3 Ways to Reduce Probate Solicitor Fees
25 September 2015
Here are three simple ways that people in England and Wales can save thousands of pounds in Probate and Estate Administration fees:
- Do not pay a percentage of the Estate's value, it's not required by law
- Get a fixed fee written quote from a Probate Solicitor upfront
- If the Estate isn't complex, buy a DIY Probate Kit and do-it-yourself
With our Fixed Fee Probate Service we take full responsibility for getting Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excluding VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs.
We also deal with the Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax matters of the deceased person, and we deal directly with HMRC on your behalf.
Fixed Probate Solicitor Fees
At Co-op Legal Services, our Probate Solicitors do not charge a percentage of the value of the deceased person’s Estate. We offer a fixed Probate fee* agreed with you upfront before any work starts. There are no upfront costs as our Probate fees are deferred and will be taken from the Estate once it is in funds.
Many high street banks and solicitors are known to have charged the deceased’s family up to around 6% of the total value of the deceased person’s Estate. This is not a legal requirement, and it’s not part of the Probate and Estate Administration process, but according to an article in The Guardian, high street banks and solicitors generate approx. £1.25bn in fees for sorting out Wills.
Another article in The Guardian quoted an example of a high street bank which charged a deceased person’s Estate £40,000 for distributing £1,000,000 cash held in a deposit account.
Some banks and solicitors charge additional fees on top of a percentage of the Estate. In some cases hourly fees can range up to £300 plus VAT and beyond. This can often mean that £20 - £50 is charged for every letter they send out.
So, if you are quoted a percentage of the value of the total Estate, plus £300 per hour in solicitor fees, bearing in mind that the Probate and Estate Administration process can take up to a year or more, plus they send out 20 letters at £50 a pop – then you do the maths and you’ll quickly see how high street banks and solicitors get their £1.25bn in fees.
On the other hand…
By finding an alternative Probate provider who does not base their charges on a percentage of the Estate, because it is not a legal requirement, hundreds of family members can save thousands of pounds in Probate Solicitor fees.
Get a Fixed Fee Written Quote from a Probate Solicitor Upfront
It’s always best to shop around to get the best price. When it comes to legal matters which could affect your future, it’s advisable to get the best possible legal services available.
When it comes to Probate and Estate Administration solicitor fees and service charges, many banks and solicitors won’t give you a definitive idea of the fees payable, and some won’t provide a written quote.
Probate Solicitors at Co-op Legal Services do not base their fees on a percentage of the deceased person’s Estate.
When we have provided a fixed fee written quote for the agreed Probate and Estate Administration work, that fee will not change if there is nothing about the Estate that materially changes thereafter. And yes, you can take that to the bank!
With our Fixed Fee Probate Service we take full responsibility for obtaining the Grant of Probate and dealing with the legal, tax (excluding VAT), property and Estate Administration affairs**.
Buy a DIY Probate Kit and “do-it-yourself”
If the Estate you have to deal with is not complicated, and you have the time (up to a year or more) to sort out the Estate including any property, and to deal with the Estate Administration paperwork, including all the tax and legal work, then a DIY Probate kit could save you thousands of pounds in Probate Solicitor fees.
Important Note: When you do Probate yourself you are responsible for all the legal and financial affairs. In other words, you can be held financially responsible for any mistakes made. So in the long run, particularly if you are distressed by a loved one passing away, it may be worth considering the relative merits of a DIY Probate kit as opposed to instructing an expert to help you in administering the Estate.
We also offer a sympathetic ear when you need it most.
Co-op Legal Services is the largest provider of Probate and Estate Administration services in England and Wales, trusted to deal with over £1.3 billion in Estates annually.
Our Probate team includes over 170 staff of specialist Probate Solicitors, Lawyers, Case Handlers, Advisors and our national network of Probate Consultants; all of whom only deal with Probate.
Our team includes members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). All STEP members are subject to an extensive Code of Professional Conduct, requiring them at all times to act with integrity and in a manner that inspires the confidence, respect and trust of their clients and of the wider community.
Co-op Legal Services is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
* Plus disbursement costs.
** We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.