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  • FIRST POST
    • ProStuart
    • By ProStuart 13th Jul 18, 2:59 PM
    • 33Posts
    • 1Thanks
    ProStuart
    Shocked at solicitor itemised bill
    • #1
    • 13th Jul 18, 2:59 PM
    Shocked at solicitor itemised bill 13th Jul 18 at 2:59 PM
    Hi,


    Some of you may have seen previous posts about my late mothers estate.


    The solicitors have finally been granted probate so I asked them for an itemised bill for services to date.


    Can I ask if the following examples are "normal" and expected?


    1 - perusal of a bill from Water Company - 6 minutes - 23
    2 - receipt of returned death certificate from Virgin Media - 6 minutes - 23
    3 - I passed a letter addressed to my mother from a private buyer interested in buying the property. Solicitor charged 23 for 6 minutes to read the 4 line letter
    4 - letter to private buyer advising that grant has not been obtained - 23 for 6 minutes
    5 - around 100 "perusals" throughout the invoice


    In total 4750 + VAT for services so far (2250 of that charged for "perusals".


    Total estate value is around 265k


    Am I crazy to ask why the reading of a gas bill or receipt of returned documentation takes 6 minutes??????
Page 1
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 13th Jul 18, 3:06 PM
    • 244 Posts
    • 419 Thanks
    Rubik
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:06 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:06 PM
    Solicitors work in units of 6 minutes.

    If you hadn't agreed a fixed fee in advance, then you will be charged for all the work they do - even for things like reading a letter.

    I think you need to be very clear with them as to exactly what work you want them to do - if you are expecting/asking them to do EVERYTHING, then you will have to pay for it.

    You could have obtained a fixed fee for around 2,000 - it pays to shop around and use a probate quote comparison calculator.
    Last edited by Rubik; 13-07-2018 at 3:08 PM.
    • ProStuart
    • By ProStuart 13th Jul 18, 3:21 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ProStuart
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:21 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:21 PM
    When I first met with the solicitors, they said it may cost 3-5k for the handling of the estate. I did push them for a more accurate estimate but they said they couldn't but that their services were charged hourly.


    I was never given the option to ask what they should/should not do. They told me that as they were the executors they would be doing everything.
    Last edited by ProStuart; 13-07-2018 at 3:36 PM.
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 13th Jul 18, 3:37 PM
    • 244 Posts
    • 419 Thanks
    Rubik
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:37 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:37 PM
    Ah - I didn't realise they were also the executors. In addition for charging for the legal work undertaken by the firm, they will probably also be charging for their own time spent administering the estate.

    Are they the only executors?
    • comeandgo
    • By comeandgo 13th Jul 18, 3:48 PM
    • 2,251 Posts
    • 3,055 Thanks
    comeandgo
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:48 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:48 PM
    Ah yes, I remember my time sheet days when we had to itemise our days in 6min slots. So now you know contact them as little as possible.
    • Flugelhorn
    • By Flugelhorn 13th Jul 18, 3:57 PM
    • 1,030 Posts
    • 1,246 Thanks
    Flugelhorn
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:57 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Jul 18, 3:57 PM
    Ah - I didn't realise they were also the executors. In addition for charging for the legal work undertaken by the firm, they will probably also be charging for their own time spent administering the estate.

    Are they the only executors?
    Originally posted by Rubik
    i think the problem the OP has is that mum put the solicitors as sole executor - probably thought she was doing the right thing at the time, quite a few people get persuaded to do this.
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 13th Jul 18, 4:00 PM
    • 244 Posts
    • 419 Thanks
    Rubik
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 4:00 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 18, 4:00 PM
    i think the problem the OP has is that mum put the solicitors as sole executor - probably thought she was doing the right thing at the time, quite a few people get persuaded to do this.
    Originally posted by Flugelhorn
    yes, they do - not realising the costs involved when administering the estate.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 13th Jul 18, 5:11 PM
    • 11,175 Posts
    • 9,532 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:11 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:11 PM
    Estate 265K, solicitor's bill <5K, so less than 2%.
    • Rubik
    • By Rubik 13th Jul 18, 5:22 PM
    • 244 Posts
    • 419 Thanks
    Rubik
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:22 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Jul 18, 5:22 PM
    The bill is for services to date - doesn't sound as though the job is completed yet.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 13th Jul 18, 10:55 PM
    • 11,441 Posts
    • 13,211 Thanks
    AnotherJoe
    Not much help to you OP but hopefully some people reading this will realise what a mistake it is naming solicitors as executors in a will especially when in many cases the relatives will have to do all the leg work anyway before handing it over to solicitors.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 14th Jul 18, 7:35 AM
    • 33,476 Posts
    • 20,229 Thanks
    getmore4less
    A lot of the work with estates is very low level admin, a fairly typical sequence

    send a letter(inc death cert) asking for the account details/final balance.
    Get the death cert back
    Get the reply
    (repeat if lucky one set of communication does it)
    Add to the inventory the assets value.
    later send letter to collect the asset(if a cash based one)
    put the asset in the client account.

    Something as simple as dealing with each utility can rack up 100 or more just doing the basics on an asset that has no significant value.
    • konark
    • By konark 15th Jul 18, 1:46 AM
    • 1,112 Posts
    • 839 Thanks
    konark
    Dear OP, I have just spent 6 minutes 'perusing' this thread.

    Please send me 23
    • MidsLife
    • By MidsLife 16th Jul 18, 8:24 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    MidsLife
    I thought being charged 16 for six minutes of work by my solicitor was unreasonable, that!!!8217;s even worse!

    Can they legally charge you when you have to email them to chase for an update because they!!!8217;ve not provided any for a month and fail to update their online tracker?
    • Lucy5781
    • By Lucy5781 16th Jul 18, 1:09 PM
    • 543 Posts
    • 3,347 Thanks
    Lucy5781
    Our mother made solicitors her executors. So we agreed the fixed fee first to avoid steadily climbing rates.

    Possibly why it took them five months to get the house on the market after we cleared it with six weeks... but it means they're not itemising costs.

    Estate is worth almost 400k so their quote of 4k, which was the value of her car, now sold, by my brother, within three months... was fine with us.

    Frustrating overall though, my father in law is an accountant and my brother's mother in law has been a legal secretary at a probate solicitors for over 30 years. Would have been fine doing it ourselves but mum got too ill to get will changed when we realised what she'd done.
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    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 16th Jul 18, 1:15 PM
    • 4,689 Posts
    • 3,918 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    When I first met with the solicitors, they said it may cost 3-5k for the handling of the estate. I did push them for a more accurate estimate but they said they couldn't but that their services were charged hourly.


    I was never given the option to ask what they should/should not do. They told me that as they were the executors they would be doing everything.
    Originally posted by ProStuart
    You can ask for the bill to be formally reviewed by the court. You just have to ask them.
    • LarryLancaster
    • By LarryLancaster 16th Jul 18, 2:15 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    LarryLancaster
    Sounds like pretty good value to me! Someone I know was named in a will that was administered by a solicitor as the deceased had no children so appointed her solicitor to administer her estate (which included selling her house worth around 300k).



    The solicitors' bill for probate and managing the house sale came to something like 20k.
    • LobsterMemory
    • By LobsterMemory 16th Jul 18, 7:58 PM
    • 80 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    LobsterMemory
    To be honest, *if* you accept that solicitors' charges of 100-200 per hour are acceptable then it's not difficult to see how a 20k bill can result.

    If lay executors were able to charge for their time then you'd probably get a similar figure as the norm - a lot of which would be for checking and double-checking you were doing the right thing. And even then getting it wrong.

    The process just isn't bish, bash, bosh
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 16th Jul 18, 9:38 PM
    • 8,811 Posts
    • 10,121 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    Am I crazy to ask why the reading of a gas bill or receipt of returned documentation takes 6 minutes??????
    Originally posted by ProStuart
    It doesn't take the solicitor 6 minutes, but that's the unit of time they work in. (You might be surprised how many 6 minute units a productive solicitor can bill in one sixty-minute period!) The rate includes not just the solicitor's time but all the overheads of running the business including other staff, premises, IT, professional insurance, etc. 230 an hour isn't that high.

    Some solicitors will quote a lower hourly rate, but they may charge a separate rate for the clerk's time, typing, photocopying etc.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 16th Jul 18, 10:02 PM
    • 33,476 Posts
    • 20,229 Thanks
    getmore4less
    Our mother made solicitors her executors. So we agreed the fixed fee first to avoid steadily climbing rates.

    Possibly why it took them five months to get the house on the market after we cleared it with six weeks... but it means they're not itemising costs.

    Estate is worth almost 400k so their quote of 4k, which was the value of her car, now sold, by my brother, within three months... was fine with us.

    Frustrating overall though, my father in law is an accountant and my brother's mother in law has been a legal secretary at a probate solicitors for over 30 years. Would have been fine doing it ourselves but mum got too ill to get will changed when we realised what she'd done.
    Originally posted by Lucy5781
    Even with a fixed fee it is worth considering doing some stuff yourself just to make progress.

    Selling a house is relatively self contained doing the legwork, picking the estate agent, valuations, negotiating the fee etc. having the solicitor just signing the paperwork can make things happen a lot quicker.
    • Lucy5781
    • By Lucy5781 17th Jul 18, 4:32 PM
    • 543 Posts
    • 3,347 Thanks
    Lucy5781
    Even with a fixed fee it is worth considering doing some stuff yourself just to make progress.

    Selling a house is relatively self contained doing the legwork, picking the estate agent, valuations, negotiating the fee etc. having the solicitor just signing the paperwork can make things happen a lot quicker.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    Yes, I fully agree but between us my brother and I have four children aged three or under. He's in the middle of exchanging his own house sale and I gave birth to my second child just two months after mum passed away. My husband then had ankle repair surgery when I had a five week old newborn and is only now walking independently again eight weeks later.

    It's been a rather intense five months all round.

    Also the estate is 80 miles from us both, it's costing enough in petrol, food and toll charges going down there even without us managing anything.
    Credit Card & Overdraft Debts Jan 2012: 16,000+ Credit Card & Overdraft Debts Sep 2013: 13,023
    DRO Completed: 30/09/2014

    My Diary - http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4202761
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