Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if the solicitor is appointed as an executor of the estate or whether the executors have or are considering appointing him to act for them please?
the executor of the estate has handed his role over to the solicitor because he does not feel that he is able to fulfil his role
Thanks. Is there one or more than one executor?
it is just the solicitor who is administering the estate, with the deceased sister who is the client who has appointed him
Thanks. A solicitor is allowed under the solicitors code to charge either a percentage of the estate or an hourly or fixed fee or both I fear. The requirement is he must make clear his charges to his client.
this is what we have received,
The executor is entitled to appoint a solicitor to represent her. However there are many solicitors that will agree to conduct probate for either a fixed or capped fee without a percentage of the estate. It is up to the executor to negotiate a fee they are happy with.
fees are :
The executor is able to appoint another solicitor whose charges are acceptable paying the solicitor for his time spent to date if she has already signed his terms of business.
0.5% of the value of any property plus vat, 1% of the rest of the value of the estate plus vat
As a beneficiary you can contact some alternative solicitors on her behalf and ask about their fees in general terms although the final decision is for the executor to make herself.
Plus an hourly rate of £200 plus vat
If the executor is a sole executor, she has a duty to preserve the assets in the estate for the benefit of the beneficiaries however a beneficiary would not have a valid legal complaint against the executor for retaining a solicitor that does charge a percentage of the estate as this is a lawful practice.
thankyou so basically what we are saying is that as a beneficiaries we have no say in the fees and he can charge what he likes. How can we possibly ascertain the hours he claims ?
I am worried because my son is the main beneficiary so he stands to lose more than anyone else
it is not quite right to say you have no say. If fees are exorbitant or disproportionate to the estate, you would have a complaint against the executor as the executor has a duty to use beneficiaries to ensure costs are proportionate. The difficulty here is that the percentages proposed are within code guidance and £200 per hour for a solicitor is not unreasonable. Having said that, if the estate is simple, the solicitor should be delegating work to junior staff at lower fee rates is appropriate which is also a requirement of the solicitors code because obviously £200 per hour can quickly add up particularly if a solicitor is carrying out basic time-consuming form filling exercises himself for example
Can we go the the original excecotor (who has relinquished his role ) and ask him to look into the charges if he is not happy move to soneone else ?
any residuary beneficiary has a right to demand to see full estate accounts in order that you can see the costs incurred. In addition, though beneficiaries do not have veto rights so to speak, there is nothing stopping you from attempting to influence the decision of the executive or and as discussed above, taking proactive steps such as contacting other solicitors to obtain comparative quotes if nothing else so that you can put such comparative quotes to the executor or so that she can see that other solicitors will carry out the work more cheaply. She does not have to take notice of you but it is not in her interests to have conflict with beneficiaries as beneficiaries have rights to hold executors to account in terms of efficient handling of the estate which includes control of costs.
Could you clarify "original executor"? Is this the sister that is appointing the solicitor?
sorry no the original excecutor is the one who said he felt unable to fulfil his role, it fell into the hands of the deceased sister to find someone to administer the estate. She appointed the solicitor we have now. She was never an excecutor but l suppose she falls under next of kin ? the only other living family member is the brother who is not well enough to help
Thanks. Has the original executor formally surrendered his role by deed or just expressed his wish to do so?
expressed his wish to do so
Thanks in that case he still has authority until he formally signs a deed to give up executorship. He could appoint a solicitor who could do all the work for him if he wished.
You could make some suggestions as above.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
thankyou so much you have been really helpful. am l able to come back at some point if l have further queries ? or is there a limit to the amount of questions, also how would l get back to you in person
Yes of course. I am happy to deal with any follow up questions without charge. As to a limits, there is no absolute limit. I normally proceed on a sort of loose "fair use" policy
I am glad the above has been of some use. If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though
thanks l will see how things go