Letters of Administration and Legal Costs
If a loved one has died intestate, you may be concerned about the legal costs of applying for letters of administration and dealing with their estate. The legal costs should not differ much from the legal costs for probate, which is what you would need to apply for if the deceased had made a will.
But costs will usually depend on how complicated your loved ones financial affairs are, and whether you deal with them yourself.
The basic application for letters of administration to deal with the deceased’s estate costs exactly the same as an application for probate. The actual application costs £105 and you will also need to pay £1 for a document to give to each financial institution where your loved one held their assets.
If you appoint a solicitor, or legal expert to deal with the administration of the estate, there will obviously be additional costs, and they could add up to more than they would have if a will had been made.
For example, many solicitors charge by the hour, or per letter or telephone call. And hourly fees can be as much as £350. If a will had been made, leaving the estate to only one or two people, costs would be lower than if the deceased died intestate and the proceeds need to be divided between several people. This is because the solicitor will need to communicate with more people, and whether they are charging by the hour, or £100 per letter, these fees can soon mount up.
Also, if a family member appeals to the courts, because they believe that they should have received a larger portion of the estate, legal fees can escalate rapidly.
At a time when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the additional stress can be overwhelming. Funeral expenses are costly enough without having to worry about potentially massive legal fees and family disputes.
If a family member is likely to appeal or the deceased’s finances are quite complicated, you may want to hand over the responsibility of dealing with the estate to a legal expert. But if the prospect of a huge legal bill is worrying you, there are also other options.
Instead of appointing a solicitor, many people opt to use a fixed fee probate service instead. For a pre-agreed total fee, they can deal with the application for letters of administration, and administer the estate on your behalf. This takes the pressure of you at your time of loss, and it also removes the worry of potentially huge legal fees.