How Much Are Solicitors Fees for Confirmation In Scotland
Getting the confirmation you need to administer the estate of someone who has died isn’t a free process. But how much are solicitors fees for confirmation in Scotland?
Annoyingly, there isn’t a fixed type of pricing system followed by all probate confirmation solicitors or those offering what are known as “executry services”.
Here are how most solicitors will work out their charges for these services and the other confirmation costs you might want to bear in mind:
How much will it cost to get confirmation and administer an estate?
There are several different types of costs involved in getting confirmation and administering an estate in Scotland. These include:
- Court fees – the Scottish courts charge for any documents they have to issue as part of the confirmation process.
- Valuation fees – for large or complex estates (most of those involving property), you may need a professional valuation to ensure there is no chance of the courts contesting it.
- Solicitors fees – these might be charged depending on the size or complexity of the estate in question or as a flat (though usually small) percentage of the total value of the estate.
Obtaining confirmation – fees
By themselves, confirmation fees in Scotland alone aren’t too onerous. In order to get your Letter of Confirmation (the legal document that confirms you as executor of an estate), you will need to apply to the Sheriff Court following a set process.
The courts charge you for various stages of this process, such as examining the inventory of the estate (a necessary precursor to getting confirmation). The price of this service depends on the size of the estate:
- £50 000 or less – no fee
- Between £50 000 and £250 000 – £266
- £250 000 and up – £522
- Statutory court fees – on top of this, estates valued over £5000 are subject to a statutory fee of £200 for confirmation.
- Multiple copies of confirmation certificate – £8 per copy (you will often need more than one copy to send to different institutions, such as banks).
These fees are subject to change. You can check them on the Sheriff Court website.
How much are solicitors fees for confirmation in Scotland?
There is a wide spectrum of solicitors fees for getting confirmation. Different firms also work out how they charge for their services in different ways. Unfortunately, which is the most cost-effective will depend on your unique situation. The most common you will come across are:
1) Percentage of estate value
Many solicitors charge a percentage of the total value of the estate for executry services or for handling the confirmation process – this is usually between 1% and 5%.
Needless to say, this can be quite a lot of money. However, it might work out as more cost-effective in some circumstances.
This is because the amount of work involved in administering an estate tends to go up by the number of assets rather than their value. Two accounts with £10 000 in each take more time to administer than one with £30 000 in, for instance.
As well as an overall percentage of the total estate, some solicitors levy additional fees (or charge only by) the value of different assets or money generated by assets of an estate. This might be:
- Revenue, such as interest, dividends, or uplifted money
- Heritable assets (such as property) or moveable assets (such as money in bank accounts) that are sold or moved
- Investments such as stocks or shares
2) Hourly rate or fees per task
Others solicitors charge an hourly rate or set their fees for confirmation based on the number of tasks you need them to accomplish.
On the surface, this can seem like a simple way to do things. To the casual eye, it also “feels” cheaper than giving away a percentage of the overall estate. It certainly can be both of these things.
Again though, there are possible downsides to this charging method:
- Fees aren’t fixed – with no clear idea of how many hours any given estate might take to administer, you don’t have a set figure to work from.
- Unjustified fees can be contested – as the executor of an estate, beneficiaries can contest fees you agree to pay from the estate. If legal fees stack up and start to look unreasonable, beneficiaries may contest them. This may leave you liable for paying some of them.
3) Set fees for size or complexity of estate
Some solicitors offer clear rates based on the size of the estate in question. Though these can appear sizeable, they offer a great deal of welcome clarity.
Whether these offer the best value for money will again depend on the value of the estate in question.
What does a solicitor do for the fees?
Solicitors fees for confirmation in Scotland are often not negligible. That said, the legal process of obtaining confirmation can be complex, time-consuming, and – as the executor – leave you personally liable for mistakes made along the way.
Despite the confusing ways executory administration is priced, this makes engaging a solicitor a smart idea for all but the most straightforward of estates.
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