Wills and Estates
The following information relates to the full process of application for a grant of probate to an estate, and for the collection and distribution of estate assets.
Standard estate criteria
- There is a valid will.
- There are no more than 10 bank or building society accounts.
- There are no other intangible assets.
- All assets are located in England and Wales.
- There are no assets with a complex structure for encashment or assets relevant to the estate but subject to trusts.
- There are no shareholdings (stock and bonds or portfolios of the same).
- There are 1-10 beneficiaries.
- There are no disputes of whatever nature - for example, issues between beneficiaries on division of assets, problems with the interpretation of the will, difficulties between the executors (the persons administering the estate), or otherwise. 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.
For a standard estate administration our fee includes
- Notifying the relevant organisations of the death.
- Obtaining details of the estate assets and liabilities.
- Completing the basic HMRC return form (IHT205) and dealing with straightforward enquiries from HMRC in relation to such form.
- Obtaining the grant of probate.
- Collecting the estate assets.
- Settling liabilities.
- Preparing estate accounts.
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
- Keeping relevant parties updated of the progress of the administration of the estate.
- An assessment of the deceased’s income and capital gains tax position at date of death and assessment of the tax position during the administration of the estate.
It is anticipated that the adminstration of a standard estate will take between 15 and 30 hours work at a variable rate per hour in accordance with the team members’ hourly rates (the actual team members involved will be notified in our terms of business). Based on a charge-out rate of £330 per hour, total costs are estimated at £4,950 - £9,900 (excluding VAT). Other team members will have lower rates, resulting in a potentially lower charge, although they are subject to supervision by higher rate team members. In reality, there will usually be a number of team members involved on a matter with a combination of charge out rates This is aimed to ensure that all work carried out is done at the right level and for the right value.
It is anticipated this will take between 15 and 30 hours work at a variable rate per hour in accordance with the attached list of team members’ hourly rates (the actual team members involved will be notified in our terms of business). The range of time estimates may also vary according to particular circumstances of the estate. Any variation or possible variation (when known) will be notified on our terms of business or subsequent update material.
The exact cost will ultimately depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary, and easily transferred assets, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
Ultimately, we provide a tailored service which will be scoped in terms of clients’ requirements and costed out appropriately at the outset of a matter or when relevant factors become known.
Separate quotes will be provided for the following
- An intestate estate (this is an estate where the deceased did not leave a valid will). An initial quote will be provided to determine and locate relevant beneficiaries and their shares in the estate prior to completion of the estate on the standard basis noted above, save that the application will be for grant of letters of administration.
- Any estate where there have been lifetime gifts in excess of standard allowances.
- Any estate where a full account on the IHT400 form is required for inheritance tax for whatever purpose.
- Preparation of income tax and Capital Gains Tax returns for the period to date of death from preceding tax year commencement and from date of death to conclusion of the administration period and distribution.
- The sale or transfer or appropriation of any freehold property or property share held as an estate asset, or all formalities associated with disposal of any property the subject of a lease.
- All assets which fall outside the scope of a standard estate.
Potential additional costs/factors
- There is no valid will.
- The estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) or portfolios of the same. If so, there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. A more accurate quote can be provided once relevant information is available.
- If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost 50p (1 per asset usually).
- Dealing with the sale, transfer or appropriation of any property or property share in the estate.
- Assets held in trust or policies held outside the estate.
- Assets of a pre-deceased spouse that have not yet been dealt with.
- A trust created during the deceased’s lifetime.
- The administration of a trust created by the deceased’s will (or by intestacy).
- Subsequent information received or applicable after receipt of initial instructions.
- Communications with HMRC in connection with the value of assets and application of exemptions and reliefs.
- Communications with DWP in connection with any potential claims they may notify.
- Disputes in the estate.
- Foreign assets (outside England and Wales).
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within the standard range noted above are dealt with within 6-12 months although circumstances could lead to this range being extended. Initial meetings, fact finding and ascertainment of assets may take up to 4 months from date of instructions. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 2 months once all information has been obtained and the application has been made to the Probate Registry. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4-8 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 3-4 weeks or longer depending on the consideration of estate accounts, clearance responses from HMRC on any relevant closing taxation procedures and similarly in relation to DWP claims.
The above time estimates depend on the prompt cooperation of all parties throughout the matter, for example, HMRC, DWP, asset holders and those providing instructions.
Probate application fee
Bankruptcy only searches in the Land Charges Department
£3 plus VAT per beneficiary
Advertisement in The London Gazette - (this is an advertisement for claims and creditors and provides some protection from unexpected claims from unknown creditors)
£70 plus VAT
Advertisement in local papers - (this is an advertisement for claims and creditors and provides some protection from unexpected claims from unknown creditors)
Additional disbursements could be incurred depending on the circumstances, for example, property valuation fees, personal possessions and household contents valuation fees, house clearance fees, stockbrokers’ fees in relation to share dealings and so on. These will be advised as soon as they become known.