Wills, Trusts & Administration of Estates

Wills, Trusts & Administration of Estates Cumbria, Carlisle and Wigton

Wills, Trusts and Administration of Estates

We are able to assist with a wide range of matters, including:

  • the preparation of Wills and Codicils
  • the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • obtaining probate and the administration of estates
  • the creation and administration of trusts
  • Will and estate disputes
  • inheritance tax planning
  • advice in regard to issues affecting elderly clients; and
  • the transferring of assets via gifts.

If you would like to discuss any of our services and their likely costs, please contact us. 

All solicitors are required by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority to set out on their website an explanation of how we charge for dealing with the estate of a person who has died.  This is set out below.

Fees for Probate and Administration of Estates

If you are the executor of the estate of a person who has died, we are happy to provide you with just as much assistance as you require, allowing you to save money for the estate by carrying out yourself those aspects of the administration with which you are comfortable. 

In some cases, clients wish to carry out most of the administration themselves but ask us to complete the forms required in order to obtain the grant of probate.  We consider this to be our ‘probate only’ service.  In other cases, we are asked to deal with the full administration of the estate, which we refer to as ‘full administration’. Occasionally we are asked to obtain probate and assist with some other limited aspects of the estate and we are happy to provide this hybrid service as well.

At present it is taking the probate registry 1 to 2 months to issue the grant of probate. 

Obtaining ‘probate only’

In a typical case of this type, we would meet with the executors to discuss the Will, the applicability of inheritance tax (if any) and the steps which need to be taken to obtain probate and conduct the first stage of the estate administration. The executors would then deal with the initial administration themselves and provide us with the details of the estate and the values of the assets owned by the person who has died.  We would complete the forms required to obtain the grant of probate and arrange for the grant to be obtained and passed to the executors.  They would then deal with the rest of the administration themselves.

The timescale for this can vary but, typically, it would take approximately six weeks for the executors to gather information and for us to then liaise with the executors and prepare and submit the application for probate.  The time taken to obtain probate would typically be 6 weeks to 3 months.  This timescale very much depends upon the time taken by the probate registry to issue the grant.

We charge on a time-spent basis at our hourly rates (see below) but, in the average case, where no inheritance tax return is required, we would expect our fees to be in the region of £975 (plus VAT of £195)

In a case where an inheritance tax return is required and where we would help to arrange the payment of inheritance tax from monies of the person who has died, we would expect our fees to range from £1,500 (plus VAT of £300) to £2,500 (plus VAT of £500).  However, our fees could be higher in cases where it is necessary to claim business and agricultural reliefs and/or to liaise with valuers in regard to more complicated holdings of agricultural and business property.

There are, in addition to our fees mentioned above, certain costs payable to third parties which are incurred in these matters, which include:

  • the fee payable to H M Courts to obtain the grant of probate - £300
  • the fee payable to H M Courts to obtain official copies of the grant - £1.50 per copy (plus VAT of 30p per copy).

There may be additional costs such as the cost of a valuation report regarding the property.

Please note that our services in a ‘probate only’ matter do not include: 

  • assisting with any aspects of the estate administration 
  • dealing with disputes
  • tax advice other than completing any tax return required to lead to the grant of probate
  • deeds of variation
  • the transfer/sale of any properties.   

If a property is required to be transferred or sold, our property department could provide you with a separate fee estimate for that work at the time. We can also assist with some of the other matters listed above which are not included as standard and could provide fee estimates for that work upon request.

Full Administration of an Estate

In a case of this type, the executors will generally look after any properties or physical assets which belonged to the person who has died but they will ask us to deal with all the paperwork.  We would meet with the executors to advise on the Will, the applicability of inheritance tax (if any) and gather information about the estate. We would then contact all the relevant companies and other organisations to establish the assets and liabilities of the estate and their values.

After this, we would complete the papers to obtain the grant of probate and arrange the payment of any inheritance tax from monies held by the banks of the person who has died.

Upon receipt of the grant, we would gather in the assets of the estate, settle any liabilities and prepare estate accounts.  Once the estate accounts were approved, we would distribute the estate.

The timescale for the full administration of an estate can vary widely. In the case of a simple estate, the administration would typically be complete within 6 to 9 months.

In cases where the estate holds more assets, including properties, the administration would typically last for a period in the region of 12 months.

In more complex cases, it is not uncommon for the administration to take in the region of two years, for example in cases where: the executors think it prudent to wait 6 months after the grant is issued before distributing the estate to ensure that no claim is made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975; where it takes a long time to sell a property; where there is a transfer of business or agricultural property which requires interaction with a bank which holds the property as security; and, where substantial engagement is required with H M Revenue & Customs in regard to tax affairs. 

We charge on a time-spent basis at our hourly rates (see below) and the ultimate cost can vary widely. The amount of time and cost involved in completing an estate administration depends upon factors like:

  • whether there is a property which needs to be transferred or sold
  • whether the executors require our assistance in looking after the property
  • the number of bank accounts and investments and, particularly, individual shareholding which need to be liquidated or transferred
  • whether inheritance tax is payable
  • whether business and agricultural properties are involved
  • the number of beneficiaries of the estate 
  • whether there are matters which do not run smoothly such as a property sale falling through or the occurrence of disputes between parties involved.

As a result of this, our fees in dealing with the full administration of an estate can range from £3,000 (plus VAT of £600) to £25,000 (plus VAT of £5,000); but the vast majority fall into the range of £3,000 (plus VAT of £600) to £12,000 (plus VAT of £2,400). We can however, give some broad examples:

  1. an estate with two executors, two beneficiaries, no house or land, holding only a few bank accounts and where no inheritance tax is payable could be administered for around £3,000 (plus VAT of around £600)

 

  1. The administration of an estate which has three executors, five beneficiaries, a house to sell, more than five bank accounts and investments, individual shareholdings to sell and inheritance tax to pay could be administered for around £6,000 (plus VAT of £1,200) to £10,000 (plus VAT of £2,000)

 

  1. The administration of an estate which has three executors, five beneficiaries, a number of business assets and/or agricultural properties, a house, more than five bank accounts and investments, individual shares and inheritance tax to pay could range from £7,000 (plus VAT of £1,400) to £20,000 (plus VAT of £4,000) but will more typically be in the range of £8,000 (plus VAT of £1,600) to £13,000 (plus VAT of £2,600).

There are, in addition to our fees mentioned above, certain costs payable to third parties which are incurred in these matters, which include:

  • the fee payable to H M Courts to obtain the grant of probate - £300.00
  • the fee payable to H M Courts to obtain official copies of the grant - £1.50 per copy (plus VAT of 30p per copy).

There may also be additional costs such as:

  • the cost of a valuation report regarding any property - which can typically range from £150 (plus VAT of £30) to £2,000 (plus VAT of £400) depending upon whether the agent is asked to value a simple residential property or a portfolio of business and agricultural property.
  • the cost of placing notices in newspapers to advertise for creditors and give an element of protection to the executors if they then distribute the estate without the creditors having come forward – which at the time of writing typically costs around £300 to advertise in two publications
  • the cost of tracing beneficiaries – the cost of which varies very widely depending upon the complexity of the family tree requiring to be researched
  • the cost of missing beneficiary insurance – which cost varies widely depending upon the nature and extent of the risk
  • the cost of bankruptcy searches against beneficiaries - £2 per beneficiary.

Please note that our services in a ‘full administration’ of the estate do not include: 

  • dealing with disputes
  • tax advice other than completing any tax return required to lead to the grant of probate
  • deeds of variation or, the transfer/sale of any properties.   

If a property is required to be transferred or sold, our property department can provide you with a separate fee estimate for that work. We can also assist with some of the other matters listed above which are not included as standard and could provide fee estimates for that work upon request.

Team Members and Hourly Rates

The people at our firm who may work on these matters for you include 

Trevor Robinson (Director), Robert Hudson (Assistant Solicitor), James Clark (Assistant Solicitor) and Jeanette Williams (paralegal). Information regarding the experience and qualifications of these members of staff is set out in the ‘Our People’ section of this website.

Hourly Rates

The hourly rates charged by the firm are as follows:

Director – £250 per hour plus VAT of £50.00

Assistant Solicitor - £230 to £250.00 per hour plus VAT of £46.00 to £50 

Paralegal - £200 per hour plus VAT of £40.00

How do I get in touch ?

Please contact either or Carlisle Office on 01228 525221 or Our Wigton office on 016973 43241 or complete our enquiry form.