Solicitors fees probate

My mother in law past away in March 2020, and the solicitors who held her will started the probate in May 2020. We heard nothing from the solicitor  and always have to chase for information. The house was eventually sold last week and again have to chase about the house proceeds and also the bank account funds.  The solicitor has given us statement dividing the proceeds and states £1500.00 for the probate but £6,180.00 for their bill. My husband and his brother have not spoken since their mother passed away he has left everything for us to deal with.  When we questioned the amount they advised the extra time corresponding with his brother and himself.  I have kept all correspondence with the solicitor and all the emails are us chasing for information as otherwise we where kept in the dark.  This probate has taken over a year to complete and its was a straight forward probate with a standard will.  Any advice please?
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  • MarconMarcon Forumite
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    My mother in law past away in March 2020, and the solicitors who held her will started the probate in May 2020. We heard nothing from the solicitor  and always have to chase for information. The house was eventually sold last week and again have to chase about the house proceeds and also the bank account funds.  The solicitor has given us statement dividing the proceeds and states £1500.00 for the probate but £6,180.00 for their bill. My husband and his brother have not spoken since their mother passed away he has left everything for us to deal with.  When we questioned the amount they advised the extra time corresponding with his brother and himself.  I have kept all correspondence with the solicitor and all the emails are us chasing for information as otherwise we where kept in the dark.  This probate has taken over a year to complete and its was a straight forward probate with a standard will.  Any advice please?
    It's impossible to know how much time the solicitors spent chasing your brother in law, assuming he was one of the executors, or exactly what they had to do. Ask then for fuller information/a breakdown of their fees. 
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    Depending on the size of the estate that does not seem to be OTT. Did the will appoint them as executors or were they appointed to sort out the estate by the executors? 

    Whichever it was it is better to have professional sorting out an estate rather then siblings who are not speaking to each other.
  • happymonkey70happymonkey70 Forumite
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    The reason the brothers are not speaking is due to my brother in law on the day my mother in law passed away they went to the house and removed items,  money, jewelry, food and alcohol from the property. They done the same when my father in law died and to top it all their daughter broke into the house and removed items again.  The probate was being actioned by the solicitor who was holding the original will. My husband found out and as you can image he hit the roof and his brother has not spoken to him since
  • SevenOfNineSevenOfNine Forumite
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    The solicitor "holding the will" doesn't make them the executor. Were they named in the will as executors & not your husband &/or BiL?
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
  • happymonkey70happymonkey70 Forumite
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    My husband and brother in law are both named as executors but seeing as the solicitor held the original will they asked them to obtain the probate. 
  • PennylanePennylane Forumite
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    I feel for you Happymonkey.  

    Sadly I have found to my own cost that there is nothing you can do if other people remove items from the deceased person’s home.  The police won’t get involved because they say it is a civil matter.  

    The other thing you do need to know is that solicitors bills soon mount up as they charge for every single item used from paper clips to folders and envelopes to phone calls to writing letters.  My friend was a legal secretary all her life and said practices she worked at had charts listing all the above and she had to keep running totals.  It does sound like the solicitor spent much of their time sending letters back and forth to the brothers.

    As someone else said DO ask for an itemised bill.  I did that in the past and got a big chunk back because I discovered they were charging me for writing to me to say they couldn’t get me on the phone when they had written down my phone number wrongly! 


  • happymonkey70happymonkey70 Forumite
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    Thank you for all your responses.  We are also querying the probate amount of £1,500.00 as originally they quoted £1,200.00, and also the original letter states we would be given updated correspondence with regards to the bill to ensure they are kept under control, and also why the solicitor has taken 17 months to complete this. Nobody we know is saying they have never heard of a probate taking so long. Something is not right. 
  • sue1976sue1976 Forumite
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    We’re currently on month 13 of probate and the solicitors bill is currently around £6,000.
  • pimentopimento Forumite
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    A relative of mine is joint executor (with a solicitor) to a friend's will and is the sole beneficiary.  The friend died in November 2020, probate was only just granted and now they understand that there may be another few months to wait while assets are transferred into their name.  The solicitor is charging £250 per hour plus VAT and my relative has only actually spoken to the solicitor once,  Emails are not replied to and phone calls are answered by the solicitor's secretary.  I expect the solicitor's bill will be around £25,000.  The estate is a house, some shares and some money.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." -- Red Adair
  • PennylanePennylane Forumite
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    pimento said:
    A relative of mine is joint executor (with a solicitor) to a friend's will and is the sole beneficiary.  The friend died in November 2020, probate was only just granted and now they understand that there may be another few months to wait while assets are transferred into their name.  The solicitor is charging £250 per hour plus VAT and my relative has only actually spoken to the solicitor once,  Emails are not replied to and phone calls are answered by the solicitor's secretary.  I expect the solicitor's bill will be around £25,000.  The estate is a house, some shares and some money.
    I think that’s about the going rate now 😱  People think they are paying for expertise and years of training but often the work is done by very junior staff or secretaries and the solicitor just signs it off when the job is done. 

    I will never forget a relative of mine repairing an antique lamp for the wife of a London solicitor who have their second home here. He charged her £20 and she said “I think that’s rather expensive!”  Damned cheek!  
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