The Daily Mail’s recent front page headline “Now the banks cash in on wills” highlighted a growing problem arising from free or low cost wills drafted by banks and other financial institutions. Free or low cost wills were drawn up for customers, which appointed the bank as executor of their estate. The bank will then charge a percentage of the estate in fees, which can result in charges greatly in excess of the typical legal costs in administering probate.
The article highlighted a case study where one bank quoted £11,500 to administer an estate worth £400,000. With the rise in house prices, particularly in London, even simple estates could result in five figure charges being incurred on a percentage basis.
Here at Freemans Solicitors, we charge the actual cost of drawing up a will and do not ask you to appoint us as executor nor require you to instruct us to apply for the Grant of Probate and administer the estate. If your executors want us to administer the estate, we charge an hourly rate for the time we spend, with the typical cost significantly below the figures quoted in the Daily Mail.
If you have a will drawn up by a bank or other professional who has been named as executor, it is not too late to save your money. A new will can be drafted, naming family members or other trusted individuals as executors and leaving them to choose whether they need help administering the estate, and from whom. They are likely to be able to save significant sums by appointing a solicitor on an hourly rate basis when compared to a percentage value of the estate.
Whatever your personal circumstances the above is only a guide and we would advise you to contact us to obtain definitive advice as you will appreciate that each person’s circumstances are unique to them.