Legal Fees

bluestilton

Registered User
Looking for some advice. My father died last year without leaving a will. I am trying to help my mother sort out her legal affairs. In order for her to make her will my siblings and I need to sign back our share of the estate to her, she can then sort out as she wishes. Otherwise the estate would have to be sold on her death and we dont want the house to go out of the family. The family home and approx 5 acres of land are all that are in question. We recently visited a solicitor who advised us to get a Valuation on the house and land and asked for pps numbers of all the children. We asked the solicitor how much the process would cost but he would not give us a straight answer. Does anyone have a rough estimate of how much the whole process should cost. My mother is an OAP with no other means.
 

DirectDevil

Frequent Poster
The actual costs will depend upon the amount of work to be done and the degree of complexity of the transactions. There will be outlays such as stamp duties and VAT at 23% on the professional fee.

The solicitor should give you what is called a Section 68 letter setting out a summary of the work involved and the likely estimated costs. It would be wise to get a few quotes BEFORE instructing a solicitor to act.
 

Bronte

Frequent Poster
The solicitor is legally obliged to give you the Section 68 letter. I would supply no PPS number until you've been told how much is going to be charged.

If the mother is leaving everything to her children in equal shares she probably doesn't need a will. A simple will shouldn't cost more than a couple of hundred euro.

As the only asset appears to be a house and 5 acres why do anything at all. Just leave everything as it is and when the mother dies the children inherit her share. This should be discussed as an option with a solicitor.

What makes you say the house must be sold on her death.

Why do the family not want the house sold on death?
 

T McGibney

Frequent Poster
The actual costs will depend upon the amount of work to be done and the degree of complexity of the transactions. There will be outlays such as stamp duties and VAT at 23% on the professional fee.

The solicitor should give you what is called a Section 68 letter setting out a summary of the work involved and the likely estimated costs. It would be wise to get a few quotes BEFORE instructing a solicitor to act.
A section 68 letter and a quote are two different things. There is no requirement for the former to specify a monetary amount.

In my book, fixed fee estate processing is for mugs. You'll either end up getting robbed blind, because the solicitor will have to price in every possible contingency from the very outset, or end up with a solicitor who is so desperate to take on the work that they will incur financial risk for the privilege of agreeing to do it.
 
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Bronte

Frequent Poster
Because if he supplies anything and the solicitor acts on it he is hired or will be looking for payment. There is no way I'd hire a solicitor unless I knew the price in advance. This case is not complicated. There is no reason not to be given a price.
 

T McGibney

Frequent Poster
Because if he supplies anything and the solicitor acts on it he is hired or will be looking for payment. There is no way I'd hire a solicitor unless I knew the price in advance. This case is not complicated. There is no reason not to be given a price.
How can you tell? A man has died without making a will. That inherently involves complication.
 

Bronte

Frequent Poster
I don't see the complication. The children merely disclaim their inheritence. Once they do this their share goes back into the estate and the mother inherits free of tax. I'm surprised the OP was not told this by the solicitor.

And you don't always need a will. If you're the spouse and there are no children there's no need. Or if you're the surviving parent with only children there's no need either. But it's easier if you do one and appoint an executor.
 

Bronte

Frequent Poster
They must not sign anything to the mother. They just renounce and their share goes into the estate to be distrubted according to intestacy rules which means the mother inherits everything. She then makes a will leaving the house to whoever. Which will of course cause fights if they all think they can just keep the house forever or if the house goes to one child over another.
 

john luc

Frequent Poster
as regards yourself and others who inherit from your father you can refuse this and so it all passes back to your mother. ditto too on the advise about the solicitor
 

staff

Frequent Poster
By law he is required to give you a Section 68 letter. This letter should at the very least give you an estimate of the fees either a percentage of the estate or an actual figure. Personally I would prefer an actual figure. As said above there will be 23% VAT added to that which will probably not be mentioned in the S68 letter and also any outlays that the solicitor may incur when carrying out the deal. The only reason that the solicitor should have for increasing his estimate by any large amount is if the file becomes very messy and protracted and he will have covered this in his S68 letter.
 

Jim Stafford

Frequent Poster
She then makes a will leaving the house to whoever
This, for me, is the real issue. You may believe you are helping out your mother by disclaiming your inheritance, whereas in actual fact you might be giving an effective gift to a sibling if your mother decides to give the house to just one sibling in due course.

There is nothing to prevent you from claiming your inheritance, having your ownership interest properly registered, and allowing your mother to continue living there.

Having said the above, if your parents owned the house as Joint Tenants (which is likely) then your mother becomes 100% owner of the house under the survivorship rule.

Jim Stafford
 

T McGibney

Frequent Poster
By law he is required to give you a Section 68 letter. This letter should at the very least give you an estimate of the fees either a percentage of the estate or an actual figure.
Have you a source for this? Many of the S.68 letters I have seen are a lot more vague than that. The percentage fee basis is transparent but is inherently expensive as the solicitor is incentivised to set it at a rate that covers every imaginable contingency, many of which will not simultaneously arise on a single file.
 

staff

Frequent Poster
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1994/act/27/section/68/enacted/en/html

I have attached the full link above but the section below is the section which I am referring to. Hope this helps.

68.—(1) On the taking of instructions to provide legal services to a client, or as soon as is practicable thereafter, a solicitor shall provide the client with particulars in writing of—

(a) the actual charges, or

(b) where the provision of particulars of the actual charges is not in the circumstances possible or practicable, an estimate (as near as may be) of the charges, or

(c) where the provision of particulars of the actual charges or an estimate of such charges is not in the circumstances possible or practicable, the basis on which the charges are to be made,
 

staff

Frequent Poster
Where I work we would always use either (a) or (b) but that would apply to mainly conveyancing or banking issues. Litigation would always be harder to estimate / guess and I presume that this is what (c) is used to cover.
 

Bronte

Frequent Poster
There is no reason why a solicitor in this case would not be able to give an actual fee. Plus an estimate of land registry costs.
 

Vanilla

Frequent Poster
Probate solicitors usually don't give a quote until they have been given details of all of the assets, including valuations. This is standard practice. The value of the estate determines the court stamp duty on the application which is scaled, and the details of the assets will determine the amount of work involved. It is different from other legal work, where it is easier to quote up front.
 
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