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Complex Estates – Fee Structure

Includes Estates where:

  • There is a valid Will / there is no valid Will and the Rules of Intestacy apply
  • There are no disputes over who is entitled to be the Personal Representative
  • The assets of the Estate might not have been fully ascertained, or ascertained at all
  • There are 2 or more properties in the Estate
  • There are 10 or more building society / bank accounts
  • There are shareholdings / investment portfolios
  • There are 7 or more beneficiaries
  • There are no claims against the Estate
  • There are no disputes
  • Some of the beneficiaries may be minors, may live abroad, and / or their whereabouts may not be known or easily traceable
  • Inheritance Tax is payable on the Estate and a detailed inheritance tax form is required to be returned to HM Revenue & Customs
  • There may not be immediate funds available to pay inheritance tax in full, and so the Instalment Option may need to be explored
  • The  Estate is likely to have an income tax and / or capital gains tax liability throughout the administration period, and which is likely to fall within ‘complex Estates’ For which the Estate needs to be registered with HM Revenue & Customs and for which a formal tax return must be filed

How can we help?

  • We will advise you on the provisions contained in the Will, explain fully any clauses you do not understand
  • If there is no Will, we will advise you on the Rules of Intestacy, explain what they provide, and also confirm who has authority to deal with the administration of the Estate
  • In the event that not all of the Estate’s assets have been established, we will work through the documentation of the Deceased to ascertain all establishments with whom he or she had dealings
  • We will contact all such establishments in order to obtain date of death values of the assets
  • We will advise on the steps to take in order to obtain a valuation for the properties and the options available to you in this respect
  • We will advise on the steps to take in order to obtain a valuation for the shareholdings and the options available to you in this respect; this will depend entirely on the size, nature and quantity of the shareholding(s)
  • Once all valuations have been obtained, we will prepare a Schedule of Assets & Liabilities for the Estate
  • We will advise you on how inheritance tax is calculated and inform you of the inheritance tax liability of your Estate
  • We will prepare the required inheritance tax forms and attached schedules, and arrange for the same to be sent to HMRC together with the payment of inheritance tax direct from Estate assets
  • In cases where there are not sufficient free assets available to arrange the full payment of inheritance tax, we will advise on the options available to Personal Representatives, such as paying the inheritance tax by instalments or, in rare occasions, the possibility of obtaining a Grant on credit, and advise on the implications of each
  • Once inheritance tax has been paid / the first instalment due has been paid and HMRC has confirmed receipt of the same, we will prepare the relevant forms required for the application for the Grant, including preparing the Oath



This can process can take approximately 6 – 12 months

  • Upon extraction of the Grant, we will advise on how you can protect your position as Personal Representative against any unknown creditors of the Estate
  • We will arrange the ‘assent’ of the properties, if they are to be transferred directly to a beneficiary/beneficiaries
  • If the properties are to be sold, we will refer these specific transactions to our Conveyancing department, who will provide you with a specific quote for this aspect of the administration
  • We will complete the account closure forms required to gather in the assets
  • We will send the forms to the relevant departments and can arrange to hold the Estate funds, including the proceeds of sale, in our Client Account in readiness for distribution
  • We will advise on any Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax implications, arrange for the Estate to be registered with HMRC, and prepare a Trusts & Estates tax return with regard to the same
  • We will arrange payment of any outstanding Estate liabilities, such as outstanding utility bills / credit card balances / outstanding debts owed by the Deceased / Capital Gains Tax and / or Income Tax / and our invoices
  • We will contact the beneficiaries and obtain the required proofs of ID and address and confirmation of how they wish to receive their inheritance
  • We will arrange the final distributions of the Estate assets

Unless something unexpected arises, this can process can take approximately a further 3 – 6 months

Costs Range for a Complex Probate

We estimate  50 – 80 hours’ work would be involved in a Complex Probate, but depends on the specifics of each individual estate. At the average hourly rate of our department, this would be approximately £14,750 – £23,600 plus VAT.

Please note that this is with respect to our costs only, and do not include additional costs/payments that can arise throughout the administration process, such as:

  1. Probate fee (£273 plus £1.50 for every sealed copy)
  2. Section 27 Notice (ranges between £60 – £150 depending on the Estate)
  3. Bankruptcy searches (£2 per person)

What are our hourly rates?

Claire Martin – Head of Department£325 + VAT
Prue Abrahams£325 + VAT
Herman Cheung£300 + VAT
Amaya Huntly£275 + VAT
Samantha Fennah£250 + VAT
Trainees / Paralegals£160 + VAT
This also does not include any tax liabilities that may arise throughout the administration of the Estate, such as Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax.

Supplementary work for additional matters that can arise

The above sets out the usual matters that must be dealt with in a regular Simple, Standard or Complex probate matter. However, there are unexpected issues that can arise, which may require additional work. It is impossible to cover all aspects, but we provide the following  examples below:


  1. There are times where upon administering the Estate of the second spouse to die it becomes apparent that the Estate of the first spouse to have died was not fully administered. In those circumstances, it may be that there are two separate, concurrent administrations that need to be dealt with.


  1. The beneficiaries of the Estate may wish to enter into a Deed of Variation in order to change the provisions of a Will or Rules of Intestacy. In those circumstances, there will be additional drafting and it may be that the beneficiaries need to seek independent legal advice.


  1. Whilst we have a general process to follow when the Estate has shareholdings, the requirements from the share registrars can vary and where there are many different shareholdings the work involved to administer them can be significantly greater than Estates with few shareholdings. As there can be a considerable range in the work involved, we will be able to give a more accurate quote once we have more information.


  1. Where Estates include trusts, you may seek advice on the tax consequences of keeping the trusts as created in the Will, or whether it is beneficial in the circumstances for those trusts to be wound up.


  1. When assets such as property and / or shares are being sold, you may need advice on the benefits of ‘appropriation’ in order to reduce the Capital Gains Tax liability of the Estate.


  1. Where there is an extensive property portfolio of investment properties, that require selling


Our fees explained: