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 application for the Grant;;
  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.

It doesn’t have to be.

We have three levels of service.

Grant Only – Fixed Fee

We charge a fixed fee of £850.00 plus VAT for dealing with inheritance tax (form IHT205) and application for the Grant of Probate.   We will prepare the necessary Inheritance Tax documents and Probate application form based on the information provided.   The Personal Representative will be required to obtain probate statements for any bank accounts, valuations of any property and details of any liabilities.

A return will have to be made to HM Revenue and Customs even though no inheritance tax may be payable.  There are different forms depending on the circumstances of the Estate.  Our basic charges for the preparation of inheritance tax forms are:

Return of estate information plus claim to transfer unused nil rate band in forms IHT205 and IHT217 £200 plus VAT
Inheritance tax account in form IHT400 where there is no tax to pay £275 plus VAT
Inheritance tax account in form IHT400 where there is tax to pay £350 plus VAT

The above fees are in addition to our fixed fee of £850 plus VAT.

Full Probate – Percentage

This covers all stages of the administration of an Estate from writing to the asset holders to obtain valuations, to obtaining Grant, to preparing the Estate Accounts and distributing the Estate.

We charge between 1.25% and 2% of the gross value of the estate.  Our fee is based upon the complexity of the matter including the number and types of assets, whether there is any inheritance to pay and the number of beneficiaries.

For example, for an estate worth £750,000 made up a property worth £500,000 and bank account savings of £250,000 would likely to work out to be £9,375 plus VAT

This sample quote is based on the following:

  • There is a Will or beneficiaries who are easily ascertainable under the intestacy rules;
  • There are no more than 5 beneficiaries;
  • There are no claims against the Estate or likely disputes between all parties;
  • There is no more than one property and no more than 5 different bank accounts; and
  • All assets and beneficiaries are situated in the UK.

Full Probate – Fixed Fee (for small estates up to £125,000)

We charge a fixed fee £1,250.00 plus VAT for dealing with inheritance tax and application for the Grant of Probate for smaller estates with a gross value of less than £125,000.

Please contact us for more information:

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

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
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 – £400
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.
  • For dealing with the assent of a property – £250 plus VAT
  • For preparing a Deed of Variation (if required) – £250 plus VAT

We will add VAT to the charge at the rate that applies when the work is done.  At present VAT is 20%.

We will always be happy to discuss your particular matter with you and endeavour to offer a competitive fixed fee quotation.

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

Any additional work not previously quoted for will be charged at an hourly rate of between £200-£250 plus VAT, depending on the solicitor who is responsible for the day-to-day conduct of your matter.

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 Beverley Morris And Co. Solicitors

Geoffrey Cohen

Head of Private Client
Blackheath Office
Email Geoffrey

Leanne Bloomfield

Blackheath Office
Email Leanne