2.1 My charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time spent by me and other Executive Staff dealing with this matter. These figures are based upon what is allowed by the local District Judge in Grimsby in the taxation of bills in civil matters and forms, therefore, a reasonable guide as to how the costs are calculated in my office. As I have said, I shall carry out most of the work in this matter personally and my current charge rate is as follows:-
1 Attendances, preparation of documents, perusal of letters received, preparation of accounts, advising generally etc., £150.00 per hour.
2 The sending of standard letters, £15.00 each.
3 The making or receiving of untimed telephone calls, £15.00 each.
2.2 The charge rates that I have quoted are reviewed each year and therefore if this matter has not been concluded before the next review takes place, they will rise. I shall let you know the new rates which will apply to work done from then as soon as they have been set.
2.3 We also make an additional charge to those set out above which is based on the value of the Estate. This is because the value is a reflection of the importance of the matter to the Client and, consequently, the responsibility on the Firm. The charge is 0.75% of the gross value of the Estate (excluding any residence in which your ************* resided where the rate will be 0.50% of the Probate valuation).
2.4 In matters such as this it is difficult to estimate how many hours of work will be necessary to complete the matter. At the present time I estimate that in the region of 4 hours work will be required and, in addition, around 24 letters/telephone calls will be written and/or made to obtain the Grant of Probate. However, this estimate may change as the matter proceeds, and it becomes much clearer how much time is likely to be needed once we have received all the information in relation to the assets and liabilities of the Estate, sufficient to enable us to apply for the Grant of Probate. I will let you know if it becomes apparent that we will have to spend substantially more time on this matter than I have currently estimated. VAT has to be paid in addition, of course, at the prevailing rate when my accounts are prepared.
2.5 Please note that the estimate as to the time involved and the number of letters and telephone calls only involve correspondence with the Executor/s of the Estate, and asset and liability holders. It does not include correspondence with beneficiaries who, not infrequently now, write to us asking for progress on a case. It would be very helpful, and considerably cheaper, if you were to notify the beneficiaries that any questions should be directed to you, and not to ourselves. In a recent case, we calculated that the additional work involved in having to correspond with beneficiaries would have increased the bill by £900.00 plus VAT.
2.6 There will also be certain additional expenses (known as disbursements) such as the Oath fees of approximately £13.00 for each Executor, Probate Court Fees and charges for the Official Copies of the Probate Grant documents a total of £157.50, which we shall be obtaining for you from the Probate Court.
2.7 The charges that we will be making in this matter, as set out above, cover the work that we have been instructed to undertake. If we are instructed to undertake further work for you we would need to make additional charges and I would inform you of what these charges would be.
2.8 In some instances the Inland Revenue requires the Executors to complete an Income Tax Return and sometimes the Department of Work and Pensions require information from the Executors as to the assets and liabilities of the Estate so as to make sure there has been no overpayment of State Benefits. If either of these events occurs we will let you know immediately and we will also let you know if our costs will increase.
2.9 If for any reason this firm does not complete the work you have instructed us to do, then a charge will be made in respect of the work that has already been completed. VAT would be payable on that amount and the Estate would also be billed for any disbursements incurred. Depending upon the amount of work done, this may be a small proportion of the figure given above, or may be almost the full amount. It is rare, however, for this to occur and I can foresee no reason why it should in this particular case but the Law Society do require us to point this out to all Clients.
3 Terms of Business
3.1 We deliver bills at regular intervals for the work carried out during the conduct of the matter. This assists our cash flow and enables you to keep track of costs. The first account will be rendered as soon as the Grant has been made by the Probate Court. I am sure you will understand that in the event of a payment not being made we must reserve the right to decline to act any further and that the full amount of the work done up to that date will be charged. Accounts should be settled within 14 days if there insufficient funds in hand to pay these by deduction. Interest may be charged on bills that are not paid within that time.