View Full Version : Lawyers fees execution of wills

20th Feb 2018, 19:56
Caveat: Scottish law.

Having recently had both parents fall off the perch (both had an excellent run)
I've been mailed the list of fees likely to be charged for handling the execution of the will by the firm who bought out the solicitors they had used their entire lives.
I'm named as an executor and have transferred all monies in their accounts to mine, closed their accounts.
Am dealing with the tax office directly.
Funerals have been paid, all incidentals have been paid by me.

Do I need to sign the contract sent to me by the law firm, to deal with the execution of their will?
(an ex partner of the firm which sold out to the current company was also named as an executor but has had no dealings with proceedings)

I'm really irked by the list of charges sent out to me and equally irked that they have done zero research before sending it out.

I have step sisters and brothers who may complain if they feel the wills have not been executed to their favour but am still looking to avoid exorbitant charges where possible.

I'm intrinsically a lazy b'stard and will always take the path of least effort, but the 200+ quid an hour for a paralegal to photocopy things I have run through my own scanner incenses me.

I think, all I need is a family dispersal agreement and I'm done.

but, not having been through this process, I have no idea.

erm, help ?

(Feel free to tell me to pay up n shut up)

20th Feb 2018, 20:24
You need to google probate in your locality, it's easy enough to do and you don't have to be a lawyer to put the paperwork through.

The staff at the court will hopefully be helpful to a non professional doing this.

20th Feb 2018, 20:45
If you have a co executor, I believe he has a legal right to be involved in executing the will. He will need to sign the probate forms with you. Probate is not difficult- I've done two, without any hitches, though neither was a big estate.


20th Feb 2018, 20:50
If all is straightforward, then why do you need them in the first place. Have a look at the Inland Revenue site. Very helpful advice on forms to fill in etc. Applies in Scotland too.


This bit on the front page may be of interest.

You can hire a professional (for example a solicitor) to help with some or all of the tasks involved with valuing an estate. aka you don't have to.

In my case, my mother is mid-90's with dementia so ... things will take their course fairly soon. House was sold a long time ago, her (2) shareholdings have been sold, and all money is in one of 2 bank accounts with RBS. No intention of paying anything not needed to solicitors.

I would say ignore them.

20th Feb 2018, 22:38
Some of the things you mention don't make sense. For example, why would they charge the estate for things you've already done? Have you perhaps got a standard letter that's not truly applicable?

You can't ignore the fact that you are not sole executor. A partner in the successor firm is probably now your co-executor. Could you ask the retired person?

At the risk of seeming unfeeling - consult a (different) solicitor. It's a simple query - 100 tops. And a legit estate expense. If you're a cheapskate, try Citizens' Advice.

General info for Aussies - there's no "probate" in Scotland. We call it "Confirmation".

And you've got that airwave45, haven't you?

21st Feb 2018, 07:19
Don't know about Scotland, they have some funny rules, but I believe here you can appoint another co-executor so if you are worried about a step-relly getting upset about the division of the spoils, then why not appoint one, who can then be sure you have carried out the division as required by the deceased.

21st Feb 2018, 08:18
Probate is essentially an accountancy activity, so never pay lawyers exorbitant fees to to accountancy badly. The government websites have booklets telling you the steps you need to go through and the data you have to gather to be included in the probate accounts. If there's anything "complex" you may wish to buy a few hours time from a chartered accountant to finalise and format the probate accounts, but don't let them charge you 100/hr (or >200hr for a lawyer) to do basic legwork you can easily do yourself.

€0.0005 supplied,


21st Feb 2018, 09:28
If your parents had the solicitor draw up their wills and also named him as (joint) executor I think you will find they would have been told the fees charged and would have signed a form accepting this.

21st Feb 2018, 10:57
I can only speak in terms of probate in England and Wales, but I doubt if Scotland is very different, Essentialy it is very easy unless there are any complex issues.

I mananaged to do probate for a family friend inside of three months, yet I know someone who instructed a solicitor ten months later probate is still not complete.

The essential points are:

(a) Get the excutors to agree who will do the probate, it does not have to be an executor.
(b) If there are more than one executor, agree on one acting excutor, the others executors will need to give their written permission,
(c) The deseased accounts will probably be frozen, but upon presenting the bank with a death certificate and undertakers bill, they should release funds for the funeral.
(d) The acting exwcutor will need to make a statement of truth before a solicitor, but this can be done for free before a clerk at your local county court.
(e) Once you are ready to file for probate, you can file at the sub probate registry normally at your local county court, from my experience the man in the subregistry was really helpful.
(f) If there is property to be sold, it is probably best to uses a solicitor, agree on the cost either fixed or per hour, try and do as much of the footwork as you.
(g) If the deceased owned property, such as an elderly relative, if they have owned in before the 1980s it is likely that it will not be registered with the land registery, so you need to register the property ASAP. You do not need a solicitor for this, and the Land Registery are really helpful.
(h) Once you have probate, the exetor is legally bound to pay off all creditors before he or she distributes funds to agencies such as the DWP, HMRC. I am not sure what the situation is with civil debts, credit cards, etc..
(i) When I last did probate, I managed to get a 2000 grant towards the funeral costs from the DWP, I am really not sure, as the deaeased had a five figure sum in assests. Likewise I secured an additional widows pension from the DWP for eigteen months.
(i) Airwave.... I would say it is somewhat devious if your parents solicitor assumes as joint excutor he will carry out probate, he has no more right to carry our probate than the other excutors, you simply have to agree on an acting executor, and he can stand down. If you have any problems tell him you will refere him to the SRA (solicitors regulatory authority) at which stage he will back down.

Finally, to confirm that I am not a lawyer, the above is just my personal experience, in saying that probate is really just a paperwork exercise which does not justify paying a lawyer 220 an hour.