Gedye and Sons

SOLICITORS FROM THE CITY TO THE COUNTRY

London

020 3427 5078
infoOB@gedye.co.uk

The Lakes

01539 532313
info@gedye.co.uk

Pricing and Procedure

Introduction

We, like all firms of solicitors, only have two key elements we sell – our TIME and our EXPERTISE.  So in giving a guide on our charges much depends on the time we have to take and the expertise level of the person doing the work.

Ultimately our charges also have to be fair and reasonable bearing in mind other factors such as significant out of office hours working, extra responsibilities or undertaking work as an urgent priority.

On occasions we may charge for time taken in travelling to a meeting although we appreciate that where a client may be elderly or have difficulties accessing either of our offices then a home visit can be arranged without additional charge.

TIME – at its simplest the more time we have to spend on a matter – either in direct meetings or telephone calls with you or others on your behalf – the greater our costs.  It is important that we fully understand what you wish us to achieve on your behalf and the initial meetings are crucial.  While we can only give an indication of costs levels in this general note we will always give a more detailed assessment of our charges once we – and you – are clear on the scope of work.  Such case specific estimates will always be based on the assumption that we are provided with accurate information.

In our initial discussion – which is free of charge – we will also discuss with you whether you can undertake some of the basic work at your own cost and merely use us for our legal expertise.  Time is calculated by reference to an hourly rate and that rate depends on the level of skill and experience of the person doing the work.

EXPERTISE – our team comprises a wide range of experienced practitioners and we believe in matching the right skills level with the right work load and balance.  For highly complex and difficult matters our senior solicitors and Directors have a wealth of experience gained over many years and can often go swiftly to the nub of a problem and so represent good value notwithstanding their higher hourly rates.

Our team comprises:

  • highly experienced solicitors with many years experience and skill whose hourly rates are between £240 and £430;
  • more recently qualified solicitors whose hourly rates vary between £185 and £200;
  • experienced legal executives, and managers whose hourly rates are £235 to £265;
  • trainees whose hourly rates are £155.

All hourly rates are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.

Our expertise also includes a responsibility element and built into our costs structure are the overheads for proper regulation and significant Indemnity Insurance.

In the administration of a client’s finances – be it as an Attorney during their lifetime or as Executor on death – we accept additional responsibilities which are usually reflected in higher hourly rates.

COSTS GENERALLY

On some matters it can be easy to give a clear figure right at the outset but this is not always beneficial.  It may turn out that the work is much less time consuming than originally thought and yet we may have quoted a higher figure based on an average transaction. Alternatively the work may turn out to be much more time consuming because of issues not obvious or disclosed at the start.

Buying and selling property is usually relatively easy to estimate the likely time and cost but abortive work cannot always be re-used so transactions which ‘go off’ can incur much more time and expense

Similarly writing a Will is not just about the turning of basic instructions into the proper form but nowadays often has to include significant discussions on family structures especially where re-marriages/blended families exist or where there are foreign elements including the challenging concept of domicile.  The more information that you can supply initially, then the more we can give an accurate assessment of our charges for you to decide whether or not to instruct us.  ‘Simple’ wills often turn out to be very far from simple.

Dealing with the Estate of someone who dies has at least two main elements – applications for Probate and dealing with HMRC.  Probate applications are becoming increasingly easier especially with the advent of on-line applications.  However once HMRC become involved the time and work involved can increase dramatically and it is vitally important that the correct advice and full information is disclosed initially.

We will provide as clear an estimate of the likely charges once we have obtained full information from you on what you wish us to achieve.  We offer a bespoke service tailored to your requirements and at a specific cost accurately reflecting what we believe is needed.

However we can give a broad guide as follows:

Residential Conveyancing

Our Residential Conveyancing charges normally vary between a minimum of £650 + VAT up to £3500 + VAT for sale and purchase and between £400 + VAT and £1,500 + VAT for remortgages.  These figures depend on factors such as:

  • Freehold or leasehold as leasehold purchases involving dealing with one or more Landlords, one or more Management Companies and often require formal Notices to be given to one or more third parties.
  • Mortgage lender requirements
  • Separate Declaration of Trust is required for joint ownership
  • Whether one of our legal team is acting as the Seller in the capacity of Executor or Attorney

In almost every matter there will be payments which we have to make to other organisations or government bodies.  Examples of these are:

  • Local searches which vary depending on the type of search and the locality.  For example they can vary between £28 in rural areas like Cumbria and £350 in London.  There will also be some Land Registry searches which vary between £2 to £4 each.  These search fees are also inclusive of VAT.
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax which is based on the purchase price of the property and is payable if you are buying a property. The calculation can be complex but see https://www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/residential-property-rates
  • Registration fees to HM Land Registry which are again payable by buyers and which are explained at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-land-registry-registration-services-fees these vary between £20 and £910.
  • In leasehold cases fees payable to Landlords or managing agents which can vary between £50 + VAT up to and occasionally in excess of £500 +VAT.  In addition there may also be Transfer or Contingency fees to pay under the terms of the Lease.

Estate Planning

Our Estate Planning (including will making, lifetime gifts, trust work) charges vary between £300 + VAT for a straightforward case rising upwards depending on time taken to £3000 + VAT or more for complex estate planning advice where there are many issues such as:

  • Inheritance Tax advice and the obtaining of evidence to substantiate tax exemptions
  • Blended or step-families
  • Foreign residence or foreign places of birth which could affect liability to Inheritance Tax
  • Charity donations and advice
  • Potential for inter-family disputes and family protection from in-laws/co-habitees
  • The time taken to obtain a full family background to enable us to advise properly

It will be unusual for there to be any payments to others unless we have to make enquiries to HM Land Registry for evidence of property ownership.  Such fees are likely to be less than £25.

Estate Administration

In Estate Administration we are happy to offer everything from a full service to an “unbundling” service.

Full service: This can involve dealing with every aspect of administering an estate from instructing the undertaker and registering death through to house clearance; dealing with pets; ascertaining the nature and value of the estate through full and exhaustive enquiries; submitting the Inheritance Tax return; preparing the application for Probate concluding all tax matters; distributing to the beneficiaries and providing Estate accounts.

“Unbundling”:  you, as Executors, may instruct us to undertake specific procedures such as assisting with the application for the Grant of Probate and/or completing the relevant HMRC forms once we are supplied with full and accurate information, with the rest of Estate Administration tasks being undertaken by the Executors themselves.

Whilst an “unbundling” service is available, it can only be a cost-effective method of assisting the executors if we are provided with full and accurate information.  Where further enquiries are necessary because the information initially provided does not comply with HMRC requirements, it may be that instructing us to obtain the necessary information would have been more cost-effective for the Estate.

The role of an Executor is an onerous one and comes with risks and liabilities; we can provide assistance to Executors in the proper fulfilment of this role.

Unlike many firms, we believe in charging only for time and expertise and we do not base our charges of a specific % of the Estate as it is simply unfair in high value estates with few assets and one or two beneficiaries and equally unfair in small value estates with a large number of modest assets and beneficiaries.

In a full service case we can only provide an estimate of costs individually as each Estate is different.  We can discuss with you the level of fee earner involved, the hourly rates, our estimate of timescale and time to be incurred by us.

Where we offer an “unbundling” service then:

Our charges start at £800 + VAT for obtaining a Grant of Probate based on full and accurate information on the estate assets and liabilities as at date of  death being provided to us initially.  This includes advice on the duties of an Executor and advice on how the Executor then deals with collection of assets and distribution to beneficiaries on their own account.

If an Inheritance Tax return is required in addition then our charges start at £1000 + VAT again on the same assumptions.

In almost every matter there will be payments which we have to make to other organisations or government bodies. Examples of these are:

  • Probate Registry fees – currently £155 however this is changing imminently to being based on the value of an Estate.
  • Inheritance Tax – this depends on the nature and value of the Estate
  • Bankruptcy searches – to ensure beneficiaries are entitled to their legacy

Debt Collection

In debt collection matters our charges are based on our litigation team’s hourly rates which vary between £155 and £430.

There will in addition be Court Fees payable https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/court-fees

TIME SCALES AND PROCEDURE

Residential Property

How long it will take will depend on a number of factors but the average process takes between 6–10 weeks.

Much depends on the parties involved and if any complex issues arise eg if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease.

The key elements for the sale of a residential property are:

  • Take instructions and obtain any title deeds/leases or evidence of ownership ;
  • Draft the contract and send it and as much background documentation as possible to the purchaser’s solicitor;
  • Deal with any enquiries from the buyers’ solicitors before the contract can be agreed
  • Report to you on the terms of the contract and Land Registry transfer;
  • Obtain a redemption figure from your lender – if any
  • Exchange contracts and agree a date for completion;
  • Deal with the completion and transfer the proceeds of sale at your direction.

The key elements of the purchase are:

  • take your instructions and give you initial advice;
  • check finances are in place to fund the purchase and contact the mortgage company;
  • receive and advise on contract documents;
  • carry out searches with local authorities, environmental agencies etc;
  • obtain further planning documents if required;
  • answer or make any necessary enquiries of other side’s solicitors;
  • give you advice on all documents and information received;
  • go through conditions of mortgage offer with you;
  • send final contract to you for signature;
  • agree the completion date (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 lender and you;
  • complete transaction and pay over the proceeds of sale to the seller
  • deal with payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax/ Land Transaction Tax;
  • deal with application for registration at Land Registry in relation to a purchase or re-mortgage.

Remortgages

A remortgage usually takes between 4 and 6 weeks.

The key elements of a remortgage are:

  • take your instructions and give you initial advice;
  • check what finances are in place to fund the remortgage and contact the mortgage company;
  • investigate the legal title to your property;
  • carry out searches with local authorities, environmental agencies etc if required by your Lender;
  • obtain further planning documents if required;
  • answer or make any necessary enquiries of the Lender;
  • give you advice on all documents and information received;
  • go through conditions of mortgage offer with you;
  • agree the completion date;
  • arrange for all monies needed to be received from new Lender and you;
  • request a redemption figure from your existing Lender;
  • complete transaction, redeem your existing mortgage and pay over any balance to you;
  • deal with application for registration at Land Registry.

Probate

It is almost impossible to predict the timescales involved in obtaining probate and completing the administration as it will depend on how quickly the necessary information becomes available.  In simple non taxable estates where the correct information is readily available to us a realistic time may be 6 to 8 weeks from final receipt of the information.  Where the Estate is taxable or where there may be potential for claims against the Estate then the timescales could be a minimum of six months from the date of issue of the Probate and it could take three months to obtain the information necessary to complete the tax forms and obtain probate.

Also it may be necessary to protect the Executors by advertising for creditors in both the London Gazette and a local newspaper. These advertisements carry additional costs based on each relevant publication.

Conveyancing

All aspects of residential and commercial property transactions. Bespoke service for every individual client. Residential purchases and sales, re-mortgaging, equity release and transfer of equity.