I came across an article from the Sunday Times, today, dated 29 November 2009, regarding the extortionate Probate Fees charged by High Street banks for assisting with Probate which I thought was an interesting basis for a blog.
According to the article, Barclays, HSBC and the Lloyds Banking Group are selling services the equivalent of up to 4% of the value of the deceased’s Estate just for checking the deceased’s assets, checking the Will, assessing taxes and distributing the Estate to the beneficiaries! The article goes on to say that, often, the banks contract the work out to other firms who would charge far less if approached directly. That means the banks are not even doing the work themselves.
No need to pay excessive Probate Fees
These charges are ridiculously high. If you looking for a Probate Specialist to assist you should not assume that the bank is the best option simply because the deceased held a few of their assets there. The article states that experts say customers are not aware of the scale of the Probate Fees when they agree to instructing the bank to deal with Probate.
There are a now a large number of businesses who offer probate services since this area is now not just limited to solicitors and law firms, and the Probate Fees charged vary greatly. Probate specialists will usually charge either a percentage of the Estate as their fee, or an hourly rate charge for the work - or sometimes, both.
You must also find out beforehand if there will be any additional charges. Many firms will charge extra if they find the estate is more complicated than they initially thought or if unanticipated work arises ( e.g. assets they had previously not been told about). It is important to know about these extra costs from the outset so as not to be presented with a hefty, unexpected Probate Fees at the end of the case.
Look for a Fixed Fee Probate Quote
It is therefore important to choose a Probate Specialist carefully so as to ensure you do not end up paying an extortionate amount on legal fees when you could have saved a lot of money by researching the position more thoroughly. We believe it is best to obtain a fixed Probate Quote from a Probate Specialist before you go ahead and instruct anyone, and ensure you go through the small print to confirm there will be no hidden extras.
Remember, the higher the Probate Fees, the more the Estate value diminishes and it is unlikely that this is what your deceased relative or friend would have wanted.