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Probate and estate administration costs

The administration of an estate is varied and no two estates are identical. From estates with only two or three assets, where no Inheritance Tax is payable, to highly complex cross border estates which may involve substantial lifetime gifts, agricultural and or business property, and a number of beneficial interests, we recognise that there is no one size fits all when it comes to fees.

We take a holistic approach to how we can help you with aspects of the process which break down into two stages; work up to the point of applying for and obtaining the Grant of Representation (Stage One), and then Post Grant matters to conclude the administration (Stage Two). We offer a two stage pricing policy to reflect this.

Stage one

Our service is very much tailored to your requirements. Where an estate is not taxable and meets certain qualifying criteria to be “excepted” (which will include the majority of estates below the Nil Rate Band threshold (NRB) for inheritance tax or below £1m with full spouse or charity exemptions) then on average our fees to obtain the Grant range from £2,500 – £6,000 plus VAT.

In most cases, where a full IHT return is required in an estate, fees will typically be £3,500 – £10,000 plus VAT.

Where an estate is complex or high value our fees may be higher.

Often we are able to offer a fixed fee for this work to provide certainty to clients.

Typically stage 1 will involve:

  • Complying with Law Society and government regulations including client identification procedures
  • Receiving instructions and considering the validity of the Will (and codicil(s)) or application of the intestacy rules
  • Advising you on entitlements
  • Obtaining from you the information we need in connection with the assets and liabilities of the estate and registering the death with the Bereavement Register
  • Ascertaining and confirming details and valuations of the assets and liabilities
  • Ascertaining and confirming details of lifetime gifts
  • Preparing statutory notices for creditors, if required. The cost of the notices will be an administration expense
  • Preparing the Revenue account (IHT400 or IHT205) and supplementary documents and considering and calculating IHT (if applicable)
  • Arranging for the payment of tax and the submission of the Revenue account
  • Preparing Statement of Truth for the Executors (or personal representatives) and arranging for the signing of the papers and submission of the application for probate
  • Obtaining the Grant of Probate

Our list of services are outlined in the ‘key stages’ in the transaction.

The fees set out above are likely to be impacted by any of the following:

  • Where Cripps Trust Corporation Limited are appointed Executors and we undertake for example the registration of death, funeral arrangements and house clearance;
  • Availability of information and level of investigation required;
  • Co-operation of executors, beneficiaries and information holders;
  • Any disputes between parties or defective testamentary documents;
  • Nature and extent of assets and availability of IHT exemptions and reliefs including the Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000) /any Transferrable Nil Rate Band from a pre-deceased spouse or civil partner /Residence Nil Rate Band and any Transferrable Residence Nil Rate Band;
  • Multi Jurisdictional or trust elements;
  • Earlier lifetime giving and the impact of this on the available Nil Rate Band;
  • Agricultural or business property

Expenses and additional charges that you are likely to be required to pay include:

Probate court fees

  • £273 plus £1.50 for each office copy probate (no VAT)

Statutory advertising for Creditors

  • On average costs are around £200 (plus VAT*)

These are third party agency costs and vary depending upon where advertisements need to be placed. For example, just the London Gazette or the London Gazette and a local newspaper.

Professional valuations of property and shares

These are third party surveyor or broker costs and vary significantly depending upon the nature of the asset.

Costs of a professional valuation report for a property may range from £750 – £3,000 or more (plus VAT*). Costs may be higher for particularly high value or complex valuations or those that involve agricultural property and a tailored costs quote would be agreed before proceeding.

Portfolio managers may have a standard charge in their terms and conditions for providing formal probate valuations of investments.

We may instruct third party agencies to provide share valuations to comply with HMRC requirements. These are usually around £5-£7 per holding, subject to a minimum charge (usually £50) plus VAT*.

In some circumstances, it may also be necessary to seek valuations of business property, unquoted shares etc from accountants or other professionals. Tailored quotes would usually be agreed before proceeding with such instructions.

Land Registry and Land Charges searches

  • £6 (plus VAT*) for office copy entries of the title and title plan for any property in the estate.
  • £2 (plus VAT*) bankruptcy search fee for each name searched prior to any distributions being made.
  • Land Registry fees may also be incurred for any property transfer to a beneficiary which will be Land Registry Scale Two fees based on value of the property

Bank transfer charges

  • £35 (plus VAT*)

*VAT is charged at the rate of 20%

On average it takes between two and four months from the date of instruction to the point of being able to apply for a Grant of Probate and then a further six to eight weeks for receipt of the Grant.

Stage two

On receipt of the Grant of probate when we have a greater depth of knowledge about the likely progression of the estate then a further tailored quotation for Part Two will be provided. This will be based on our best estimate of the likely time to be spent to conclude the estate. Our hourly rates are as follows:

  • Paralegal £125 – £200
  • Trainee Solicitor £155 – £210
  • Probate Manager £190 – £330
  • Solicitor £190 – £430
  • Partner £350 – £530

The number of hours varies depending on the size and complexity of the estate, whether the estate is taxable and whether we are instructed just for Stage 1 or for both Stage 1 and 2. As an example, on a straightforward matter for Stage 1 the hours might be as low as 20, but it is not unusual of the total hours to reach 100 where the estate is more involved and we are asked to complete Stage 2 as well. High value complex estates particularly with overseas issues are likely to be multiples of that.

Typically this stage will involve:

  • Registering the Grant of Probate with third parties
  • Realising the assets of the estate and collecting the proceeds
  • Liaising with estate agents (and our residential property team) about the sale of property
  • Discharging liabilities
  • Making arrangements for the tracing of beneficiaries (as required) and informing identifiable beneficiaries of their entitlements
  • Paying legacies and obtaining receipts
  • Liaising with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) (and third parties as required) to agree estate asset values and determine the IHT (and CGT) payable
  • Managing the ongoing (and dealing with any final) payment of inheritance tax payable by instalments
  • Dealing with the income tax matters to the date of death and for the period of the estate administration (calculating and preparing returns and arranging for the payment of tax arising)
  • Preparing full estate accounts and dealing with the distribution of the residue to the beneficiaries.

Our list of services are outlined in the ‘key stages’ in the transaction.

The fees set out above are likely to be impacted by any of the following:

  • Where Cripps Trust Corporation Limited are appointed Executors and we undertake for example the registration of death, funeral arrangements and house clearance;
  • Availability of information and level of investigation required;
  • Co-operation of executors, beneficiaries and information holders;
  • Any disputes between parties or defective testamentary documents;
  • Nature and extent of assets and availability of IHT exemptions and reliefs including the Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000) /any Transferrable Nil Rate Band from a pre deceased spouse or civil partner /Residence Nil Rate Band and any Transferrable Residence Nil Rate Band;
  • Multi Jurisdictional or trust elements;
  • Earlier lifetime giving and the impact of this on the available Nil Rate Band;
  • Agricultural or business property.

If any of these assumptions are incorrect or change over time, the fees set out above may increase.

Expenses and additional charges that you are likely to be required to pay include:

Land Registry and Land Charges searches

  • £6 (plus VAT*) for office copy entries of the title and title plan for any property in the estate.
  • £2 (plus VAT*) bankruptcy search fee for each name searched prior to any distributions being made.
  • Land Registry fees may also be incurred for any property transfer to a beneficiary which will be Land Registry Scale Two fees based on value of the property
  • Bank transfer charges
  • £35 (plus VAT*)

*VAT is charged at the rate of 20%

On average this aspect of the administration can be expected to take a further 4-7 months from receipt of the Grant but this is highly dependent upon the complexities of the estate and the work required to be undertaken.