Dealing with the whole of the estate administration where there is no valid Will
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
- obtain the grant for you
- collect and distribute the assets
- pay any liabilities
We may also discuss with you making checks to ascertain the beneficiaries of the estate and their entitlement to the estate.
Where appropriate we will also arrange for the inheritance tax to be paid (usually from assets in the estate or by way of an administrator’s loan).
How do we charge?
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. We handle the full process for you and any costs payable are not usually met by the administrators personally, instead the costs are deducted from the funds in the estate.
Our cost estimates
The exact cost depends on the individual circumstances of the matter as every estate is different. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, our costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, 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: –
- £155 Probate Application fee
- £2 per beneficiary name for Bankruptcy Only Land Charges Department Searches
- £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 existing Will
- Inheritance Tax if applicable – 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 https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax
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
- If there are any beneficiaries that cannot be found, this is likely to increase costs
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?
Where there is no inheritance tax to pay: On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 7 to 12 months. Typically obtaining a grant of letters of administration takes 3 to 5 months. Collecting assets and paying liabilities then follows, which can take between 2 and 4 months. Once this has been done, we can prepare the estate accounts for the administrators’ approval and distribute the assets, which normally takes 2 and 4 months.
Where there is inheritance tax to pay: 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 administrators and then distribute the assets, which normally takes 5 to 8 months.
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 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. She has a wealth of experience of dealing with a variety of different estates including extremely complex, taxable and high value matters. Please click here for more details on Helen’s experience.
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). Please click here to find out more about Jill.
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 has extensive knowledge of estates from dealing with simple to the more complex and is also a fully qualified member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP). Please click here to find out more about Emma’s experience.
Lauren is a Legal Apprentice 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.