I think my step-son may be a beneficiary of his father’s will but I am not on good terms with his step-mother – can I force the executors to show me the will?
Have you heard of Tesco law? This is the idea that legal services can be packaged in such a way that they can be effectively sold by supermarkets and other large business organisations. In the jargon it is the result of commoditization of professional services. Many pundits expect this trend to spell the end for traditional solicitors practices.
Many next of kin and executors and administrators are subjected to the sales techniques of funeral directors. The UK’s largest funeral provider is the Co-op which actively promotes its in-house probate service. Many other funeral directors are signed up with an outfit called ITC which provides probate services on a national scale, and has links with trade associations.
The question of pricing for probate services will no doubt become more prominent in the months ahead. Historically probate services have been provided by solicitors and banks. Banks have operated on the basis of a percentage of the estate. A Which? Survey last year found that the percentage is normally around 4%. Some solicitors charge on a similar percentage basis and others on the amount of time they spend on the case. There are no universal guidelines for solicitors so it is impossible to report any outcome other than that the range and variety of charges are enormous varying from a few hundred pounds to many thousands.
Some people are curious to know what will may have been made by a recently deceased person. Sometimes this curiosity is perfectly justified. Perhaps you thought that a great aunt may have left one of your children something in her will but you are not in touch with the executors. By means of a procedure known as a “standing search” you can obtain a copy of the probate and the will from the Probate Registry once the grant of probate has been issued.