Each estate is unique and will involve a range of different issues to be dealt with. When we handle the full administration of an estate we will deal with the following on your behalf (though not limited to):
· Liaise with financial instructions to obtain valuations of accounts
· Arrange for the funeral bill to be paid before Probate is obtained
· Instruct a chartered surveyor to value any property
· Instruct an estate agent to market any property
· Arrange for any property to be cleared
· Ensure any property is insured
· Liaise with utility companies regarding any property
· Claim the appropriate Council Tax reliefs for any property
· Instruct a stockbroker to value any quoted securities
· Notify beneficiaries and keep them informed
· Place statutory notices
· Prepare a detailed schedule of assets and liabilities prior to Probate being obtained
· Advise in relation to Inheritance Tax and potential savings
· Prepare and file the Inheritance Tax return
· Arrange for payment of Inheritance Tax
· Deal with any queries from HMRC regarding the Inheritance Tax return
· Prepare and file the Probate application with the High Court
· Register the Grant of Probate with the various financial institutions
· Close accounts
· Transfer property/shares
· Assist with the sale of any property
· Finalise the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax affairs of the deceased
· Pay any outstanding bills from the estate
· Arrange to pay legacies and interim payments to the beneficiaries
· Claim any refunds of Inheritance Tax that may be due to the estate
· Obtain appropriate clearance from HMRC in relation to Inheritance Tax
· Finalise the estate’s Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax position
· Prepare deeds of appropriation to maximise Capital Gains Tax reliefs
· Prepare deeds of variation as part of a proactive approach to estate planning
· Prepare final estate accounts
· Deal with the final distribution of funds to beneficiaries
Our charges when dealing with the full administration of an estate are calculated by reference to the hourly rate of the solicitor handling the matter as well as a value element. Our solicitors charge between £120 per hour, for a junior member of staff, up to £245 per hour, for a partner.
The individual hourly rates for the solicitors and fee earners in the Private Client Department at Dickinson Parker Hill, which are reviewed annually, are:
We charge a value element in accordance with recognised Law Society guidelines. When we act as an executor we charge 0.75% of the value of any property comprised within the estate and 1.5% of the value of all other assets in the estate. When we act on behalf of the executors we charge 0.5% of the value of any property comprised within the estate and 1% of the value of all other assets in the estate.
These value elements reflect the responsibility placed upon our firm when handling the administration of an estate and reflect the risk taken on by our firm when dealing with an estate.
There are, generally speaking, no upfront costs to pay as our Probate fees are deferred and will be taken from the Estate once it is in receipt of funds
Many firms, regulated and unregulated, will only offer fixed fees for full administration services. We do not believe that is always in your best interests as in many cases a fixed fee can end up being significantly more expensive than if the matter was charged on a time recorded basis.
We simply believe we should be paid for the work we have actually undertaken rather than what we might undertake, which is how fixed fees are calculated.
The factors that can determine the costs associated with the administration of an estate include:
· The value of an estate
· The number of beneficiaries
· The number or organisations that need to be contacted
· Whether the estate involves a trust
· The number of properties held by the deceased
· Whether Inheritance Tax is applicable
· Whether the deceased died intestate (without a Will)
· Whether the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds)
· Whether there are any overseas assets
The precise cost will depend on the circumstances.
We will always provide you with an estimate of what we believe the administration costs will amount to before probate is obtained and should this change we will advise you in writing.
As well as our fees there will also be additional disbursements that would need to be paid in order for the matter to successfully proceed. When handling the full administration we will normally arrange for these to be paid on your behalf and reclaim them from the estate at a later date. These types of fees will include, though are not limited to:
· Probate fees – £155 (plus 50p for every sealed copy of the grant required)
· Swear fees – £5 and £2 per exhibit for each oath that needs to be sworn
· Bankruptcy searches – £2 per beneficiary per distribution
· Statutory Notices – £150-£200 (placed in the London Gazette and the local paper)
There may also be additional disbursements depending on the estate. These can include though are not limited to:
· Accountants fees (Income Tax returns)
· Stockbroker’s fees (Probate valuations of shares and on sales)
· Surveyors fees (Probate valuations of property/land)
· Estate Agents fees (on sale of property)
· HM Land Registry fees (transfer of property and/or first registration)
How long will it take?
If the estate is straightforward and there is no property to sell, we would estimate that the administration would normally be completed within 3-6 months.
If the estate is straightforward and a property is being sold during the administration of the estate, we would estimate that the administration would normally be completed within 9-12 months.
The individual circumstances of the estate can increase/decrease these estimates and they are provided as guide only.