 8 months.


Our team

As stated above, our legal fees are normally charged at an hourly rate and this rate depends on the experience of the lawyer in charge of your matter:

Helen Strong

Helen is the head of the Private Client team at BTTJ.  She qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and has specialised in Private Client work since 1998.  She is a member of the Private Client Section of the Law Society.


Jill Bowler

Jill qualified as a solicitor in 1985, works as a Consultant for BTTJ and is hugely experienced.  She is a member of both Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).


Emma Wallbank

Emma has specialised in Private Client matters since 2002 and was admitted as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Legal Executives in 2009.  She is also a fully qualified member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP).


Lauren Robinson

Lauren is a Legal Apprenctice and is currently working under the supervision of Helen.


We are very happy to discuss your individual situation with you and provide you with an exact price based on your specific circumstances, so please do get in touch with us.

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