Probate – Advice on Solicitor’ Charges – June 2017
Solicitors are obliged by Section 68 of the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1994 to inform their clients in writing about the fees the client will be charged when work is completed. This applies to probate work as it does to any other matter. However, the Law Society recommends that when solicitors are instructed to apply for probate and to administer an estate, they should provide written information about their costs not only to the client (who is the Executor of the will) but also to any beneficiaries out of whose share of the estate the legal costs will have to be paid. The solicitor should, therefore, seek instructions from the Executor authorising the solicitor to write directly to those beneficiaries about the estimated costs. In practice, this means that any person who is entitled to a percentage share of the residue of an estate (i.e. what is left after the estate debts are paid) should be given advice in writing concerning the legal costs that will be charged to the estate.