Administration of Estates

Having the responsibility for the administration of a loved one’s estate may be daunting, especially at such a difficult time. At Beverley Morris & Co., our dedicated lawyers will lift the burden from your shoulders and keep you informed throughout the whole administration process.

We understand that losing a loved one is difficult.  Aside from the emotional fallout there is the practical administration of their affairs.  If you have been named as an Executor or will be dealing with an intestate estate; we can assist you to navigate this difficult time.

How may we help you?

Although every estate is different, the steps taken when dealing with an estate can be broken down as follows:

  1. Identifying the deceased’s assets and any liabilities, including gifts made during their lifetime and interests in any Trusts;
  2. Valuing the deceased’s assets, this may include the instruction of specialist valuers, depending upon the asset;
  3. Preparing the Inheritance Tax Return and the Statement of Truth;
  4. Submitting the Inheritance Tax Return and paying any Tax due. Inheritance Tax is due before an application for the Grant of Probate/ Letters of Administration can be made; usually the tax can be paid directly from one of the deceased’s bank accounts or in instalments – we can advise you as to the methods available;
  5. Making the application to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate/ Letters of Administration.

Steps 1-5 of administering an estate usually take 3 to 4 months but, again, this depends upon the complexity of the Estate.  Once the Grant/ Letters of Administration have been obtained the following steps take place:

  1. Registering the Grant/ Letters with all asset holders and collecting the assets in;
  2. Dealing with the payment of legacies or interim distributions to residuary beneficiaries;
  3. The costs of the sale of the deceased’s property are not included in our fees but we aim to offer a discounted rate for any probate sales;
  4. Preparing the estate accounts and final distributions.

The total time taken to fully administer an estate will vary but we advise up to 12 months, possibly more where there is a property to sell.

We base our fees on a percentage of the value of the deceased’s estate; on average this will be around 2% + VAT but the exact cost will depend on individual circumstances. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, the costs will be lower. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, the costs will be at the higher end.  We will always discuss your individual matter with you and provide you with a detailed estimate of costs at the outset of your matter.

Please contact us for more information:

+44 (0)20 8852 4433
privateclient@beverleymorris.co.uk

We will handle the full process for you. This estimate is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will.
  • There is no more than one property.
  • There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts.
  • There are no other intangible assets.
  • All assets are held in the UK.
  • None of the assets are business assets.
  • There are 1-3 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. 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.

As part of our fee we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate solicitor to work on your matter.
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries.
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require.
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application.
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms.
  • Draft a legal oath for you to swear.
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf.
  • Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you.
  • Collect and distribute all the assets in the estate.

In addition to our fees there will be disbursements, which are costs payable to third parties, such as court fees.  We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.  They include:-

Grant of Probate/ Letters of Administration application fee *£155
Swearing of the oath (per executor) £7
Copy Grant/ Letters (£1.50 each) £9
Land Registry search fee (per copy of the title of the property) £3
Bankruptcy search (£2 per beneficiary) £2
Advertisement of the Estate in the London Gazette plus a local newspaper (prices vary, but budget for) – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors. £220 – £300
plus VAT
*This fee is £215 if the probate application is made by an individual.

Potential additional costs

 If there is no Will or the estate consists of any shareholdings (stocks and bonds), there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information.

  • In order to value some assets, specialist valuations may be required in which case a fee would be payable to the valuer.
  • If any additional copies of the Grant are required, they will cost £0.50 each (1 per asset usually).
  • If the Will creates a Trust, there may be additional costs associated with the setting up of the Trust.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. Please see our conveyancing fees or contact us for further information.

Whether Inheritance Tax is due on the estate depends upon the size of the estate, the beneficiaries and whether any measures were put in place to limit the Inheritance Tax payable.  We cannot estimate the Inheritance Tax payable at the outset of your matter but you may find the HMRC guidance useful https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax

A solicitor who specialises in Probate matters will ensure that the administration of the estate is dealt with promptly and efficiently. They will also ensure that measures are taken to mitigate the amount of inheritance tax payable.

If you are seeking advice on the administration of estates that is not shown above, we may still be able to help. Please call or email us to find out more.
+44 (0)20 8852 4433
privateclient@beverleymorris.co.uk

Administration of Estates Team

Geoffrey Cohen

Head of Private Client
Blackheath Office
Email Geoffrey

Leanne Bloomfield

Blackheath Office
Email Leanne