At Heringtons we pride ourselves on offering a clear pricing structure for the high level of service we provide. We ensure there are no hidden charges. Not all firms offer the same level of service and this is reflected in the fees charged. Heringtons do not charge fixed fees so you will pay a fair price which reflects your particular situation.
Every Estate is different often in ways that cannot be anticipated at the start. The type of assets and their value have a significant effect on the work involved and the responsibility we accept. We take this into account by charging for our services based on the time spent (the ‘Time Element’) and by reference to the value of the Estate (the ‘Value Element’). At the end of the administration of the Estate we review our overall fee to make sure that it is fair and reasonable to you.
The Time Element is based on the time recorded by your lawyer at the following hourly rates (all rates are EX-VAT):
You will be offered an appropriately skilled lawyer with additional expertise readily available.
The simple examples below illustrate the time which might be involved in certain situations including time spent by Accounts Executives preparing the Estate Accounts and a supervising Partner overseeing the administration:
The administration of an Estate valued up to £50,000 (usually with a sole Executor who is also the sole beneficiary) is likely to be concluded within 5 hours. The charge attributed to time for such an Estate would probably be between £1,000 and £1,600 plus VAT.
The administration of an Estate valued between £50,000 and £200,000 (usually where no house or land is owned) may be concluded in between 5 and 15 hours. The charge attributed to time would probably be between £1,600 plus VAT and £4,800 plus VAT.
The administration of an Estate valued between £200,000 and £500,000 typically with a house and investments held on the Stock Exchange would be expected to take at least 15 hours and up to 50 hours to conclude. The charge attributed to time would probably be between £4,800 plus VAT and £16,000 plus VAT.
These ranges are wide because the factors that affect the time spent are many and varied. To help you understand where your case might fall within that range the factors to consider are:
- The terms of the will. For example, where the Will creates a Trust or makes numerous gifts of specific chattels more time will be required to ensure that the terms are met.
- The type of assets held. Where an Estate consists mainly of cash held in standard bank accounts we would expect to spend less time collecting these in than if the same sums were held in the form of shares in a family company or valuable art pieces.
- The number of assets held will also affect the time spent as each asset must be dealt with individually.
- The number of executors can also affect the time spent in administering the Estate as we will often require instructions from each Executor before we can take action.
- The number of beneficiaries also has an effect, particularly where there are numerous beneficiaries as we are required to identify each individually and carry out bankruptcy searches prior to releasing any funds.
We will make clear to you how these matters affect the Estate you are dealing with before we do any substantial work and you should approach your lawyer if you have questions at any stage of the administration.
The Value Element of our charges is based on a percentage of the gross value of the Estate under the Executors’ control. We recognise that a person’s home often forms a large part of their estate so we only take into account half of its value. The percentages below are based on court approved guidelines which apply to all estates:
Gross Estate Effected Percentage Charged
Up to £1,000,000 1% (or 1½% if our Partners act as Executors)
£1,000,001 to £4,000,000 ½ of one percent
£4,000,001 to £8,000,000 1/6th of one percent
£8,000,001 to £12,000,000 1/12th of one percent
Over £12,000,000 1/24th of one percent
The guideline Value Element in the example Estates above would be:
- An Estate valued at £50,000 would attract a Value Element of £500 plus VAT
- An Estate valued at £200,000 would attract a Value Element of £2,000 plus VAT
- An Estate valued at £500,000 would attract a Value Element of £5,000 plus VAT
Where a larger Estate is dealt with the Value Element is calculated in bands so would be as follows in relation to a gross Estate of £4,500,000:
£1,000,000 at 1%: £10,000
£3,000,000 at ½%: £15,000
£500,000 at 1/6% £800
Total Value Element: £25,800
Our Total Charge is the Time Element and the Value Element added together. We estimate below the range of Total Charges that may apply in relation to the examples set out above:
The Total Charge for the administration of an Estate valued at £50,000 would probably fall between £1,500 and £2,100 plus VAT.
The Total Charge for the administration of an Estate valued at £200,000 would probably fall between £3,600 and £6,800 plus VAT.
The Total Charge for the administration of an Estate valued at £500,000 would probably fall between £9,800 and £21,000 plus VAT.
Before we do any work we will discuss with you how this will affect you based on the information available. The Total Charge for each Estate can only be finalised when the work is complete. We will review our total charges to ensure that they are fair and reasonable.
Our estimates typically include:
- Meeting with you to gather information about assets and liabilities
- Obtaining valuations and statements and bills
- Placing Statutory Advertisements (or advising you whether to do so)
- Preparing a Schedule of Assets and Liabilities
- Preparing the Inheritance Tax Return
- Settling the Inheritance Tax Liability from the Estate
- Preparing the oath
- Submitting the application for a Grant
- Obtaining copies of the Grant as required
- Gathering in assets and paying liabilities
- Preparing Estate Accounts
- Carrying out Bankruptcy Searches
- Paying bequests
- Arranging distribution to the beneficiaries
- Transferring assets and advising on continuing trusts
The cost of standard expenses (referred to as disbursements) are charged in addition to the Time Element and Value Element and will include:
- Probate Registration fee £273.00
- Bankruptcy Search fees £2.40 (per beneficiary)
- Foreign National/Resident Bankruptcy Search £50-£500 (per beneficiary, dependent on country of birth or residence.)
- Fee for copy Grant £1.50 (per copy)
- Placing statutory advertisements £400 + VAT (estimated)
- Expert fee for valuations £50-£500 (based on nature of assets)
When we send money electronically on your behalf we will usually use the BACS system which means the money should reach its destination within a few days. We will make a charge for each payment of £48.00 including VAT, part being to cover the fee charged by our bank and part to reflect the time taken arranging the secure payment. We can usually arrange same day payments for a fee of £60 including VAT. Such payments are in addition to any fixed fee or estimate you may have been quoted for the legal work.
Please note that the Probate Registration Fee set out above is that which applies to an application made by a solicitor on the Executors behalf. Such fees are subject to change at short notice and would generally be expected to rise rather than fall. We will confirm the level of the fee that applies when the application for probate is made to take account of any changes during the course of the administration.
You will also be required to pay any Inheritance Tax due on the Estate which we can only estimate once we have sufficient information. In the meantime, you may wish to refer to the Inheritance Tax Calculators on the gov.uk website.
We are happy to help with the following but find that most people prefer to deal with them themselves so they aren’t included in our estimates:
- Searching the deceased’s papers and investigating to establish the assets and liabilities within the Estate;
- Searching the deceased’s papers and investigating to establish the existence and extent of any lifetime gifts;
- Arranging a funeral.
Sometimes it is clear from the outset that a particular estate may fall outside our typical examples. Occasionally complications only come to light during the administration of the Estate. We will always keep you informed of any changes to our estimate.
Our estimates are based on an average case and assume that the following won’t be necessary but if they are we’ll tell you and discuss our fees and likely disbursements:
- Tax issues
- Referral of the Estate Return to an HMRC Compliance Department
- Referral of other Tax Returns to an HMRC Compliance Department
- Claiming Agricultural or Business Property Relief
- Variation of the disposition of the Estate to ensure tax efficient distribution including assessment of the impact of Capital Gains Tax
- Issues relating to beneficiaries
- Establishing the beneficiaries entitled under intestacy rules (Please note that a Grant of Representation will be obtained in such circumstances)
- Tracing missing beneficiaries
- Dealing with minor beneficiaries
- Issues relating to specific assets
- Dealing with share portfolio sales and transfers to facilitate the varying preferences and individual circumstances of beneficiaries
- Dealing with foreign assets within the Estate
- Dealing with trusts in which the deceased had an interest
- Dealing with intellectual property rights and royalties
If you need conveyancing then a separate estimate will be provided for a sale or transfer of land within the Estate. Your lawyer can call on a wide range of expertise including dispute resolution to support you in any situations that may arise.