Our legal fees for administering a straightforward UK estate, whether or not there is a valid will, are usually in the region of 2.5% of the value of the gross assets, with a minimum fee of £2,500 plus VAT. This is for the full estate administration, but if assistance is required for only some specific elements of the administration, we can agree specific fees for the work required.
Our solicitors will always discuss the overall fee with you before we start any work and we won't start any work until the fee is agreed on by you and your family.
Our Legal Fees
As an example, a fixed percentage based on the gross value of the estate assets (e.g. 2.5% of the value of the gross assets plus VAT) based on an estate value of £395,000 would be £9,875 plus VAT but this may go up or down depending on the final estate value.
However the exact legal fee may vary depending on the composition of the estate assets and liabilities and their values. The percentage rate may vary if:
- The % rate may be lower where the estate is over £1million, especially if there are only a few assets
- The estate is very straightforward, with just a few assets of significant value
- The complexity of the likely administration, see the factors listed below, may require a higher fee.
Payments to third parties (disbursements) in addition to our legal fees
These typically include items such as*:
- A fee for swearing an oath, usually £7 per executor
- Probate court fees £155 plus 50p for each sealed copy
- Notices to creditors in the London Gazette & local newspaper, estimated between £150 and £200
Valuation fees for property, chattels and stocks & shares
- Estate agent fees, if selling an estate property.
- Conveyancing fees, if selling or transferring a property, including Land Registry fees
- Stockbroker/registrar fees, if selling or transferring shares and/or investments
- The cost of any insurances required
- Fees of our tax team or an accountant to finalise tax to the date of death
Any fees & disbursements, debts and Inheritance Tax payable will be paid from the assets of the estate.
*This is not an exhaustive list.
Factors Our Fees are Calculated On
Further charges may apply for the following (for which an additional estimate can be given, either as a fixed fee or according to estimated extra time):
- A large number of assets, beneficiaries or complex provisions in the will
- Any foreign property or foreign assets
- Any estate subject to claims for Agricultural Property Relief and/or Business Property Relief
- Dealing with any disputes or claims between the parties or relating to the assets, debts or tax.
Additional work that may be needed:
- Registering the death and arranging the funeral service
- Finalising the deceased’s personal tax affairs to the date of death
- Obtaining details of lifetime gifts (if information is not known to the executor)
- DWP overpaid benefit claims if an investigation is undertaken
- Negotiating with HMRC any valuations for IHT purposes
- Any planning or development issues relating to land
- Arranging indemnities relating to missing documents or certificates (plus any disbursement).
- Instructing any tracing agents to locate missing beneficiaries (plus any disbursement)
Additional work that may add value:
- Claims for the following (where applicable) to reduce the Inheritance Tax liability:
- Any Transferable Nil Rate Band from a late spouse
- The Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) and any downsizing addition
- Any used carry forward of a late spouse’s RNRB.
- Claims for loss reliefs to reduce Inheritance Tax (if assets are sold at a lower price than at the date of death)
- Advising beneficiaries on their own tax position or estate planning in connection with the transfer of assets to them
- Advising on any formal variation of the will or intestacy.
- Advising on any changes to the estate to secure/claim the reduced rate of Inheritance Tax where 10% of the net estate is left to charity (see Post Death Planning below).
- Obtaining details of aggregated trusts (if information is not known to the executor)
- Liaising with Trustees (or their agents) regarding any aggregated trusts for IHT purposes
- Setting up or winding up any trust created in the will
- Advising on any re-arrangement of a trust to secure more effective Inheritance Tax relief.
Post Death Planning
The new relief for Inheritance Tax on homes, introduced in 2017, is particularly complicated and in some cases additional work may be needed if the most effective use is to be made of this relief. This sometimes only becomes apparent as the estate develops, as it may depend on various factors, and is not always clear at the start.
If we identify any potential to better use the relief in your case, we would give you an estimate of additional fees for the advice and documents that would be needed to achieve the benefits, to give you the option whether to do this further work. The standard fixed fee Probate service is designed to administer the estate as it appears, on the information you give to us, and this would be additional work.