Pricing guidelines - Administration of an estate

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    • The pricing guidelines on this page cover the work involved in the collection and distribution of money, property and other assets belonging to a person following their death, where these are all within the UK and the matter is not contested (that is, no-one is challenging the executors of the estate).
    • A Grant of Representation (sometimes known as a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration) will usually be required in order to enable the executors of an estate to access the assets held in the name of the deceased.
    • Our charges in such matters will vary depending upon the individual circumstances of the case and the level of help and advice required. We are more than happy to meet with you at an initial meeting to discuss your requirements and to provide you with an estimate as to the likely charges you would incur, should you decide to instruct us.

    Our fees (application for Grant only)

    • Our charges for such applications will vary depending upon the level of work required:
      • For non-taxable estates, where a shorter HMRC form IHT205 (and in some cases IHT217) is required, our fees will be in the region of £1,400 plus VAT (charged at 20%).
      • For taxable estates, where a full HMRC form IHT400 is necessary, our fees will be in the region of £2,750 plus VAT (charged at 20%).
    • There will be other costs in addition to the above – see the section on ‘disbursements’.

    Our fees (full administration of estate)

    • Our fees for a full administration begin at £3,000 plus VAT (charged at 20%) but can exceed £20,000 plus VAT (charged at 20%), depending upon the circumstances.
    • The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, with complex assets and inheritance tax issues to be resolved, our fees are likely to be at the higher end of the range.
    • We would provide a full estimate of likely charges after our first meeting with you, having established the relevant details to enable us to estimate the amount of work that will be required.
    • There will be other costs in addition to the above – see the section on ‘disbursements’.
    • In relatively simple estates, you may feel able, as executor, to deal yourself with the collection and distribution of the assets within the estate. You may, therefore, decide to instruct us on a limited basis simply to obtain the Grant of Representation on your behalf. You will be responsible for gathering the information at the outset, which we will then use to complete the relevant HMRC forms (for assessing whether inheritance tax is payable) and make the application on your behalf.

    Basis of charging

    • Our fees are based on the time involved in dealing with the issues (see later section on this page for a list of these). The average hourly charging rate of a legal advisor within the Private Client team is £225 plus VAT (charged at 20%). The actual hourly rate of the legal advisor involved in your case will be given to you at the outset of instructing us.
    • In certain circumstances, we may also charge a percentage element against the value of the estate. This is calculated as follows:
      • ½% on any real property within the estate
      • 1% on all other property within the estate
    • If we intend to charge a percentage element, this will be fully explained at the outset.
    • Our fees for the full administration of an estate will vary depending upon the following factors:
      • Whether there is a valid Will;
      • The number of bank accounts comprised within the estate;
      • The number of properties held within the estate;
      • Whether there are any non-property investments (such as stocks and shares);
      • Whether there is any business or agricultural property;
      • Whether the estate is taxable;
      • The number of beneficiaries;
      • The likelihood of disputes between beneficiaries as regards the division of assets;
      • Whether any claims against the estate are made*.

    *Please note that if the matter becomes contentious because a challenge is made to the validity of the Will, or a claim is made against the estate, the matter may have to be referred to our Contentious Probate team. Additional costs may be incurred. You will be fully informed and costs would be discussed with you at that point.

    Our related charges

    • We charge separately for dealing with the sale or transfer of any properties in the estate.
    • In some cases, the partners of Porter Dodson are themselves appointed as the executors of the estate. No separate fee is billed in such cases, but charges are made for the time spent on the matter by the individual partners appointed.

    Third party expenses (‘disbursements’)

    • There will be other costs payable in addition to those outlined above. These are fees and charges that we will need to pay on your behalf as part of the administration process.
    • The common charges incurred in the administration of estates include:
      1. Probate court fee. £273;
      2. Official copies of the Grant. £1.50 each;
      3. Statutory Notices (to advertise for creditors of the estate). These typically cost in the region of £200 - £300 plus VAT (charged at 20%);
      4. Bankruptcy searches. These are checks on individual beneficiaries to ensure they are not bankrupt, so the executors can legitimately pay them a distribution. They cost £2 per beneficiary. Checks on beneficiaries living overseas will cost considerably more than this – typically £150-£200 plus VAT (charged at 20%) per check;
      5. Inheritance tax. If the estate is taxable, at least part of the inheritance tax payable will need to be paid before the Grant of Probate is issued. We will discuss with you how that tax can be funded. In order to gain an idea of the likely tax bill, you can consult the inheritance tax calculator on the HMRC website.

    The work involved in a full administration

    • Ascertaining the assets and debts of the deceased at the date of their death and their respective values.
    • Preparing the necessary papers to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate (including the HMRC forms).
    • Providing advice about statutory notices and placing such notices if required.
    • Gathering in the assets, paying the debts and dealing with the distribution or transfer of the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will (or under the law of intestacy if no Will exists).
    • Settling any inheritance tax due, engaging in negotiations with HMRC’s Capital Taxes Office (if required) and obtaining the clearance letter from HMRC at the end of the administration.
    • Settling the income tax affairs of the deceased up to the date of death.
    • Dealing with any income tax or capital gains tax issues that may arise during the period of administration and preparing the estate’s tax returns.
    • Advising as regards the claim period for the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
    • Preparing a final estate account, which will be submitted to the executors for approval before final distributions are made to the beneficiaries.


    • In simple cases involving a Will and a limited number of assets, with no inheritance tax to pay, we would anticipate obtaining a Grant of Representation within 8 weeks of instruction.
    • Once a Grant has been obtained, the timescale for collecting assets and distributing the estate will depend upon a wide range of factors. It can range from a few months for simple estates to several years for complex ones.
    • It is possible to make a partial distribution before all work has been completed but this depends on the executors’ attitude to risk – in particular concerning early distribution before the expiration of the period allowed for claims against the estate. We would discuss this fully with the executors at that point.

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    Related services

    We also undertake:

    • Will-writing
    • Powers of attorney
    • Trusts & settlements
    • Age-related financial planning
    • Court of protection
    • Funding care

    For full details of the services provided by our Private Client Team, please click here.

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