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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10982
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Good morning, I am the sole beneficiary of my sisters estate

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Good morning, I am the sole beneficiary of my sisters estate which amounts to just under £470.000. My sister had a property in the Uk and also a retirement home in the US including other assets. I have since received a break down bill of the estate from the UK solicitor. The Uk solicitor charges are £26.500 and the US solicitor charges are £7.680. I am fully aware that solicitor fees are steep but this sounds extreme. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Buachaill :

1. YOu have two options here in relation to the excessive fees charged by the solicitors. Firstly, you can make a complaint to the Solicitors REgulation Authority on the basis that the charging was excessive. Go to where you will find out the procedure for making a complaint. Secondly, you can apply to have the bill assessed by the High Court in accordance with the procedure formerly known as the taxation of costs. Here a High Court official will determine whether the bill is fair and properly measured. Finally, be aware that all solicitors will negotiate in relation to their fees should a client or an estate argue that the bill is too high. So before you utilise any of the formal complaint mechanisms, speak with the solicitor directly about the fees and raise the issue of charging being excessive. Then negotiate a fee you think was fair.

Customer: Sorry only just replying as I've been working all weekend and only just finished late tonight and got a chance to reply.
Customer: The solicitor is the executor of my sisters will. Is that a reason for the charges being so high? Also the following is the bill -
Customer: Firstly the solicitor is the executor of the will, therefore has that got anything to do with the high solicitor fees? Also the charges are as followed £3,869.66 for duplicate set of keys, outstanding and final gas bill and so forth. US solicitor £5,180.00 + reserve £2,500.00 UK solicitor: interim legal fees £12,000.00 + vat @ 20% 2,400.00 plus interim legal fees £5,000 + vat @ 20% £1,000. Also reserve for legal fees £5,000 + vat @ 20% £1,000. All this totals to
Customer: all this totals to £37,949.66 on an estate worth £467,277.38. Does this sound right to you? What are all these additional interim legal charges and reserve legal fees??? Thanks
Buachaill :

2. Yes, a solicitors fees for acting an executor would be a good reason for the charges being much higher than the US lawyer. Fees would be three times greater where the executor was a solicitor and he was not just doing legal work. Some of what you mention are not legal fees at all. The 3,869.66 are bills of the estate not legal fees. These would have to be paid even if no work were done. Without knowing what the estate involved, I would have no idea of how fees as executor were generated. Here you will have to ask another solicitor to look through the bill and view the charges.

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