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Freeths - Law firm

Administration of an estate – Pricing Information

Dealing with an estate when someone has died can be daunting and it can be difficult to know where to start. At Freeths, we have a great deal of experience in dealing with the administration of estates and liaising with family and friends to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out.


You may have concerns about the costs of administering an estate. With this in mind, we provide a flexible administration service at competitive rates.


To give you help and guidance and to get the process started, we offer a free 30 minute consultation with one of our team during which we can discuss what an administration involves and your responsibilities. This meeting will also help identify whether there are any unusual aspects to the administration, upon which you may need specific advice.

We provide practical and legal assistance tailored to your needs, allowing you to decide how much or how little you and we do

The Administration

Every estate administration is different, and we tailor our service to the requirements of each administration. Our charges are based on the time we spend dealing with an administration and as a guide our estimated range of charges are set out below. These prices are for estates only with UK assets and UK connecting factors and do not apply to estates in dispute or subject to legal proceedings, or to estates with any non-UK element

As these prices are estimates for a standard case, you can ask us for a full case specific estimate by contacting us.

The prices we give may be increased if there are executors or beneficiaries who are missing, or there is missing information or documentation in relation to any asset.


Level 1: up to £9,000 including VAT

  • The deceased has left a Will and all the named executors are alive and have capacity, and the beneficiaries are all adult and absolutely entitled;
  • You are able to identify all the beneficiaries and they live in the UK;
  • You fully complete our Fact Find;

And will include the following subject to any qualifications expressed:

  • Obtaining the date of death values for the assets and liabilities of the estate where the estate consists of a up to 5 bank accounts, up to 5 certificated shareholdings and perhaps some chattels and where all relevant proofs of ownership are available.
  • Completing the inheritance tax return for an estate of this nature.
  • Arranging for the payment of any inheritance tax that is due and where assets are available from the estate to discharge this. Our price will not include the obtaining of external funding (such as a bank loan) for the payment of inheritance tax nor negotiations with HMRC for deferred payment.
  • Making a claim for the transferable nil rate band and residential nil rate band, if these apply and where all the necessary supporting documents are readily available and there is no downsizing calculation to be carried out.
  • Preparing and submitting the application for the Grant of Probate.
  • Collecting the assets of the estate, but not dealing with the sale of certificated shares.
  • Distributing the assets.
  • Reporting the income tax for the period of the administration where this qualifies for informal reporting.

Level 2: between £ 9,000 and £ 21,600 including VAT

A level 2 estate may consist of a property, a share portfolio, multiple bank accounts and chattels. The Will tends to be more complex and may include a number of legacies or multiple beneficiaries and the residue of the estate may be held on trust for one or more beneficiaries.

The estate administration will include:

  • All the aspects of the estate administration detailed under level 1.
  • The recovery of papers from the probate registry supporting a claim for the transferable nil rate band.
  • Verifying identity of legatees.
  • The completion of the inheritance tax return which will normally be reported on the longer inheritance tax form including ensuring all appropriate reliefs and exemptions are claimed.
  • Arranging for the payment of inheritance tax.
  • Dealing with any subsequent correspondence with HMRC and the District Valuer regarding the values of any properties held in the estate.
  • Reporting any necessary amendments in the value of the estate to HMRC and answering any queries raised by HMRC.

Level 3: from £21,600 including VAT

A Level 3 estate administration lends itself in the first instance to an initial meeting with you at which we will be able to provide a more detailed estimate based on the nature of the assets involved. The administration will include the aspects of estate administration detailed under levels 1 and 2.

The estate may also include foreign assets such as overseas property or bank accounts, commercial or investment properties, partnership or business assets or substantial shareholdings. There may also be more than one trust created by the Will.

The basis of our charges

Our fees for carrying out work during an estate administration are based on the hourly rates of the lawyer(s) who will be acting for you, which are set out in the table below. You will be advised of the lawyers who will be acting for you and their hourly rate when we start acting for you.

By way of explanation, for the purposes of time recording, an hour is broken down into ten units of six minutes each. Each activity will be recorded separately, with a minimum charge of one-tenth of the relevant hourly rate. For any activity that lasts longer than six minutes, the appropriate number of units will be recorded and charged. Please be aware that this means that there is a cost to every activity carried out on the file, be that, for example, making a telephone call, writing a letter, preparing an e-mail or reading/dealing with in-coming correspondence.

Hourly Rates

Status Hourly Rate
Partner £384.00 – £408.00 per hour including VAT
Director £336.00 per hour including VAT
Senior Associate £264.00 – £294.00 per hour including VAT
Associate Solicitor £249.60 – £282.00 per hour including VAT
Solicitor £200.40 – £222.00 per hour including VAT
Trainee Legal Executive £184.80 per hour including VAT
Legal Assistant £ 97.20 per hour including VAT
Secretary (for fee earning work) £ 61.20 per hour including VAT

Other expenses

There are fees which must also be paid during the administration. The usual disbursements and expenses will include the following:.

  • Inserting s25 Trustee Act 1925 notices in a local newspaper and The London Gazette – approximately £200 – £250 (including VAT);
  • Land Registry search fee for register entries – £3.60 (including VAT) per entry;
  • Bankruptcy search fees – £2.40 (including VAT) for each beneficiary;
  • HM Courts & Tribunals Service fee for issue of the grant of probate – £155.00 (no VAT); and
  • HM Courts & Tribunals Service fee for sealed copies of grant of probate – £0.50 (no VAT) per copy.

Additional costs

As well as the exclusions previously mentioned, work which falls outside the descriptions in Level 1 and Level 2 will be charged at hourly rates. This may include:

  • Arranging the funeral.
  • Tracing missing beneficiaries and executors and dealing with attorney executor appointments and applications for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed.
  • Missing Wills.
  • Applications for emergency Grants Ad Colligenda Bona.
  • Applications for Grants of Probate de Bonis Non.
  • Visits to properties in the estate and arranging maintenance.
  • Dealing with a person’s electronic estate and online asset base.
  • Dealing with the distribution of chattels when this is not dealt with by the family.
  • Calculation of Inheritance Tax on lifetime gifts including claims for Normal Expenditure out of Income Relief.
  • Advice on capital gains tax issues during the administration and also before the distribution of assets.
  • Inheritance tax planning.
  • Preparation of a deed of variation.
  • Advising about the constitution or management of trusts created by the Will.
  • Completion of tax returns both to the date of death and for the period of the administration (please ask for our guide and price list).
  • Dealing with the transfer or sale of properties.
  • Work done by partners and directors of this firm when they or the firm’s trust company or trust corporation are appointed executors.
  • Claiming the lower rate of inheritance tax of 36% for testators who leave a sufficient proportion of their estate to charity and advising in relation to the same.
  • Dealing with the apportionment of inheritance tax under re: Benham arrangements or conducting grossing up calculations.
Meet the team

Administration of an estate – Pricing Information Lawyers

Claire Bendle, Director

Claire Bendle

0186 578 1107

Kathryn Carter, Solicitor

Kathryn Carter

0845 274 6828

Nigel Cullen, Partner

Nigel Cullen

0115 936 9385

Charlotte Digby, Associate

Charlotte Digby

0845 030 5819

Natasha Dobson

0845 166 6345

Victoria Lymer, Solicitor

Victoria Lymer

0845 030 5735

Jane Maitland, Partner

Jane Maitland

0845 128 6963

Lisa Mark-Bell, Director

Lisa Mark-Bell

0186 578 1154

Scott McKittrick, Director

Scott McKittrick

0845 274 6851

Grace Quinn, Associate

Grace Quinn

0186 578 1133

Nigel Roots, Partner

Nigel Roots

0845 128 6962

Charlotte Royal
Senior Associate

0845 1666 344

Morwenna Scott, Solicitor

Morwenna Scott

0845 666 5000

Lilly Toop
Senior Associate

0845 271 6795

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

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Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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