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Administration of the Estate (What happens next?)

We have systems in place, put together through our years of vast experience, to gather information and sort things out for you.  We work together with you at a pace you are happy to take.

We provide all services you may require, regardless of the size of the estate. We work very closely with the personal representatives, (which means either the Executor appointed by the Will, or if there is no Will the Administrator).

After obtaining all relevant information we will:
1. deal with the administration

2. sell or transfer assets in the estate

3. arrange payment of liabilities and tax if necessary

4. distribute to beneficiaries

We are committed to providing a personalised service, as we understand this is a very emotional time. As proof of commitment we will regularly make contact with you so you know what is happening every step along the way.

How Much Will It Cost?

Shacklocks’ private client lawyers have been dealing with the administration of estates for more than 100 years.   Just as every life is different, so every estate is different.  

The exact cost of administering an estate will depend on the individual circumstances of the deceased, the estate, the assets and the beneficiaries.

For example, if there is a valid Will, one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. 

On the other hand if there an intestacy, property or land, multiple bank accounts, stocks and shares and investments, business or agricultural assets, unfinished tax affairs before death or multiple beneficiaries, beneficiaries who cannot be identified or traced, a dispute or a Trust, costs will be at the higher end.

We therefore encourage you to contact us for a personalised estimate or quote. However as a guide, our fees are based on hourly rates which are based on the experience of the person or team conducting your case, and the complexity of the work involved.  The team dealing with your work may include a Partner, Solicitor, Chartered Legal Executive, Trainee Solicitor or Paralegal, and hourly rates will range from £145 for a paralegal to £245 for a Partner. Our hourly rates are updated from time to time and we will always inform you of any changes during the life of your case. 

To give you an idea of how much it might cost to administer a straightforward estate where all assets are held in the United Kingdom and there is no dispute or challenge raised, we have prepared an illustration below. In the example below we have given calculations based on an hourly rate of £195 for a Solicitor, but the likelihood is that your work would be carried out by a team including some work by a supervising partner at a higher rate and some work by trainee solicitors at a lower rate. 

VAT is payable on top of all our hourly rates and on the examples given. 

To give you an indication of cost, we have set out below an illustration for administering an uncontested estate where all assets are held in the UK, where no claims are made against the estate, where no inheritance tax is payable and where there is:

* A valid Will

* All assets are held in the United Kingdom

* There is no dispute or challenge or circumstances which may give rise to a dispute

* 0-2 bank accounts

* One property value approximately £250,000

* No other intangible assets

* An estate which is not subject to Inheritance Tax

* Up to 2 legacies

* Up to 2 residuary beneficiaries

In such a case we estimate that this will take between 8 and 12 hours work and that Shacklocks’ fee will be between £1,560 and £2,340.  In addition there will be an administration charge of £30 + VAT for any CHAPS Bank transfers.

Are we able to provide a fixed fee?

We can sometimes agree a fixed fee with you for Shacklocks fees for the administration of the estate. Please contact us to see whether we are able to provide you with a fixed fee. Disbursements are payments we make to third parties and will not be included in the fixed fee. Further details are set out in the ‘Disbursement’ section below.


There will be various fees payable to third parties as part of the process of administration of the estate. These are known as ‘Disbursements’. Disbursements costs are set by the provider and are subject to change and will always be additional to any estimate or fixed fee given for Shacklocks fees. We will provide you with details of any disbursements applicable to the estate at the outset of the work or before the disbursement is incurred. Below are some of the disbursements which are likely to be incurred in the example referred to above:

Swearing of the Oath (if necessary)£7 per executor & £2 per exhibit

Property Valuation Fee (where required) £300-£350 + VAT approx.

Probate Registry Fees £155 & £2.50 for sealed copies

Bankruptcy Search £2 per beneficiary

London Gazette Notice & Newspaper (to protect against claims from unidentified creditors) £137-£160 + VAT approx.

Unknown Asset Search (to identify dormant or unknown accounts including digital accounts) £145 + VAT

What is Included in the Price Given in the Example above?

In the example above we have included the following work:

1. Initial meeting with Executors

2. Identify the assets and liabilities of the estate

3. Obtaining valuation of the property & statements of balances

4. Prepare and submit necessary HMRC returns

5. Preparing Executors Oath or Statement of Truth and submitting application to Probate Registry

6. Obtaining Grant of Probate. 

7. Liaising with estate agents regarding sale of the property

8. Collecting in the assets of the estate

9. Identify and locate the legatees and beneficiaries entitled

10. Settle any liabilities

11. Prepare estate accounts for consideration by Executors and beneficiaries as appropriate

12. Make payment of legacies

13. Distribute the residuary estate

What is not Included in the Price?

Where there is a property in the estate, as in the example above, there are likely to be costs associated with the property such as utilities and insurances and gardening and maintenance; as these are unknown we have not given figures but would discuss this with you should it be appropriate to your particular circumstances.

Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included in the example above; conveyancing fees are separate. You can find further information about our conveyancing prices in the ‘Moving House or Re-Mortgaging’ section of our website.   

How Long Will It Take?

In the example shown above, steps 2-5, that is, obtaining valuations, reporting to HMRC, and making application for the Grant of Probate can typically be dealt with in 5-8 weeks from meeting with the Executors. Once the Grant of Probate is received the progress of steps 7-8 will depend on factors largely outside our control such as the length of time it takes to sell the property or the length of time it takes for financial institutions to respond. Steps 9-13 that is from collection in of the assets through to conclusion of the administration of the estate can typically be dealt with within 4 weeks.

There are time periods in which claims can be made against the estate and generally the Executors will not wish to make distributions before the end of those time periods.

We will provide you with a timescale specific to your matter when we have more information.

What Factors May Affect the Price?

There are a number of factors which could make dealing with an estate more complex, and as such increase the price.  The fees we need to charge could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with.  Some factors which may affect the price given in our example include:

1. Any work involved to verify that it is the last Will

2. If the validity of the Will is disputed

3. Intestacy or Partial Intestacy

4. Circumstances which could give rise to other types of Letters of Representation such as Grant of Probate de Bonis Non or Letters of Admons

5. A claim is made against the estate or there are circumstances which could give rise to a claim

6. The deceased tax affairs were complex or were not up to date at the date of death

7. If there are foreign assets or an overseas Will

8. The estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds)

9. Multiple bank accounts stocks and shares and investments

10. There is more than one property

11. There is agricultural or business assets

12. There are tax implications in respect of the estate

13. Multiple beneficiaries

14. Beneficiaries who cannot be identified or traced

15. Where there is a Trust

Who Will Conduct the Work?

Your work will be carried out by dedicated and experienced team of probate lawyers in our Private Client Department, enabling us to provide you with an efficient service at sensible costs. Our Partners, Solicitors and Chartered Legal Executives are supported by a team of Trust & Probate Executives, Trainee Solicitors and Secretaries.

Our team is headed and supervised by our Private Client Partner, Cassandra Worton, you can read more about Cassandra here:

Please follow the links below to see the profiles of our team:

Thomas Slack:

Contact Us

Just as every life is different, every estate is different.  We welcome you contacting us so that we can understand your requirements and provide you with personalised costs estimate or fixed fee quote.

Who do I Contact?

Thomas Slack, Associate Solicitor, Private Client Services Thomas Slack

Associate Solicitor, Private Client Services

Tel: 01623 626141

More about Thomas Slack...

Cassandra Worton, Partner, Private Client Services Cassandra Worton

Partner, Private Client Services

Tel: 01773 822333

More about Cassandra Worton...