Services and Pricing

1.      Our Services and Pricing for Letters of Administration and Probate 

2.     Our Services and Prices for Residential Sales, Purchases and Mortgages

3.      Our Services and Pricing for Legal Services other than the Administration of an Estate and Residential Conveyancing

4.      The Basics of Price Calculation

1.      Our Services and Pricing for the Administration of an Estate.

Before agreeing our pricing with you we would always have a detailed discussion to find out more about your requirements and how much you would like us to assist.

We need to identify what is important to you and what value we can provide to you with our services.

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, multiple properties and multiple assets, shares and bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

The Key Stages and Processes of a Probate or Letters of Administration

The precise stages involved in this commission vary according to the circumstances. However, we suggest some key stages are likely where we will be:-

  • Taking your detailed instructions
  • Considering and agreeing the terms of our retainer
  • Completing a Will search through Certainty, the National Will Register if applicable.
  • Contacting the organisations of which we have been notified regarding the estate’s assets and liabilities.
  • Going through all of the paperwork that has been supplied to us with, an agreed 20 day retainer once we receive your confirmation and if you change your mind and consider anything needs to be dealt with more speedily (for example, precarious investments)  please let us know.
  • Preparing a detailed schedule of assets and liabilities having regard to the Inheritance Tax Act provisions.
  • Drafting appropriate Oaths, Affidavits etc as required by the Court for swearing.
  • Preparing an application under section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 to ascertain if the estate owes any money to anyone which could be claimed from the executors if this was not dealt with by the estate.
  • Applying to the London Gazette for completion of the section 27 notice.
  • Applying to a local paper for an advertisement of the section 27 notice.
  • Drafting the appropriate IHT forms for approval, engrossment and execution.
  • Applying to the Court to prove the Will/obtain Letters of Administration.
  • Applying to the Revenue to obtain income tax clearance *(if applicable).
  • Applying to the Revenue to obtain capital gains tax clearance *(if applicable).
  • Applying to the Revenue to obtain inheritance tax clearance *(if applicable)
  • Applying to the Social Security, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Offices to obtain clearance *(if applicable).
  • Realising the estate assets.
  • Paying the estate liabilities.
  • Preparing detailed Estate Accounts.
  • Arranging the payments of any pecuniary legacies *(if applicable).
  • Arranging the distribution of any specific gifts *(if applicable).
  • Completing the estate distribution and accounting to the residuary beneficiaries.

How long will your Estate Administration take:-

The general rule is that the Executors have the Executor’s Year to deal with the estate before pecuniary beneficiaries under a Will are entitled to interest.

On average, estates are dealt with within 2-6 months.

Typically,  the main processes that take time are:-

    • Obtaining details of the Assets and Liabilities of the estate from the appropriate bodies.
    • Preparing the application to the Court and the application to the Revenue.
    • Waiting for the Court and the Revenue to process our application and grant you the formal Court Order.
      • Collecting in the assets and paying the liabilities.
    • Agreeing and distributing the relevant assets and funds to the appropriate beneficiaries.

The periods that each step will take varies tremendously. If everyone we deal with on your behalf is efficient this can be done closer to the two months but if it takes us 3 letters/telephone calls to get a reply from an asset holder or the Court is particularly busy at this time or a beneficiary may be difficult to get ahold of etc then it will take longer.

Our fee estimation assumes that:-

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 3 Bank or Building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 3 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on the division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate

Disbursements:-

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process and disbursements which may be payable in an estate could include:-

  • The Court Probate fee details of which can be obtained by contacting the Government website.
  • £7.00 Swearing of the Oath (per person) £5 per administration.
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2.00 per beneficiary)
  • Local and London Gazette advertisements which protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors details of the costs can be obtained from the appropriate papers involved.

Potential additional costs:-

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information.
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required additional fees may be charged by the Court and please check the government website for details.
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

Factors that may increase the costs of our service-

    • If the Will is defective in whole or in part
    • If there is a dispute as to the capacity of the testator to make the Will
    • If there is a claim on the estate by a potential disappointed beneficiary
    • If there are one or more missing beneficiaries that need to be found to close the estate
    • If you are not able to provide all details of the assets and it is necessary to search various registers for unclaimed assets
    • If it is necessary to apply for several Court Orders in view of the testator needing to obtain money from other estates that have not been duly administered
    • Should the Court require any further evidence on the valid creation of the Will
    • If crucial documents we have previously requested from you have not been provided
    • Dealing with urgent estate requirements for wasting assets, unsecure valuables, insurances etc.
    • Arranging insurances for properties, chattels and intangible assets
  • Arranging repairs, plumbing and other maintenance for any estate property.

Our Price for the Above Services:-

In our initial discussions we will go through the various work required and obtain your instruction on exactly what you would like us to do and what you will do yourself to assist a smooth administration of the estate.

We will then agree what the price will be and we generally find this can be between ½ to 5% of the estate depending upon the exact work involved plus VAT at 20% on the price.

We will use the most economic lawyers in our firm to reduce the pricing expense subject to protecting your interest.

Further we will only charge for the work that we do such as emails, letters, telephone attendances, meetings, research and drafting and details of our charges are included in our terms of engagement and business unless there is an unusual circumstance which involves greater responsibility for us Based on experience the price for the majority of estates will be in the middle ranges between the two extremes referred to above and when we have discussed what your exact requirements are, we can give a more accurate estimate.

2. Our Services and Prices for Residential Sales, Purchases and Mortgages.

Before agreeing our costs with you we will have a detailed discussion to ascertain your situation and requirements on your transaction for example a first-time buyer with a mortgage will wish to follow all the necessary steps whereas a commercial buyer of a residential property may decide to short circuit the process for various reasons and this will change the amount of work involved.

We will take your instructions to identify what is important to you to enable you to use our services for maximum value.

Our Services on a House Purchase:-

a) The Stages and Processes of Purchasing and Mortgaging a Freehold Residential Property:-

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, we suggest some key stages where we will:-

  • Take your instructions and give you initial advice
  • Check finances are in place to fund your purchase and contact lender’s solicitors if needed
  • Receive and advise on contract documents
  • Carry out searches – “these are usually six searches for properties in Cornwall and details of the prices can be obtained from the PSG Website.
  • Obtain further planning documentation if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received
  • Go through conditions of your mortgage offer with you
  • Advise you on the final draft of the contract for your signature
  • Agree a completion date (the date from which you own the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from your lender and you
  • Complete your purchase
  • Deal with payments of Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Deal with your application for registration at the Land Registry

b) The Stages and Processes of Purchasing and Mortgaging a Leasehold Residential Property:-

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a leasehold residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, they will generally include all the above stages for a freehold property and also are likely to include these key stages are likely where we will:-

  • Contact your Landlord to ascertain the requirements of a purchase
  • Pay for any necessary Landlords pack of information
  • Research the Landlord’s Title
  • Complete the required documentation which can include Deeds of Covenant, appropriate Deeds of Consent, etc
  • After completion, notify the Landlord
  • Deal with all rental requirements on the purchase
  • If this is a part sale, check the registration at the Land Registry on the land you have retained.

c) Stages and Processes of Selling a Freehold or Leasehold Property:-

The precise stages may include most of the items in the stages of a purchase and mortgage of a freehold or leasehold property. However, we suggest some additional key stages are likely where we will:-

  • Contact mortgager on your behalf to ascertain the level of your indebtedness to redeem your mortgage
  • Deal with enquiries on the purchaser’s searches
  • Draft the transfer although we will not need to draft the contract
  • If this is a sale of a second property, dealing with refunds of Stamp Duty
  • If this is a part sale, checking the registration at the Land Registry of the land that you have retained.

Searches, Enquiries or Legal Actions we can take

There are scores of searches, enquiries and legal protections we could assist you with and we will go through these with you before you decide what you would like us to do on your behalf.

How long will my Residential House Purchase, Mortgage or Sale take:-

The timing of the binding exchange of contracts on a residential property will usually be several weeks before the actually completion.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict exactly how long between the exchange of contracts and completion as these can be between several months and literally on the same day.

Services that are not included

There are scores of searches, enquiries and legal protections we could assist you with and we will go through these with you before you decide what you would like us to do on your behalf

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as search fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. There are certain disbursements which will be set out in the individual leases relating to the Property.

The disbursements which we anticipate may apply are set out separately below. This list is not exhaustive and other disbursements may apply depending on the term of the contract, lease etc. We will update you on the specific fees upon receipt and our review of the lease documentation.

  • HM Land Registry fees: the exact cost can be obtained from HM Revenue’s website depending upon the value of your property
  • Search fees: these can be ascertained from PSG’s website
  • VAT on search fees at 20%
  • Electronic money transfer fee: £25.00
  • VAT on transfer £5.00
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax depends on the purchase price of your property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC’s website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website.
  • Notice of Transfer fees – This fee can be calculated by reading the relevant clause in the lease.
  • Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – this fee can be calculated by reading the relevant clause in the lease
  • Deed of Covenant fees – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate.
  • Certificate of Compliance fee – To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease documentation.

These fees vary from property to property and we can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents.

You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as we receive this information.

Our fee estimation assumes that:-

  1. this is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise including for example (but not limited to) defects in title which requires remedying prior to completion, the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction, necessary insurances
  2. this is the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease
  3. the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise
  4. all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation
  5. no indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required.

Factors that will typically increase the cost of our services:-

  • If legal title is defective or part of the property is unregistered
  • If you discover building regulations or planning permission has not been obtained
  • If crucial documents we have previously requested from you have not been provided.
  • Delay by the other parties to the transaction or their lawyers

  • Change of the other parties’ lawyers

  • The need to take out or change various insurances to enable the transaction to progress to cover defects as referred to above

  • Resolving difficulties with adverse search results such as the discovery of mining related, environmental or other problems with the property”

Our Price for the Above Services:-

In our initial discussions we will go through the various work required and obtain your instruction on exactly what you would like us to do and what you will do yourself to assist a smooth administration of the residential property transaction.

We will then agree what the price will be and we generally find this will be between £500 to 1% of the value of the property plus VAT at 20% on the price.

Our price for the transaction will generally be less for a sale rather than a purchase as there is generally less work involved, similarly a purchase without a mortgage will be less than a purchase with a mortgage in view of the additional work involved, similarly in a purchase of a freehold property will be less expensive than a purchase of a leasehold property as there will be less work involved.

Unfortunately, however these can be only general guidelines as we have seen examples where these were not the case.

Range of Our Costs:-

We have completed transactions for £500 on very expensive properties and on the other hand have had to charge 1% for lower value properties which has had a great deal of necessary work done over a long time period.

We will use the most economic lawyers in our firm to reduce the pricing expense subject to protecting your interest.

Further we will only charge for the work that we do such as emails, letters, telephone attendances, meetings, research and drafting and details of our charges are included in our terms of engagement and business.

3.      Our Services and Pricing for Legal Services other than the Administration of an Estate and Residential Conveyancing

We are able to offer legal services in a great variety of legal work including:-

  • Wills, Trusts and Probate Law.
  • Commercial, Residential and Intellectual Property Law.
  • Business, Commercial and Company Law.
  • Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax and Income Tax.
  • lasting, enduring, general powers of attorney and attornyships including Court of Protection law.
  • Employment, Franchising and Maritime Law.
  • Commercial and Civil Litigation.
  • Family, Children and Criminal Law etc.

4.    Our Price Calculation

We have a set fee to cover all overheads and to provide a margin for profits at the end. This incorporates our lawyers, secretaries, cashiers, managers, locums and support staff where necessary.

Because of the varying levels of responsibility, we charge at different rates for different types of work and according to who is handling it for you. For instance, if we are dealing with a speeding offence the level of responsibility carried is much less than if we are dealing with a multi million pound business takeover. Although we would always discount the price for established clients and smaller legal commissions the maximum we could charge would be strictly calculated.

We have a time recording system which divides each hour into units of six minutes and each unit will be charged as at five pounds (£5.00) per unit for all Legal Administrators except John Brooker and Allan Broom who will be charged at six pounds (£6.00) per unit, all Managing Clerks who will be charged at eight pounds (£8.00) per unit, Daisy Collard, Louise Richards and Kate Harris who will be charged at eleven pounds and ten pence (£11.10) per unit, Kathryn Brooker who will be charged at seventeen pounds and seventy pence (£17.70) per unit and Clive Hart who will be charged at twenty four pounds and fifty pence (£24.50) per unit.