Being an executor of someone’s Will can bring with it complications and sometimes onerous duties and the administration of an estate can often take many months (and sometimes longer) to complete. It is important to get it right because an Executor is legally responsible for administrating the estate according with the wishes of the deceased as expressed in his or her Will. The role of Executor comes with considerable administrative, legal and tax responsibilities. If you find yourself in this situation don’t worry, we are here to help.
If you are involved in an estate, whether as an executor, an administrator, beneficiary or in some other capacity, you will want to know what is involved and how much it will cost.
Key Stages of Administering an Estate
- Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators and beneficiaries
- Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require (grant of Probate where there is a Will, Letters of Administration where there is no Will, or, occasionally, Letters of Administration with a Will annexed)
- Obtain the relevant documents required to apply for the grant
- Details of all assets held by the deceased including valuations as at the date of death
- Details of all liabilities of the deceased as at the date of death
- Complete the grant application and the relevant HMRC forms
- Draft a statement of Truth
- Prepare and submit the application to the Probate Court
- Receive the grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
- Collect the assets of the estate
- Obtain clearance from Department for Work & Pensions
- Obtain clearance from the HMRC
- Place statutory notices in the London Gazette & local papers
- Pay Inheritance Tax/ Capital Gains Tax
- Insure property
- Ensure beneficiaries are not bankrupt prior to making payment to them.
- Prepare the estate accounts
- Distribute the estate according to the Will or Intestacy Rules
This depends upon a number of factors including the number of assets and liabilities but generally administering an estate can take many months although interim distributions of assets realised can be agreed as the matter progresses.
How our Fees are calculated
Our fees for administering an estate are calculated by reference to the amount of time spent on the matter and a percentage of the gross value of the estate.
The amount of time spent on the matter will vary for each matter and will largely depend on the number of assets (properties, bank and building society accounts, stocks and shares etc.) and the number of liabilities owed by the deceased. At the outset of the matter we will provide the Executor and, if appropriate, the residuary beneficiary, with an estimate of the anticipated time and will update this as the matter progresses.
In calculating the gross value of the estate assets that were jointly owned by the deceased and their spouse are excluded. The percentage charge varies depending on whether Loosemores are appointed as the executor or some other person is appointed.
Our time is charged on an hourly rate basis of between £165 – £217 depending on the seniority of the lawyer dealing with the work.
The value charge is calculated as a percentage of the value of the estate based on the following table: –
|Value Item||Where Loosemores are Executors||Where third party is Executor or Administrator|
|Main House (the property the deceased last lived in before his or her death)||0.75%||0.5%|
|Value of the remainder of the estate (including properties other than the main residence)||1.5%||1%|
The total charge is therefore the time charge plus the value charge (as above) plus VAT (currently 20%) and disbursements (see below).
For an estate where Loosemores are the executors, the amount of time spent is, say 10 hours where the work is conducted at an hourly rate of £185, comprising of a main residence valued at £250,000 and other assets valued at £100,000, the fees will be
|Time charge||10 x 185||£1,850.00|
|Value charge main residence||0.75% of £250,000||£1,875.00|
|Value charge other assets||1.5% of £100,000||£1,500.00|
Where Loosemores are not the executors the fees will be
|Time charge||10 x 185||£1,850.00|
|Value charge main residence||0.5% of £250,000||£1,250.00|
|Value charge other assets||1% of £100,000||£1,000.00|
Please note that VAT at the current rate (20%) is payable on our fees and the above fees do not include disbursements (see below). This is an example. The actual amount quoted could be higher or lower than these figures. We always ensure to keep clients informed as the matter progresses.
Disbursements (not included in the above fees)
Disbursements are expenses / fees related to the estate that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of disbursements on behalf of the estate.
The following is a list of anticipated disbursements in a standard administration.
- Probate application fee of £155 plus £1.50 for each additional copy
- Official copies of the grant £0.50p each
- Swearing of Oath (per executor) £7.00
- Bankruptcy – only land charges department searches – £2 plus VAT per beneficiary (there are additional costs for a foreign beneficiary)
- Advert in the London Gazette and a Local Newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors – approximately £200 – £230 plus VAT at 20%
- Search of the National Will Register £105
What our fee does not cover
The above fees are provided as an example only. Please contact us to provide us with full details and to obtain a more accurate quote. There are certain factors that we will not be able to take account of when providing you with a quote as these factors will not be known until the matter progresses. Factors which will increase our costs include the following: –
- Where there is a partial intestacy.
- Where there are infant beneficiaries.
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of the property in the estate is not included.
- Dealing with a claim by the Department for Work & Pensions.
- There is a claim against the estate by a third party under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
- There is a dispute between the executors or the beneficiaries. Any such disputes will impact on the time spent and therefore the fees charged.
- The sale of any properties included in the estate – our Property team will be pleased to provide a quote for fees for this aspect of the administration
- Any specialist tax advice required in connection with the estate
Probate Only Service for Simple Estates
Some clients prefer to deal with the administration of simple estates themselves. In such cases we are able to provide you with a quote of the work necessary to obtain the grant only leaving you to realise and distribute the estate yourself.
Our team can help obtain the probate on your behalf. This service will include:
- Completing the Probate application
- Submitting the application to the Probate Registry
- Receiving Grant of Probate
Price range for this service
£850-£1000 plus VAT.
If the personal representatives provide the valuations of assets and liabilities. The cost is unlikely to exceed £850 plus VAT.
This depends upon the number of assets and liabilities but generally this service can take between 4-8 weeks.
For example, an estate which has 1 asset and 1 beneficiary will take less time than a more complex estate.
Disbursements (not included in the above fees)
Probate Registry Fee – £155 plus £1.50 for each additional copy of the grant.
This information assumes that there is no Inheritance Tax payable and no foreign assets.
Our Probate, Wills and Trusts Team
Maria is a Partner and Head of the Private Client department at Loosemores. She joined the practice in 1979 as a legal secretary later qualifying as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executors in January 2003. She also became a STEP qualified lawyer and is an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a Dementia Friend. Maria is highly experienced and specialises in all aspects of Probate applications and the administration of estates. She is also engaged and has vast experience in preparing and advising on Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications.
Sabrina joined the Private Client Department as a Solicitor in September 2019 shortly after qualifying in June of that year. Sabrina graduated from Swansea University in 2013 with a First-Class degree in Law and completed her training contract with a Newport-based firm working within the Residential Conveyancing and Probate Department. She carries out a variety of work that includes Probate and Estate Administration as well as advising on and preparing Wills and Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Sabrina’s focus is to work with clients to ensure that they are advised appropriately, and their expectations are met whilst at the same time providing a friendly and efficient service.
Chris is a Legal Assistant who, over the years, has had several different roles in the firm. He joined the Probate team in approximately 2014 providing administrative support to Maria Cosslett in the handling of probate matters. Since joining the team he has gained considerable knowledge in the areas in which he works. He has direct and frequent contact with our clients with an informal and friendly approach.