Brits Spend £1.25bn Every Year on Executing Wills
12 December 2018
It's important to know where you stand when it comes to Probate fees. At Co-op Legal Services we offer transparent, fixed pricing, providing you with a fixed fee quote before you instruct us. We also guarantee to beat any like for like quote with our Best Price Guarantee.
Every year, £1.25bn is paid in fees to banks and Solicitors in exchange for them administering the estates of a deceased person. However, there is speculation that a significant proportion of this could be overcharged fees, with some high street banks and solicitors known to charge up to 6% of the total Estate value.
Why Do Probate Fees Vary?
Naturally, different Solicitors and professional Executors will charge different rates for their work. Furthermore, the amount of work that's involved in Probate can vary dramatically from one Estate to the next. More complex Estates are likely to take longer to administer, will also involve more work and so the fees charges will be higher as a result.
It's inevitable, therefore that the fees for administering a complex Estate are likely to be higher than those for administering a simple Estate. The problem lies, however, when pricing structures are not completely clear to customers or where a percentage of the Estate value is charged, regardless of the volume of work involved.
Upfront, Transparent Pricing
One criticism is that some professional Executors or Probate Solicitors aren't fully transparent when it comes to their pricing, charging an hourly rate or percentage of the Estate and billing for every letter or email sent with no estimation of how much this is likely to cost overall. This means that the fees could keep climbing indefinitely, leaving customers feeling as though they're in a metered taxi with no idea of when they'll reach their destination, or how much it will cost them.
At Co-op Legal Services, we offer transparent, fixed pricing for our Probate Complete Service and we do not base our fees on the overall value of the Estate. Our Probate Consultants will discuss the details of the Estate with you in a face to face meeting, before providing a written, fixed quote for the work to be done. What's more, with our Best Price Guarantee, if you find the same quality Probate service at a lower price, we promise to beat it.
Once we have provided you with a written quote, that price will not change. What's more, our fixed-fee quotes are provided on a no-obligation basis, with absolutely no pressure on you to instruct us. This puts you in total control.
What if the Will Names a Professional Executor?
It's not uncommon for a professional Executor to be appointed in the Will. The deceased may have chosen to do this for a number of reasons. It may be that they wanted to alleviate the burden on their loved ones by appointing an independent professional to take care of matters, or it may be that they knew the professional well during their lifetime and trusted their capabilities.
While the role of Executor doesn't incur a fee when a layperson is undertaking this, it's likely that a professional Executor will charge a fee for their services.
It's important to know that you are able to request to remove a professional Executor if you do not feel that it is in the best interests of the Estate for them to carry out the role. Be sure to fully consider what the deceased's reasons may have been for instructing them in the first place so that you can be sure that you are making the right decision.
If you do decide to remove a professional Executor of a Will then there is a set process that you will need to follow. The first step would be to contact them and ask them to renounce as Executor – this means that they step down from the role. This will only be possible if the Estate administration hasn't yet begun and it's also important to note that they do not have to agree to renounce. However, they do have a duty to act in the best interests of the Estate, so if there is a true benefit to the Estate of them stepping down then they should honour this.