Our basic fees for work done before a Grant is obtained (points 1 to 8 above) are calculated by reference to the gross value of the estate excluding any debts.
Our basic fees for work done after a Grant is obtained (points 9 to 18 above) are also calculated by reference to the gross value of the estate excluding any debts.
Not all estates will need all the services set out in points 1 to 18 above. For example, the Will may not include any legacies.
In addition to the basic fee, we charge a further percentage of the total basic fee. The percentage applied will depend on how the estate passes to the beneficiaries and who they are. The percentage is higher where assets are held in a trust rather than being divided between one or more individuals.
Some estates may not need to pay IHT because they are small or because the assets or the beneficiaries who inherit can benefit from a tax exemption or relief. If no IHT is payable, the administration of the estate is usually easier and our fees may lower than those indicated in the term. This is something we can discuss with the PR’s. If other complicating factors are relevant, additional charges may still be payable.
If a partner of this firm or our trust corporation, WITCo, is appointed as a PR an additional fee of £750 will be charged.
Click here to open a table setting illustrating how our basic and percentage charges are calculated.
It can be hard to work out how much work will be involved in administering an estate – and what needs to be done determines how much our team will charge for doing it. In the early days after a death there may be a lack of information as to what the assets and debts of the estate are and it may take time for this to become clear. Generally, however, the larger and more complex the estate, the more work is required to administer it. Some examples of complexities might be:
- assets which are large or numerous such as multiple bank and building society accounts;
- assets in a form which takes extra time to deal with- for example shareholdings in paper form;
- assets which need special treatment, eg where the person who has died has an interest in a farm or a business;
- estates which divide between a large number of beneficiaries;
- complexities in calculating how much IHT is due, eg where reliefs and exemptions against the tax can be claimed, there are trusts involved or the person who has died has made gifts in their lifetime;
- where the assets of the estate do not seem to be big enough to pay debts.
We will therefore make an additional charge if particular factors are relevant to the estate, including:
- business or agricultural properties;
- property other than residential properties;
- properties which need administration, such as arranging clearance;
- assets outside England and Wales;
- life insurance and pension policies;
- shares held in the name of the person who has died rather than in a corporate nominee;
- complex issues in relation to the calculation of IHT such as lifetime gifts, agricultural and business relief and heritage property;
- issues relating to pre-death income tax;
- trusts either relating to the estate or arising under the Will or intestacy;
- any contentious issues arising in relation to the estate; and
- any other unforeseen complications.
Our additional charge will be based on the hourly rate of the members of the probate team who work on the matter and the number of hours they spend. Our hourly rates are as follows:
- between £655 and £690 for Partners
- £545 for Special Counsel
- £190 for Probate Executives
- £200 for Trust & Probate Administrators
- between £200 and £235 for Trainee Solicitors
Please note that these rates do not include VAT and disbursements. Please also note that our hourly rates may be varied on 1 July of each year. VAT is applied at the rate of 20% on our fees and, where applicable, disbursements.
We will provide the PR’s with an estimate of what any additional charges are likely to will be and will update them on this likely cost regularly during the administration. We will be able to provide a more accurate estimate when we have more information about the nature of any additional work which will be required.
Our fees for dealing with the administration of an estate do not cover any additional work that will be necessary for a house has to be sold or transferred. Conveyancing fees will be charged separately. This link provides further details about our services and charges for the transfer of residential property.
Various additional expenses will also be incurred. These are known as disbursements and will be payable to third parties. Some that will usually be incurred are as follows:
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £1 per copy grant
- £5 per executor for the swearing of the oath plus £2 per executor for each Will and codicil exhibited
- £1 per additional copies of the grant – we normally need between 10 and 20 per estate
- Bankruptcy search – £1 per beneficiary
- £84.60 for publicising in London Gazette and a range of prices for local/national newspapers up to protect the estate against unexpected claims
VAT may be added to some disbursements.
The charges above do not include taxes that may be payable by an estate, the person who has died and their PR’s or beneficiaries such as:
- IHT – see here for details on how this is calculated. This is a complicated tax at it can take a long time to agree the amount payable with HMRC;
- Income Tax;
- Capital Gains Tax.
We will need further information to be able to advise up whether these taxes are payable and, if so, how much.
On average, most estates are administered within one year of death. Typically obtaining the Grant takes around 12 to 16 weeks. Collecting in assets and agreeing and paying debts and IHT before distribution involves the remainder of the year. The more complex the estate the longer the administration will take.