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Solicitor costs

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Hi all,

Just looking for some ideas of costs for solicitors to deal with my parents estate. We lost both of them last year.
We will need probate as the total estate is circa £1.3m to £1.4m. There are quite a few bank accounts, investments and pensions involved. The house is in a discretionary trust but I'm not sure if that covers just the first death or both.
If it makes a difference we are in the Midlands. 
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  • Grumpelstiltskin
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    I am afraid the answer is 'How long is a piece of string'

    Depends on the complexity and how much work is involved.
    If you go down to the woods today you better not go alone.
  • Pennylane
    Pennylane Posts: 2,717 Forumite
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    Don’t think it matters too much if you will be getting over a million! 😉
  • lr1277
    lr1277 Posts: 1,747 Forumite
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    Going through something similar for my dad who died earlier this year.
    Depends what you want the solicitors to do:
    Contact banks and transfer accounts as per the will
    Apply for probate
    submit tax returns ( in our case for 21/22, 22 till date of death and any other tax submissions related to probate).

    The probate submission has to be on paper with the original will.
    We were quoted 1% of the estate value with a minimum by the solicitor who drew up the will.

    About 16 years ago my parents wrote a will put everything into trust. I looked into it and it was very complicated to administer and would have meant ongoing work in terms of tax returns every year etc.
    So a few years ago, I persuaded my parents to re-write their wills to give everything to each other. Because of inheritance tax changes made by the government, as well as being simpler to administer, it meant less tax would be paid over the 2 deaths. (No tax on the first death and a lot less tax after the 2nd death).

    Because of the simple will, our accountants are going to charge us £4k (plus VAT). My dad's share of the estate was north of £600k, so the solicitor's fees would have been above £6k. Obviously the accountant said, if any complications came up, they would increase their fee accordingly. Just to be lear we engaged the accountant to apply for probate.

    For the accountant, we are getting them to apply for probate and submit all required tax returns. We are closing/moving accounts and informing all the financial providers.

    We are in Hertfordshire.

    HTH

    As an aside if you choose to change the intentions of your parents' wills, you must write or submit (not sure which) a Deed of Variation (DoV) within 2 years of the death date.
  • msb1234
    msb1234 Posts: 539 Forumite
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    For probate, you will have to do much of the footwork yourself.  Some solicitors charge a fixed fee whilst others charge a % of the total estate. 
    If you ring round a few in your local area you can get an idea of what they would charge. You could also make a single appointment for their advice, maybe cost £200 for an hour, where they can give you an idea of costs based on the complexity of the estate. 

  • Keep_pedalling
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    Sorry for your loss, it’s bad enough having to deal with one parents estate two at the same time must seem quite daunting, but in the first instance I would try an deal with this without solicitors unless either estate is at all complex. If it is just a property and savings then it should be straight forward, especially if you don’t need to submit a IHT return for the first death (this will be the case if the first to die left everything the the surviving spouse or they left less than £325k to anyone else) 

    There are lots of experienced people on this board with experience of administering estates so don’t hesitate to ask questions. Did they both have wills in place?


  • HobgoblinBT
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    Many Solicitors quote their fee scales on their websites.  Have you checked your local Solicitors or other probate practitioners?
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 11,526 Forumite
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    timg147 said:
    Hi all,

    Just looking for some ideas of costs for solicitors to deal with my parents estate. We lost both of them last year.
    We will need probate as the total estate is circa £1.3m to £1.4m. There are quite a few bank accounts, investments and pensions involved. The house is in a discretionary trust but I'm not sure if that covers just the first death or both.
    If it makes a difference we are in the Midlands. 
    You say 'last year' - how much progress have you made so far? Are you sure you need the solicitors to do the whole job, or simply give you guidance on certain aspects such as the trust? It'll have a substantial impact on the fees.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • getmore4less
    getmore4less Posts: 46,882 Forumite
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    If they died last year you need to get on the case quickly as the 2y DOV limit  to sort out potential IHT mitigation is running out.

    There is likely to be IHT but there may be options to reduce it.

    Nearly 12 months has been lost if they died in 2021.
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 17,244 Forumite
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    edited 27 December 2022 at 8:49PM
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    Marcon said:
    timg147 said:
    Hi all,

    Just looking for some ideas of costs for solicitors to deal with my parents estate. We lost both of them last year.
    We will need probate as the total estate is circa £1.3m to £1.4m. There are quite a few bank accounts, investments and pensions involved. The house is in a discretionary trust but I'm not sure if that covers just the first death or both.
    If it makes a difference we are in the Midlands. 
    You say 'last year' - how much progress have you made so far? Are you sure you need the solicitors to do the whole job, or simply give you guidance on certain aspects such as the trust? It'll have a substantial impact on the fees.
    According to a previous post it was this year.

    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6404543/executors-account-recommended-required-or-what#latest
  • Daniel54
    Daniel54 Posts: 834 Forumite
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    From your post in late November,both your parents passed away this year -my condolences for your loss, it must be a tough time particularly at this  time of year which can be so full of memories.

    Lots of good advice so far .You may have made progress in advising banks, utilities,pensions etc

    As a tip, for financial institutions always google the bereavement contact details, which avoids wasted time listening to Greensleeves or similar.In my experience ,waiting times on these numbers is around 5 minutes

    My personal view is to work alongside a solicitor if you are dealing with an estate of this size.There is so much you can do yourself, or with a co-executor,but there are also areas such as tax and IHT forms where it is well  worth paying to share the load

    If you have a will involving trusts I would recommend using a STEP qualified solicitor

    We ( three executors) are using an executor bank account set up with the solicitor.This works in our situation, but may not in yours.

    In terms of bank accounts and investments I have progressed matters to the point where in each case  the next stage is one I can pass to the solicitor.Typically this has been for the solicitor to to arrange transfer of estate funds to the executors' account..We are not finished yet.

    We are paying on time rather than fixed fee ,and are dealing with a solicitor in an expensive part of SW London.Estimate for completing probate is £ 6k - 8k on an estate of around £1.6k.

    We have a separate quote for distribution, but this is a complicated will involving charities and more than 20 additional beneficiaries.I don't think our pricing around this wold be helpful to you.

    Hope this helps.















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