Estate Administration Costs Information

We do not deal with the administration of estates other than for our existing clients.  However, we are required for regulatory purposes to provide details of our charges for the administration of estates. This price guidance is not intended as an advertisement for these services.

Our fees

We charge on the basis of the time it takes to administer an estate. It is very difficult to predict at the outset what the costs of administering an estate may be, as these will be determined by the complexities of the deceased’s estate, some of which may not be apparent at the outset.  There is no one size fits all to estate administration.

As at May 2024 our hourly rates range from £185-325 for our trust and probate assistants (depending on their level of experience and seniority) and £275-375 for our assistant solicitors (again depending on their level of experience and seniority) and our partner hourly rate is £520 per hour. Our rates are reviewed annually.  VAT must be added to the hourly rates in each case.

Generally estate administration is handled by a trust and probate assistant or assistant solicitor, under the supervision of a partner.  Our partners all have in excess of 10 years’ experience in the administration of estates.  In some more complex estates it may be necessary to involve a further assistant.  We will give you details of the experience and qualifications of those working on the estate administration when we issue an engagement letter on commencing work.

We do not charge fees based on the value of an estate and neither do we charge an additional responsibility fee in cases where a partner acts as executor.

For a straightforward estate (for example an estate comprising one house, a few bank accounts, an investment portfolio, no overseas element and assets going to beneficiaries absolutely), the costs are likely to range between £15,000-25,000 plus VAT and disbursements.

Factors that will increase the cost include:

  • Agricultural assets
  • Trading businesses
  • Multiple properties or land
  • Unregistered properties or land
  • Significant numbers of chattels
  • Heritage assets
  • Overseas assets, liabilities, domicile or residence
  • Substantial creditors to the estate
  • Gifts made in the preceding 7 years
  • Interests in trust
  • Entitlement under another’s estate
  • The need for an emergency grant of probate (grant ad colligenda bona)
  • Any possible claims against the estate
  • Regularising any lifetime tax reporting or payment
  • Preparing trust and estate tax returns for the administration and arrangement payment of such tax liabilities
  • Where additional tax advice is required (that is, beyond inheritance tax and capital gains tax)
  • Complex wishes in relation to the distribution of chattels or the estate more generally
  • Any inheritance tax variations or appointments within 2 years of death
  • Dealing with an HMRC enquiry or account check
  • Separate Wills for assets in different jurisdictions

Disbursements

Disbursements are charged in addition in respect of fees payable to third parties.  These will likely include:

  • Probate application fee c.£300 plus extra costs for securing additional copies of the grant of probate
  • Official copies of Land Registry entries, £3.  The Land Registry may be searched by the deceased’s name
  • Notices to protect the executors from claims by advertising for creditors, c.£300
  • Inheritance tax may be payable on the estate
  • Probate valuations for properties and land, shares and chattels will be charged according to the nature of the asset and the hourly rates set by the third party valuer
  • Costs of dealing with the transfer or sale of any property or other assets

Timescales

We would expect to submit the application for the grant of probate within a few months of the death in the case of a straightforward estate; more complex estates will likely take up to a year to collate the information required to complete the inheritance tax return and probate application.

20 working days after the inheritance tax return has been submitted the application to the Probate Registry may be made.  The time it takes for the Probate Registry to process the grant of probate is very difficult to predict.  In some recent cases it has taken them in excess of 8 months to process the grant.

Once the grant of probate is issued it will be possible to access assets and pay liabilities.  Some distributions may be made at this stage, depending on the view of the executors, but final distributions cannot be made until HMRC has issued inheritance tax calculations and granted clearance.

Complex estate administration may take a number of years to complete.

May 2024