How much does it cost to use Routh Clarke to administer an estate?
At Routh Clarke we understand how difficult it is for our clients when they are executors of an estate. Usually executors are spouses, family members or close friends of the deceased and to have to deal with an estate whilst grieving the loss of a loved one can be distressing for some people. We have all been through this process personally as well as professionally and so we believe we understand how to explain and help families through this complex process, using all our compassion as well as professionalism to make it an easier time for those that are grieving a loss.
Estate Administration Costs
Unlike many other solicitors we do not charge a percentage of an estate's value to perform estate administration, as we do not believe this is morally acceptable. We only charge by the amount of time it actually takes to perform the tasks involved. As you can imagine this time can vary dramatically depending on the complexity of the actual estate, such as number of bank accounts, properties and investments etc, plus on the number and type of beneficiaries i.e. charities/individuals etc. Our charges range from £255 per hour (+VAT) for our most senior solicitor to £126 per hour (+VAT) for our junior executives. The administration of a basic estate is likely to cost in the region of £3,000 plus VAT whilst complex estates may be well over £10,000 (+VAT). Once we have been given a background into the estate and its level of assets and debts, we will give the executors an idea of what the total costs will be.
There are some additional charges which we call disbursements as these are costs payable to third parties. These may include the Grant of Representation application fee which is presently £273, bankruptcy-only land charge searches which are £2 for each beneficiary based in the UK, overseas bankruptcy searches will cost in the region of £100 (+VAT). We also suggest statutory notices are placed in the London Gazette and a local newspaper, as this can protect executors from any future unknown creditors or unexpected claims, these presently cost about £250 in total. 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. If there are not enough liquid assets in the estate to pay this, we can discuss with you how this tax payment can be funded. The HMRC website has a very useful inheritance tax calculator if you wish to get a rough idea of how much will need to be paid.
Please note if or the Will is contested, due to its validity or perhaps there is a claim made under the Inheritance Act 1975 this can change the level of the costs involved with the administration of the estate and additional costs will more than likely be incurred. We will discuss this with you if it does happen, to try to ensure you understand not only the process but the level of costs this may result in.
Grant of Representation Application Costs
If you just wish for us to apply for the Grant of Representation, once the personal representatives have provided the asset and debt information, our charges are usually in the region of £750 (+VAT), but if the estate is extremely complex with a large number of IHT forms needing to be filled in, this may cost up to £2,000 (+VAT), however in our experience most of the estates we deal with are at the lower end of the charges scale. There will also be an additional charge for the Grant of Probate application fee which is presently £273 and is payable to the Probate registry. If extra copies of the Grant are required, these presently cost £1.50 per copy, we advise to order enough copies for each asset, such as bank accounts and investments. We will pay these costs on your behalf and add it to our final bill. This process normally takes between 6-10 weeks depending on the complexity of the estate and whether Inheritance tax is due.
How long will the Estate Administration process take?
Depending on the complexity of an estate we generally say that it can take between 6 and 12 months to administer an estate, but this does depend on whether property is involved as this can extend this period as it is impossible to say how long it will take for a property to sell. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 8-10 weeks. Once obtained, we would then collect in the assets, which can take between 6-8 weeks. Once the assets have been collected we produce the final estate accounts and distribute the assets according to the Will which can take 4-6 weeks depending on the number of beneficiaries and where they live. We are not able to deal with any transfer or sale of properties as we do not undertake conveyancing work, but we work closely with a local conveyancing firm to undertake this work on behalf of our clients to ensure a smooth administration of the estate.