Legal Fees

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  • Zidargh 19 Nov 2012 21:19:04 1,668 posts
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    No this is not intended as some BlizeH-esque advice thread, nor am I asking for legal advice. The motive behind it is that I know there's quite a large demographic on here of people who do not know me. Hence, any sensible responses will be objective.

    Pretty simple really; Has anyone had to deal with the probate/legal process when a relative dies? If so, can you recall what fees you agreed with the solicitor?

    I'm beginning to think that 3% of my father's Gross estate is somewhat bloody ridiculous but want to ensure I've got a benchmark that I can negotiate on. And no, I will not be quoting things from a gaming site, haha.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 21:20:15
    Sorry to hear about your father. Can't comment on the legal fees for probate though sorry. 3% seems high but so is everything legal!
  • elstoof 19 Nov 2012 21:21:13 6,621 posts
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    Have you tried asking a few different solicitors?
  • Zidargh 19 Nov 2012 21:23:20 1,668 posts
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    elstoof wrote:
    Have you tried asking a few different solicitors?
    Not yet. I know that seems like the obvious solution, but its a complicated, family-political story. I won't bore you with it. And I will definitely not have the time over the next couple of days. Thank you though.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 21:24:15
    3% is too high if it's a solicitor, if it's someone like Lloyds then that's about their standard rate but you won't get any better a service. I don't have the exact figures in front of me but a couple of grand is what you should be looking at.

    I'll have a look if you want more precise figures.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 21:26:48
    Oh, I just found it. The amount quote was 'between 1750 and 2250 plus VAT' which is around 10-15 hours of work on their part and it was all pretty straight forward. If yours is complex then scale accordingly.
  • Zidargh 19 Nov 2012 21:31:41 1,668 posts
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    Aargh. wrote:
    Oh, I just found it. The amount quote was 'between 1750 and 2250 plus VAT' which is around 10-15 hours of work on their part and it was all pretty straight forward. If yours is complex then scale accordingly.
    What the hell? Going on the figures we've been given it could be like 10x that figure? Thank you Aargh.

    Its a very complex process with a business and mortgages etc, but I cannot see how she can justify the cost when she seems to just write letters. Hmm...
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 21:37:13
    The biggest complications will be if there are any debts owed. I wouldn't have thought that would take too much time as long as you can do a lot of the leg work of finding relevant information. The only other costly issue should be if there's some dispute within the family.

    There's no reason they should charge as a percentage, it's an effort based activity and a solicitor is forced to charge for the work they do. It sounds like the woman you're talking to isn't a solicitor?
  • boo 19 Nov 2012 23:45:32 11,703 posts
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    If it's a complex arrangement, them you're probably best paying for specialist advice.
    My Mum died earlier in the year and I ended up doing the probate myself. It looks complicated to begin with, but print all the forms and accompanying notes off, take a week or so to familiarise yourself with them and make sure you have all the bank statements etc to hand, and it's actually not that difficult.

    For what I ended up doing, I would have felt ripped off if I'd paid more than 100.

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  • jakuande 20 Nov 2012 08:30:40 192 posts
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    Most estates will cost roughly what Aargh said : about 2 grand.

    Solicitors do sometimes charge a percentage rather than an hourly fee as the higher the value of the estate, the more risk they take on in dealing with it for you. The rate is usually 1% of cash assets and around 0.5% of any land/property.

    In your case the business will involve a bunch of extra faff with tax forms and so on, and your solicitor is probably charging more than usual because of that. Although there may be any number of complicating factors which you obviously wouldn't want to go into on a gaming forum!

    One key thing to check is whether the solicitor is going to be the executor or not. Typically they will charge anything up to double the normal amount if one of the partners is appointed executor as it involves a lot of additional responsibility. (this is also why banks usually charge loads: because they insist on being the executor.)

    At the end of the day the fees aren't the most important factor: you need to decide whether the solicitor is someone you can trust and work well with, as it's usually a team effort of sorts. Can you call their office and get through to them or do you end up talking to a para-legal or secretary all the time? Is it one person or a team? Do they strike you as being quick and efficient at sending out letters/ e-mails, returning calls etc ?

    Although to be honest these things aren't necessarily linked to fees : you can easily pay more with a big/ high end firm and get a worse service since the solicitor thinks you're too small a client to be a priority! This is why recommendation is the only way to go with solicitors : ask people in your area who is good or stick with the family solicitor.
  • SuperCoolEskimo 20 Nov 2012 08:52:58 9,717 posts
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    If you're the executor and just distributing your father's estate in accordance to his will, do as boo says and get probate yourself.
  • Zidargh 21 Nov 2012 14:22:43 1,668 posts
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    Thank you all.

    I've contacted the solicitor so we will see what happens.

    I'm also very sorry to hear about the events in which some of you had been in a similar position.
  • Deleted user 21 November 2012 14:34:58
    My numbers included them as executors and for a high value estate. Not sure why they wouldn't just offer an hourly rate for something more complex with regular updates to you.
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