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Advice for you

Estate Administration and Probate Costs

How much does estate administration cost?

As every estate is different, we offer all new clients a free initial meeting to discuss their situation, the services required, and the likely costs. To arrange your free initial meeting, call us on 01202 499255.


Estate Administration Service Options

If you require assistance with the administration of an estate, the firm offers two service options, both separate from simply offering advice on an ad hoc basis charged at the relevant hourly rate of the team member involved. Individuals' hourly rates are outlined later on this page. 

1. Grant only applications

We can draft all the necessary paperwork required to lead to the issue of a grant of representation to enable the appointed personal representatives to administer the estate without our assistance.  This relies on the personal representatives providing all the details of the assets and liabilities in the estate at the date of death and all other information required to complete the papers.  

The fixed fees for this work are as follows: 

1.1 The application involves no inheritance tax return

£800 + VAT

1.2 Where the application involves no inheritance tax payable and the preparation of form IHT205 only.

A form IHT205 can only be required if the deceased died on or before 31 December 2021

£900 + VAT

1.3 As per 1.1 but with the addition of form IHT217

A form IHT217 can only be required if the deceased died on or before 31 December 2021

£1,000 + VAT
1.4 Where the application involves no inheritance tax payable but does require the preparation of form IHT400 and any schedules£1,450 + VAT
1.5 Where the application involves the payment of any amount of inheritance tax payable£2,500 + VAT

In every case, if any work is required over and above the preparation of the grant application papers this work will be charged on a time basis according to the hourly rate of the relevant fee earner instructed. 

Probate court fees 

In all estates there will be a probate court fee. The current costs of these, payable by the personal representatives, are currently as follows:

  • No charge if the net estate is below £5,000 
  • £273 if the net estate exceeds £5,000
  • There is a charge of £1.50 for each additional copy of the grant that is required

2. Full administration 

If you require our assistance in all aspects of the administration of any sized estate then our fees are based entirely on the time spent by all members of the team involved. It is quite possible that all members of the team will have some involvement at different stages of the administration, due to the requirements for different levels of expertise or availability of members of the team from time to time. 

The team is experienced in dealing with the administration of all manner of UK estates.

We can assist in all aspects of the estate, such as:

  • registering the death
  • arranging the funeral
  • all enquiries regarding the assets and liabilities of the estate
  • all enquiries regarding any lifetime gifts or trusts that may have a bearing on the estate
  • arranging valuations of property, stocks and shares and personal effects in the estate
  • lodging statutory notices if required
  • lodging will searches if required
  • arranging house clearance, if required
  • preparing statement of truth and inheritance tax papers, including corrective accounts if required
  • paying inheritance tax if required
  • receiving the grant of representation and collecting in the cash assets and arranging the sale or transfer of any stocks and shares or similar assets in the estate
  • paying all liabilities and administration expenses
  • bankruptcy checking all beneficiaries
  • paying all legacies
  • finalising the deceased’s self-assessment affairs up to the date of death and dealing with any administration period self-assessment requirements
  • dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate
  • following the sale of any property dealing with the final utility accounts and discharging any tax liabilities as a result of the sale
  • preparation of final estate accounts and, if required, income tax certificates for beneficiaries
  • making final distributions to beneficiaries

Hourly rates for our team

The rate at which we charge for each of our team is listed below. You can click on each team member's name to see their professional profile and experience.

Lee Young, Partner£285 + VAT per hour
James Hammersley, Partner£265 + VAT per hour
Heather Varley, Associate£240 + VAT per hour
Julie Frampton, Paralegal£195 + VAT per hour
Lauren Smallwood, Solicitor£195 + VAT per hour
Rhiannon Stevinson£195 + VAT per hour

Associated costs

The costs associated with the sale of any property in the estate are separate, as are the costs of setting up or closing down any trust associated with the deceased or arising as a result of the death.

We can advise or assist any beneficiary in connection with a deed of variation, but again this will be subject to a separate fee.

If the deceased holds assets abroad then, if we are able to assist with the administration of those assets, this also will be subject to separate fee arrangements.  Some jurisdictions allow solicitors from abroad to assist with the estate; some do not.

Should there be any dispute in connection with the estate or the deceased’s will that would be referred to colleagues in our Dispute Resolution Team, and would be subject to separate invoicing arrangements.

Third party costs

Third party costs, in addition to the probate court fees referred to above, might include:

  • statutory notice fees
  • valuation fees charged by a surveyor, stockbroker, jeweller, auctioneer or similar depending on the assets in the estate
  • an accountant’s fees, if instructed to deal with any self-assessment matters
  • registrar and stock broker commission fees connected with the sale of any stocks and shares
  • all costs connected with the transfer of a property

How long will estate administration take?

We are of course happy to do as much as you might require in finalising the administration of the estate but as our fees are based on the time spent the more we do the higher the charge, the less we do the lower the charge. 

The greater the number of assets that need to be dealt with, or the greater the number of beneficiaries in the estate, or the greater the number of issues that can arise in an estate all will contribute to more time being spent on the estate and therefore  a higher fee. 

Moreover, the time it takes to administer an estate is largely dependent on all of the above and the efficiencies of all third party companies or organisations involved.  The completion of all aspects of an estate that is subject to inheritance tax is particularly dependent on the speed and frequency of replies from HMRC.

It is therefore very difficult to give any sort of accurate estimate of the time scales that might be involved or indeed the overall charges.  In the simplest of estates a grant of representation can be obtained within just a few weeks and the whole estate might be completed before a more complex estate might have even reached the stage of lodging the grant application papers.  Where estates are subject to inheritance tax, it can often take between three and six months to lodge the application and a similar period once the grant has been issued before the estate can be completed.  The sale of the property, or finalising the deceased’s tax affairs, are often the two aspects of an estate that can ultimately delay the completion of an estate.

How much will full estate administration cost?

As regards fees, no meaningful guideline can really be provided.  For an estate which is not subject to inheritance tax our fees can be anything between £1,000 plus VAT and £10,000 plus VAT, depending on all of the issues referred to above.  If inheritance tax is in issue then the minimum fee is likely to be at least £3,000 plus VAT, and the total costs will depend on all of the other factors referred to above.

Every estate is different and there is no substitute to obtaining a specific estimate or quote based on the particular set of facts.  We will happily meet or speak with you on a no obligation basis and where possible provide a tailored estimate of the fees that are likely to arise.