Probate solicitors - estate administration

Dealing with a bereavement is difficult enough but sometimes you might also be required to handle the administration of a loved ones estate.

You may have to arrange the funeral, go through personal papers to find out what assets and debts there may be, apply to the probate registry and deal with beneficiaries and other family members. Being a personal representative of an estate can be an onerous task. We can help by advising personal representatives what to do and even deal with the entire estate on your behalf.

We aim to make our estate administration pricing as transparent as possible. We strive to achieve this by providing all inclusive fixed prices for our probate services rather than charging hourly rates or complex percentage rates based on multiple variable.

If you would like to speak to a specialist probate solicitor in relation to the administration of an estate please call us on 0203 837 3658 for a no obligation initial chat with one of our friendly advisors. 

Evening and Saturday appointments are available in some locations, contact us for more information.

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Probate and estate administration - areas of specialism

  • Obtaining grants of probate (if there is a Will) and grants of letters of administration (if there is no Will)
  • Dealing with the administration of an estate and distribution to beneficiaries
  • Preparation of estate accounts for personal representatives
  • Preparation of and advice on inheritance tax returns
  • Post-death arrangements to reduce inheritance tax

Probate - estate administration FAQs

Do we need to go through probate?

Depending on their value, assets which are held in a person's sole name (property, bank accounts, shares and other investments) will often require a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration before they can be cashed in or sold. Some assets are owned jointly such as a joint bank account or a jointly owned house. Grants are not usually needed for these assets to pass to the surviving joint owner. The value of the share may have to be declared for inheritance tax though.
 

How long does probate take?

The "probate" procedure involves the personal representatives getting values of assets, taking from this any debt amounts and then sending an affidavit and details of value of the estate to the probate registry. The time involved largely depends on what is in the estate. If there is only a house then it will depend on the housing market and how quickly a sale can be agreed. If there are bank accounts (over £5,000 usually) then you may be able to get the grant within about one month. If there are shares however if could take longer. The more wide ranging the types of assets there are in an estate the longer it could take. If inheritance tax has to be paid, the values of the assets in an estate may have to be agreed with the inland revenue and this could take time.
 

Do we have to pay any tax?

There are three taxes which could apply when administering an estate. There may be inheritance tax to pay on the value of the net estate. There could be capital gains tax to pay on the gain in value of certain assets (e.g a house or shareholding investments) between the date of death and the date of sale. Income tax could be payable on any "income" into the estate since the date of death (e.g. bank interest since the date of death).
 

What do we do about debts?

If the estate is solvent (there are more assets than debts) then the debts are usually paid off after the personal representatives have collected in all the assets once they have obtained the grant. Sometimes gifts in a Will are left subject to a charge or secured debt. Sometimes a Will sets aside a fund for the payment of debts. A properly drafted Will should provide the personal representatives with all they need to know about how debts should be paid from the estate.
 

Do we need to keep records?

Personal representatives should keep records of the funds they have collected in and debts they have paid out from the estate. The beneficiaries of an estate may be entitled to see an estate account when they receive their share of the estate.

Solicitors for the Elderly - Accredited

Probate Video Panel

  • Guide to probate - what to do when someone dies

    Dealing with the financial affairs of a loved one who has died is a challenging responsibility at an already emotional and stressful time. Our team of experienced solicitors are here to assist you with this simple guide of what to expect.

    [youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSvVi4CRSVY"]

How much does probate cost?

Grant of probate/grant of letters of administration only - £849 plus VAT*
Executors/administrators can then deal with the administration of the estate after we have obtained the grant for them.
 
Dealing with entire estate (obtaining grant, collecting in assets and distributing to beneficiaries)
Average estate values are under £325,000 and with no inheritance tax payable, where this is the case our average prices are :
 
Basic price range
Estate of 1 property and up to 4 accounts - £1,500 plus VAT*
Estate of 1 property and from 4 up to 10 accounts - £2,100 plus VAT*
 
Additional costs relating to the administration of the estate
If there is no Will there will be an additional charge in relation to the increased complexity £300 plus VAT*
 
Banded fee scale in relation to number of shareholdings/stock
Additional fee as follows:
1 to 3 share holdings - £100 plus VAT*
3 to 5 share holdings - £250 plus VAT*
6 plus share holdings - £300 plus VAT*
 
Banded fee scale in relation to number of beneficiaries
Additional fee as follows:
3 to 5 beneficiaries - £100 plus VAT
6 plus beneficiaries - £250 plus VAT
 
*Disbursements
  • Probate Court fee of £155
  • £0.50 for each office copy of the grant required (1 per asset usually)
  • £3 plus VAT HM Land Registry official copy entry
  • £2 bankruptcy search
  • £5 plus VAT for electronic ID search
  • HM Land Registry registration fees based on scales and the value and status of the property
  • Other disbursements will be advised as required, e.g. accountant’s fee for potential income tax return, statutory advertisement fee to advertise for unknown creditors, asset tracing fee
  • There may be additional disbursements for lost share certificates and share registrar and/or sale agent fees on transfer or sale of the shares
  • S27 Advertisements in the London Gazette and a local newspaper in from £150 - £300 depending on the local newspaper advertising costs.
  • Stockbroker fees - £25 - £150 depending on the number of shareholdings to be dealt with.

How long will the probate process take?

If obtaining a grant of probate only the process will typically take 4-8 weeks, the full administration of an estate can take around 6 months as the process is reliant on 3rd parties.

Key stages of obtaining grant of probate

  • Taking instructions,
  • Obtaining estate values from executor
  • Preparation of oath and HMRC forms
  • Attendance to swear oath
  • Submission to Probate Registry/HMRC
  • Obtaining grant and copies and provision to executor 

Key stages - administration of estate

Our prices include the following:

  • Taking instructions
  • Obtaining estate values
  • Preparation of oath and HMRC forms
  • Attendance to swear oath
  • Submission to Probate Registry/HMRC
  • Payment of tax (if any)
  • Obtaining grant and copies
  • Providing these to financial institutions
  • Collecting in assets
  • Preparation of estate accounts
  • Obtaining executor approval and distribution of the estate 
  • *not included in the price are the sales fees on properties, estate agency, taxes and  HMLR fees.

What qualifications do the team hold?

All estate administration work is supervised by a qualified solicitor. Specific experience can be seen in the individual staff profiles.

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I lost my best friend and Stephensons helped me through this very tough period of being the executor. I found them to be extremely helpful and efficient. They told me exactly how the process would work step by step. They never failed to answer any of the many emails I sent. I felt very fortunate to have had them working for me. I would not hesitate to recommend them.
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