Some Probate and Estate Administration specialists (and Will writers) have been accused of overcharging people in a vulnerable position. Even some large companies and institutions such as Solicitors and Banks have been accused of quite serious overcharging and hidden extras in their quotes for fees.
People who have been recently bereaved are very often very willing to believe the promises of a sales person in their home – and not look too closely at the terms and conditions. Not all Probate and Estate Administration services are the same – some only cover very basic assistance.
Others claim their fees are "fixed" but actually add a lot of extras including a percentage of the Estate (the total value of the deceased's assets. )
Seven tips to avoid Probate Rip-offs
- Get a full fixed quote with the terms and conditions before any meeting is agreed.
- Make sure you understand what is covered in the service and how much it will cost.
- Get some help making the decision – don't be pressured in a face-to-face meeting.
- Look for any charges based on a percentage of the Estate Value – insist on Fixed Fees.
- Don't assume that any Probate Specialists or Solicitors written into the Will have to act as Executors – they can always be changed – shop around. A Deed of Renunciation will remove them if needed.
- If the Probate Specialists suggest Third Parties such as Estate Agents and Valuers, make sure that these fees are competitive and fair.
- Above all, use your common sense. Don't sign anything you don't understand and take plenty of advice from friends and family.