If someone dies leaving a Will then they will have appointed an executor to tidy up their affairs and distribute their assets according to the terms of their Will.
If they have not made a Will (“an intestacy”) then an administrator, usually a family member, will be appointed by the court to do the same except that the assets will normally be distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules which are laid down by Parliament.
In both cases a grant of representation will have to be obtained. Where a Will has been left this is known as the grant of probate and, in the case of intestacy, a grant of letters of administration.
Such documents confirm the right of the executor or administrator to deal with the deceased’s matters.
Obtaining a Grant of Representation
This can be a long and time-consuming procedure depending on the size and nature of the estate and can place an onerous burden on the executor or administrator.
Initially, the representative needs to establish the composition of the estate and its valuation at the date of death. This does not only include those assets registered in the deceased’s name at the time of his death, but might include money or other assets that he or she has gifted during the last seven years.
After the information has been obtained and valuations have been completed, any Inheritance Tax needs to be assessed and all or part needs to be paid to HM Revenue & Customs before the grant of representation is given. This can cause difficulties in raising the money and in some cases it may prove necessary to borrow the funds until such time as the grant is issued and funds released to the estate.
After the Grant is obtained from the Court
Once the grant of representation is given, then the executor or administrator has the authority to deal with the assets in the deceased’s name and also to settle any outstanding debts as well as finalising the deceased’s Income Tax affairs, prior to distributing the estate to the beneficiaries
How we can help
- Grant only. We will obtain the grant of representation from the court, after which the executor or administrator will realise the deceased’s assets, settle their liabilities and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.
- Administration support. We will advise the executor or administrator regarding any queries or dealing with any difficulties they may encounter in administering the estate.
- Full Estate administration. We will carry out all the administration from the period immediately following the death, through the obtaining of the grant of representation, realising the deceased’s assets and settling their liabilities and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
All our work is carried out by qualified and highly experienced solicitors (Dee Hassan and Douglas Troup).
How much does it cost?
Our fees will vary according to the level of service you require. The price information given below is a general indication of costs based on our extensive experience.
Grant only services are provided on a fixed fee basis.
- For excepted estates, our normal fee for obtaining a grant and completing an IHT205 is £1,500.00 plus VAT and disbursements. An additional fixed fee of £250.00 plus VAT is chargeable where a transferable nil rate band is claimed.
- For non-taxable estates, our normal fee for obtaining a grant where no inheritance tax (IHT) is payable and an IHT400 is required, is £2,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements.
- For taxable estates, our normal charge for obtaining a grant requiring an IHT400 is £2,500.00 plus VAT and disbursements.
The fixed fees assume that the personal representatives provide all the relevant information and documentation and that it is not necessary for us to undertake any further investigation of the deceased’s estate. If that is not the case, and further investigative work is required, an additional charge will be made. We will discuss this with you and confirm our additional charge in advance.
Administration support services will be charged at our current hourly rates plus VAT and disbursements and will vary according to the amount and nature of the support required.
Our full estate administration fees will vary according to the size and complexity of the estate. In our experience, we find that, typically, our fee equates to 1.75% to 2.5% of the value of the gross estate plus VAT and disbursements. This applies to estates where:
- There is a valid Will or, where there is no Will, there is no dispute as to the appointment of the administrator
- There is only one property
- There are only three bank or building society accounts
- There are only five investments
- There are no other assets
- There are up to four beneficiaries
- There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the disposal or division of assets
- There are no enquiries by HMRC relating to inheritance tax
- There are no trusts under the Will
- There are no claims made against the estate
- There are no tax planning exercises to be carried out regarding the disposal of any assets
Disbursements are expenses that are payable to third parties. For example, the court fee for the grant (currently £155.00), certified copies of the grant (currently £0.50p per copy) and statutory advertisements, to protect against unexpected claims from unknown creditors (currently, in the region of £250.00).
How long does it take?
Where you are using our grant only service, once we have been given all the necessary information, it should take approximately four to six weeks to obtain the grant for excepted estates and seven to ten weeks to obtain the grant for taxable and non-taxable estates.
On average, administering an estate can take up to twelve months depending on the nature of the assets to be realised. For example, if there is a property to be sold, it will take as long as it takes to find a buyer and for the conveyancing to complete. Distribution of the estate can, however, be delayed where, for example, HMRC raises enquiries regarding the inheritance tax (which can delay the issue of the relevant clearance certificates) or if there is a potential claim against the estate under the Inheritance Act.