Bray & Krais have individuals who can deal with the administration of high value estates which can often incorporate detailed inheritance tax returns and negotiations with H M Revenue & Customs. Details of our fee earners and their expertise in these matters can be accessed here.
Our legal fees for administering a simple UK estate (with or without a valid Will), are approximately in the region of 2.5% of the value of the gross assets (with a minimum fee of £3,000).
For example, a fixed percentage based on the gross value of the estate assets (e.g. 2.5% of the value of the gross assets) based on an estate value of £400,000 would be £10,000 (however this amount may vary depending on the final estate value and other unforeseen factors). We consider a simple UK estate to be one which is based solely in England & Wales and the deceased died domiciled in England & Wales. Furthermore an estate which has or is likely to become contentious (e.g. family members querying the validity of a Will) or one that has cross border issues is unlikely to be considered a simple estate. Our fee estimates are calculated on an hourly basis. The charge out rates for our fee earners vary between £195 and £375 per hour plus VAT (i.e. between £234 and £450 per hour) depending on their experience and seniority.
Other additional costs to consider that will be added to the invoice are Probate Fees which are set by the UK government. These will be added to any tax that is due on the estate. There are also other payments to third parties (disbursements) in addition to our legal fees which typically include items such as:
- Notice to creditors in the London Gazette and local newspaper, estimated between £150
and £200 plus VAT (i.e. between £180 and £240).
- Valuation fees for property, chattels and stock and shares.
- Cost of any insurances required.
(Please note this is not an exhaustive list and any of the above listed fees and disbursements together with any debts and payable inheritance tax will be paid from the assets of the estate).
What we will do
Our role will be to identify the type of probate application needed, review the Will to determine who the executors and beneficiaries are ( the same applies if there is no Will), complete the grant of representation and relevant HMRC forms, make the relevant application to HMCTS Probate, obtain the grant of representation and collect and distribute all assets in the estate ( this does not include any conveyancing work required).
Generally, simple estates take 5 – 10 months to administer as outlined above. Obtaining the grant of probate takes 3 – 6 months, after this the assets are collected and estate accounts are drafted which can take a further 2 – 3 months. After these matters are dealt with, the assets are then distributed to the beneficiaries which usually takes 1 month.
If there is no Will, costs may vary significantly depending on the value/nature of the estate and how it is distributed. In these circumstances we will provide a separate fee estimate once all the relevant factors have been established.
All fees and costs shown above are exclusive of VAT (unless otherwise stated) which will be added where applicable to each invoice. Our rates are subject to review annually on 1 May each year. If the rate applicable to a particular matter is varied through that review the client will be notified in writing at the time.