The body that regulates our legal work, the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, requires us to publish particular details about the likely legal costs involved in carrying out certain types of work. One aspect that applies to Churchgates is the collection and distribution of assets in an individual’s estate following their death, where there are no arguments about how this should be done and where all those assets are situated within the UK.
It is difficult to be very specific about our costs for this service, as each person’s estate is different. Our charges are calculated on the basis of the time taken. The hourly rate of our solicitors that deal with this type of work ranges from £225 plus VAT per hour to £275 plus VAT per hour, depending on the solicitor involved. The total professional fees for dealing with a straightforward estate where no inheritance tax is payable (and no requirement to file a full account with HM Revenue and Customs) are typically estimated at between £2,000-£5,000 plus VAT.
The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.
We will handle the full process for you. This estimate relates to estates where:
- There is a valid will
- There is no more than one property
- There are no more than five bank or building society accounts
- There are no other intangible assets
- There are one to five beneficiaries
- There are no claims made against the estate
Other costs not included in this fee:
- A Probate application fee of £155, payable to the court.
- £7 fee, per executor for “swearing” (confirming they are true and accurate) documents being filed with the Court. Additional fees will be payable if there are Codicils, which are formal amendments to an individual’s will.
- Advertising in the London Gazette and local papers – these advertisements protect the executors against unexpected claims from people the deceased owed money to.
These other costs are those related to our work that are payable to third parties, such as the court. We handle the payment of these costs (often called disbursements) on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
How long will this take?
On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within four to six months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate from the Court takes six to twelve weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between four to twelve weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes two to four weeks.
Potential additional costs
- If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds), or involves any agricultural or business assets, claims for inheritance tax reliefs or requires a full account to be completed for HM Revenue and Customs there will be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
- If any additional copies of the grant of probate are required from the Court, they will cost 50p each (1 per asset usually).
- Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.
- Dealing with any formalities or the administration of any Trust established by the will is not included.
- Completing a Self-Assessment Tax Return to the date of death and any additional years required and, if required, Tax Returns for the period while the estate is being administered.
- Calculating any Inheritance Tax, Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax that is owed.
- Ensuring payment of any outstanding tax from the estate.
- Calculating and arranging for the transfer of any nil rate band allowance, if available, in order to reduce inheritance tax.
- Taking any corrective action required by HMRC during the estate administration process.
- Taking any action to vary the terms of a will in order to re-arrange the distribution of assets from the estate, whether for tax planning or family reasons.
Who will deal with your affairs?
We have three members of our team who may work on your matter. Regardless of who may be your day-to-day contact, they will be supervised by Matthew Boardman, a director and the head of our legal department. The other members of our probate and estate administration team are Joanne Clayden and Suzanne Alston. Matthew and Suzanne are qualified both as solicitors and chartered tax advisers and all of our team have considerable experience and expertise in dealing with complex and high value estates, as well as inheritance tax matters.