A Midlands solicitor has urged people to shop around after a widow was quoted more than seven times the going rate for legal assistance following the death of her husband.
The pensioner was arranging her late husband's funeral when she was told it would cost £5,500 to obtain a Grant of Probate. Solicitor Michelle Monnes-Thomas said not only was the cost given 'excessive' but it took advantage of the widow's vulnerable state.
Michelle, who is part of the Wills, Probate & Lifetime Planning Department at FBC Manby Bowdler, said the fee quoted by the legal advisors to her client was “totally disgraceful” and said people must not feel pressured into paying excessive prices.
“This is a relatively simple case of a couple who have a will and mostly joint assets. There is no reason that it should cost £5,500 to obtain a Grant of Probate so the husband’s affairs can be settled. The cost should have been around £700.
“At a time when people have lost a loved one, they would perhaps feel inclined to take the first quote they are given.
“The woman had actually put off coming to see us as she was terrified we would be similar or higher in charges, but she needed help with the application. I know it’s an emotional time but no-one wants to compound their own grief by being railroaded into paying what is, quite frankly, excessive costs.”
Michelle said on the flip side, people should seriously consider whether the cheaper DIY probate option is right for them.
“Even if you are keen to save money, sometimes it can pay dividends in the long run to use an experienced professional who can manage probate for you in the most effective manner.
“It can be a complicated issue if people’s affairs aren’t straightforward and it gives peace of mind that you are not going to have problems further down the line. As this case has shown, using a reputable and respected firm of solicitors can be a more cost-effective option.”