Probate & Administration of Estates

Coupe Bradbury Solicitors

If someone has died without a will, their estate will be subject to the intestacy rules. These rules set out who will benefit from the estate in the absence of a valid will. In the absence of a will, the administrator of the estate may need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is the court order issued by the Probate Registry authorising the applicant to administer the estate

Not all estates will require a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and so can be administered informally.

The administration of an estate is the process of:

  • Identifying and collecting in the assets of the deceased
  • Identifying and settling the debts of the deceased
  • Identifying any gifts made by the deceased prior to their death
  • Identifying and obtaining the appropriate grant from the Probate Registry (if required)
  • Dealing with the completion and submission of any required Inheritance Tax return (including the valuation of assets and determining such exemptions and reliefs as may apply) (and making payment of any tax due)
  • Dealing with any income and/or capital gains received during the administration period
  • Distributing the estate in accordance with the will/Intestacy rules

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and every estate is different. Most issues can be identified during a detailed consultation regarding the estate, but some issues only arise during the administration of the estate and cannot be foreseen in advance.

At our first meeting, we will take full details of the estate and confirm our fees and the steps that will need to be taken in order to administer the estate based on the individual circumstances of each estate.

We are able to assist you in dealing with the entire estate, or just particular aspects of the administration.

It usually takes between 5 and 30 hours of professional time to deal with the administration of an estate, with most estates falling somewhere between this. Basically, the more work that is required and the more complicating factors that exist, the more expensive an estate will be to administer.

Our charges are calculated with reference to an hourly rate of £250, plus VAT and disbursements, so most estates will incur fees of between, £1,000-6,000, plus VAT & disbursements.

Some of the factors that can increase the costs of dealing with an estate:

  • Large numbers of individual assets held with different organisations
  • Complex arrangements (e.g. trusts)
  • Missing beneficiaries or information
  • Disputes between beneficiaries/executors
  • Claims against the estate
  • The discovery of new assets/liabilities
  • Gifts made prior to death
  • Disputes/challenges of valuations by HMRC
  • Rental properties and tenants
  • Foreign assets
  • Possible disbursements include:
  • Bankruptcy searches (made prior to any distribution)
  • Probate Registry fees
  • Land Registry fees (if the estate includes a property)
  • The cost of statutory notices (if required)
  • Stockbrokers/share registrars fees (if the estate contains shares)

We offer an initial without obligation telephone discussion to determine whether we can be of assistance to you, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like advice regarding the affairs of someone who has died and the administration of their estate.

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