Fixed Fee Probate Services – A Bargain?
With fixed fee probate services the probate firm offering the fixed fee takes a rough look at your estate, plucks a figure out of the air and says that is your quote for fixed fee probate. We do offer fixed fee probate, but clients must be aware that the fee is based on the information they supply, and the work we agree to do, so if that changes significantly (up or down) the fee will change too.
Of course, fixed fee probate depends on us being in possession of all the facts when (or soon after) we start out, which is not always possible. It also means that it is prudent to allow for a certain amount of flexibility in the “fixed” probate fee. If not, firms would need to continually change the fee to take account of the slightest variation. And if they have under quoted, they won’t be paid properly for the work they are doing, unless they find an excuse to increase the fixed fee.
So we are up front with clients as a proportion of “fixed fee probates” will cost more as incorrect information is supplied, other beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries complicate matter by questioning or disagreeing with things, the estate turns out to be larger or more extensive than expected. This won’t apply to most, but we promise we will try to stick to the original quotation if possible, and if we can’t our hourly rate will be much lower than most.
Fixed Fee Probate or Fixed Rate?
We’re not that keen on fixed fee probate, but we do offer it if you wish, but it is dependent on you supplying the correct information as agreed and not asking us to deal with extra paperwork or other beneficiaries or family members. Extra work will be charged at our normal modest hourly rates. We can’t really see how anyone else can behave differently.
Our fixed fee probate hourly rate which is valid for a whole year (but subject to changes in VAT) and that hourly rate is often less than half that charged by other professional firms. And no tricky extras like percentage commission or responsibility allowances. We don’t charge by the letter – after all, a word processor can spit out ten standard letters in 10 minutes, and if you are paying £45 a letter, that is £450. And they’ll probably charge you for the stamps too!
We, like most of the fixed fee probate folk, do charge for what are called “disbursements” such as Court Fees, Land Registry Fees, Conveyancing Fees, but mostly the probate work is just based on a low hourly rate and charged by the minute.
Why do we charge by the minute? Because most firms charge in fixed fee 6 minute units. So if you ring a secretary 5 times in a day to find out of the solicitor is free, you will probably get charges 5 six minute units or 30 minutes. In most firms that will translate into a bill for at least £100, and in some it could be more. You have been on the phone to them for just 5 minutes which we would have charged (if we bothered to!) less than £10 for. Had the solicitor bothered to return the call, you would have been much better off! With us, you will normally speak to someone who can answer your question 9 out of 10 times, otherwise we will call you back!
So how fixed fee probate is charged and what looks cheap isn’t that simple. If you want hard working, friendly and approachable advice at very reasonable fees, the number above is the one to call!