How much would Fairweather Law charge to administer my estate?
Fairweather Law charge on what is known as a ‘time cost’ basis.
This means that we only charge for the work we do at an agreed rate. In practice this means that at the beginning of the instruction we provide an initial quote, say £2,000 plus VAT. We then record the time it takes to complete the work and charge at the agreed hourly rate. If we complete the work and it takes less time than we expected, then we’ll charge the lower fee. If the estate takes longer to complete than we initially expected, we will advise the instructing party in advance of reaching the £2,000 limit and seek further instructions. All fees are subject to VAT at 20%.
We will never charge a percentage of the estate.
What are your hourly rates?
Each person in our firm has a different hourly rate depending on their experience and expertise. Below is a guide. These hourly rates will not change during the course of an instruction.
£300 plus VAT
£200 plus VAT
£150 plus VAT
What are your typical fees?
Each estate is different so it is difficult to say precisely how much any one estate will cost to administer. For example, a low value estate might still be very time consuming to administer or a high value estate might be very straightforward. To give a very rough idea:
Features of Estate
No property, no shares, few beneficiaries
£2,000 plus VAT - £5,000 plus VAT
Property, shares, few beneficiaries
£5,000 plus VAT – £15,000 plus VAT
Property, shares, many beneficiaries,
£15,000 plus VAT - £50,000 plus VAT
Again, this is not an exact science with probate work. A simple estate can be completed in three or four months and a more complex estate can take over a year to complete. We will endeavour to provide you with a more accurate timescale in our initial meeting.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Potential disbursements include:
- Probate Court Fee of £273 for estates with a value exceeding £5,000
- £1.50 per copy of the grant (the number required will depend on the particular estate)
- Bankruptcy only land charge search fee: £2.75 plus VAT per beneficiary
- Land Registry office copies: £6 per property
- Advertisements in the London Gazette and local newspapers (this protects from unwanted claims from unknown creditors) approximately £275 plus VAT depending on the newspaper.
The other most common costs are tax (inheritance tax, income tax, capital gains tax) and valuation fees. You may find it helpful to use the HRMC inheritance tax calculator which can be accessed here
We usually deal with the whole process of the administration of the estate, which will include:
- Ascertaining and obtaining valuations for the assets and liabilities of the estate, including joint or trust assets and generally gathering the information required to complete the probate papers;
- Obtaining details of any gifts made by the deceased in the seven years prior to death;
- Obtaining details of any assets in which the deceased had reserved a benefit;
- Identifying the beneficiaries;
- Drafting the necessary statement and other papers for HMRC (Inheritance Tax) and the Probate Registry;
- Applying for and obtaining the grant of representation;
- Realising the assets of the estate;
- Settling the estate liabilities, inheritance tax and administrative expenses;
- Preparing and updating estate accounts; and
- Distributing the residuary estate in accordance with the will.
Clients may prefer to undertake some of these tasks themselves and we are happy to discuss with you which aspects of the administration you would like us to undertake for you. A useful resource which helps to explain the probate process can be found here
Property work is charged separately and if there is a house in the estate to be sold, we will provide a quote for the conveyancing work and disbursements.
The fees for dealing with more complicated estates may be higher. Examples are where there is a dispute, the assets are worth significantly more, the estate includes a business or private company shares or there are assets overseas.
Who will have conduct of my matter?
Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by an appropriately qualified practitioner. Jack Fairweather, Solicitor and Head of Department, will have overall supervision for all practitioners within the department.
What are my next steps?
We offer a free half an hour consultation where we can provide you with a more accurate quote based on the information you provide us with. We will do our best to keep to within that quote and let you know as soon as we are approaching the limit of what you have agreed to pay.