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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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1 beneficiary out of 8 is refusing the solcitor/executors

Customer Question

1 beneficiary out of 8 is refusing the solcitor/executor's fees unless the others are penalised for any form of communication they have used compared to the very few she herself has used. Eveyone has finally agreed the fees and the cheques are ready to be distributed but she will not sign the agreement. How long can she delay this receipt of inheritance for everyone?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How much are the solicitor's fees and how much does she agree to? How much is in issue?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

letters out: 213 @ £24. = £5.112 - letters in: 196 @ £12. = £2.352

Tel attendances : 51 @ £12. = £612 - emails 153 @ £6.00 = £918.


Total fees from the firm: around £12.700 all exluding of VAT


According to her daughter she wrote 3/4 letters and made 2/3 phone calls. A lot of work was done at the time of the funeral by myself and others and since the deceased death, kept in contact with the executor/solicitor as we were not getting any news and arranged distribution or verification of belongings via emails etc..

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you but that doesn't really answer the question. Of all the letters and the telephone calls how many is she saying are unnecessary ones from other parties?

Clearly, any probate matter requires a considerable numbers of letters out and telephone calls etc.

If there was a property for sale, the sale of the property alone could easily account for 50 letters each way

I need to know exactly what she is disputing.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I cannot answer your question either as there was no detailed account of forms of communication attributed to any party in particular. There are 2 families, mine and a step family. I represented ours and another party represented theirs, all information obtained was passed on to each other. She wants all individual to be accounted for the expenses incurred and I supposed relating to their personal enquiry or enquiries as 2 families into 1. There is quite a bit of inheritance and the solcitor has dropped their fees by nearly £2.000 ( new amount mentioned in previous email) but will insist that what she couldn't do, others did on her behalf as she is looking after her handicapped husband but indeed not all correspondence related to her as she didn't wish to receive anything from the estate apart from money.

Is this correspondence for public domaine or is it private between you and I?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

It appears that the reluctant beneficiary is disputing something but doesn't actually know what she is disputing!

The cost of calculating what she is wanting to be attributed to all the beneficiaries on a blow by blow letter by letter basis is probably going to cost more than she is arguing over! The solicitor is going to be charging £200 per hour for that calculation and it is going to take a few hours.

This correspondence is public domain but no one knows who you are or where you are including me.

As soon as we finish our exchange I can close the question for you as soon as you tell me and it is then no longer viewable by the public or me. That closes it forever.

I will tell you the cheapest and easiest and quickest way of dealing with this. That is to ask her how much of the correspondence she think was unnecessary and that she is being asked to pay for and agree that that doesn't need to be paid. It is unlikely she will have a figure.

Let me put this into perspective.

The total fees are £12,700 plus VAT which is £15,240 and there are eight beneficiaries. Assuming that the eight beneficiaries all inherited the same amount of money, the total fees attributable to each party would be £1905.

So assuming that she got her share done for nothing the argument can only be over £1905, which between seven of you is just over £270 each.

My suggestion would be to agree for the seven of you to absorb her share of the administration costs, purely to get rid of this. You can always sue her in the Small Claims Court later!

If this were to go to court to be determined by the court you could easily end up with a bill of between £5000 and £10,000.

Doing the maths a slightly different way the administration fees with VAT at £15,240 between eight of you that would be £1905 each. Between seven of you it is £2177 if she had not contributed in any way whatsoever to the administration and she gets it for nothing. For the sake of £270 each, I would agree for all of you to absorb all the administration costs and she gets it for nothing. I know that that is completely unacceptable because it means that she is getting her share free of administration costs and in effect she is over £1900 better off but it will get rid of it quickly and easily.

Alternatively, take her to court.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. Only the solicitor knows how much communication has been exchanged with them, not her. Yes a property was sold also. We have all agreed their fees finally, except her. If she pursues this, more expenses will be incurred. Will we all have to contribute to those fees and is there a time limit for the estate to be finalised or an she make us wait forever until she is satisfied or we surrender as you suggest?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I need to clarify. This beneficiary is not disputing the solicitor's cost of administration. She is disputing the no of letters, emails, tel calls etc that each of us has made to the solicitor therefore she wants all of us to be accounted for these individually as I and another party from the other family have made the most representing our families. I am also blaming the solicitor who has refused for any of us to go to the deceased's house to sort out any belonging which we may wish to receive. It just so happened that she didn't want anything apart from photographs and books which were never found (they went to the auction by mistake). All together, we have delt with 3 solicitors, as such we have been offered a reduction in their fees.So yes, we have incurred more communication than her but considering the work being done on her behalf, funeral arrangement, interment etc, thought she would understand. Everything went into one bag without abusing the others but helping them including her.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
If she acts completely unreasonably even though you may end up taking her to court, the court can order her to bear all the costs of the litigation which as I said, could easily be between £5000 and £10,000.

There is no time limit on this book basically if you get fed up, you take her to court.

The other way of dealing this is for the executors to make an interim distribution of everything except the amount of money that she is arguing over.

That is probably the easiest way of doing it.

What you are saying about her not disputing the cost of administration but she is disputing the number of letters etc is actually the same thing because it is the number of letters etc that is accounted for the cost. It seems to be the amount of unnecessary letters that she is objecting to butt in all honesty they are going to be minimal compared to the overall number of letters etc which are exchanged on the matter like this.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you and now wish to close

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I do not wish to continue and would like this case to be closed please. Thank you.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. Just to let you know that,that beneficiary hasn't contacted the solicitor, except me via her daughter. Was trying it on I suppose. However, the solicitor getting fed up has now decided to send the cheques to everyone today of Monday as she one 1 out of 8 so the matter is closed. Thank you for your help.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.

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