Costs Transparency

How we charge for our work

The information is of necessity expressed in ranges of charges or averages which are not specific to any particular case. If you want costs information relating to your case and circumstances we suggest that you contact us and we will provide an estimate for you.

Costs Information in relation to some of our services*

Terminology

When we talk about ‘our fees’ these are fees we charge for providing advice and professional services, arranging telegraphic transfers from our bank.

‘Disbursements’ are expenses we incur on your behalf, where the payments go to someone else.

Value Added Tax

All of our fees are subject to VAT at the standard rate, currently 20%.

In some instance we are also obliged to charge VAT on expenses.

Referral fees

We do not pay any third party to recommend our services.

Residential Conveyancing

When calculating our charges for freehold or leasehold sales and purchases of residential property our fees for dealing with the transaction are based on the value of the property being sold or purchased and will not normally exceed 0.3% of that value subject to a minimum charge of £895.00, or £1,040.00 where the property is leasehold. In some cases where additional work is required this is done by reference to an hourly rate between £100 and £200 and we also apply those rates in calculating abortive fees where a transaction does not complete.

Typically fees range from £895.00 for straightforward transaction where the property is valued at or below £300,000.00, up to £2,500.00 for high value properties or in cases of unusual complexity. Title defects, unregistered land, purchases from developers, shared ownership cases, sales or purchases of tenanted property (buy to let), ‘help to buy’ purchases, sales or purchases of sheltered accommodation and multiple mortgages are examples of factors which will make a transaction more complex.

Our fees for dealing with a remortgage transaction range from £500.00 to £750.00 depending on the value of the loan and the complexity and these fees do not include any additional work that may be required eg transfers of ownership. Our fees for bridging finance transactions range from £1,000.00 to £2,000.00.

We charge fees of £30 for telegraphic transfers of funds. These fees are incurred in most sale, purchase or mortgage transactions.

Residential Conveyancing is carried out by qualified solicitors or a legal executive with 25 years experience. Tracey Freeman and Lorna Slaughter

The disbursements incurred in Residential Conveyancing transactions vary dependent on the particular property and its location, however, typical the costs which you expect to bear for residential property transactions in Kent where we act on your behalf are illustrated below.

Sale Freehold

Sale price: £295,000.00

Tassells’ fees

Sale fees: £895.00
Telegraphic transfer: (say two required) £60.00
VAT: £191.00
TOTAL: £1,146.00

Disbursements

Office Copy Entries: £6.00
EPC: £50.00
VAT: £10.00
TOTAL: £66.00

Work to be undertaken (sale):
  1. examining your title
  2. preparing a contract
  3. dealing with buyer’s pre-contract enquiries
  4. attending to exchange of contracts
  5. attending to completion of the sale
  6. discharging your mortgage(s) and accounting to you with the net proceeds
  7. advising you throughout on these steps

Sale Leasehold

Sale price: £295,000.00

Tassells’ fees

Sale fees: £1,040.00
Telegraphic transfer: (say two required) £60.00
VAT: £214.00
TOTAL: £1,314.00

Disbursements

Office Copy Entries: £6.00
Management information (1): (say) £300.00
VAT: £60.00
EPC: £50.00
VAT: £10.00
*NB the costs of obtaining management information vary significantly, in addition the seller may have to bear costs connected with consent to sell, deeds of covenant and compliance certificates.
TOTAL: £426.00

Work to be undertaken (sale):
  1. examining your title including the lease
  2. preparing a contract
  3. dealing with buyer’s pre-contract enquiries
  4. obtaining management information from the freeholder and/or management company
  5. attending to exchange of contracts
  6. attending to completion of the sale
  7. discharging your mortgage(s) and accounting to you with the net proceeds
  8. advising you throughout on these steps

Purchase Freehold

Purchase Price: £295,000.00

Tassells’ fees

Purchase fees: £895.00
Telegraphic Transfer fee: (say one required) £30.00
VAT: £191.00
TOTAL: £1,116.00

Disbursements

Local Authority Search: £90.00
Drainage Search: £60.00
Environmental Search: £58.80
Chancel Check: £15.00
Flood Risk Assessment: £24.00
Land Registry fee: £135.00
Bankruptcy Search fee: £4.00
Land Registry Search fee: £3.00
TOTAL: £389.80

Work to be undertaken (purchase):
  1. considering the title
  2. raising enquiries and carrying preliminary searches
  3. reporting to you and dealing with exchange of contracts
  4. dealing with your mortgage lender’s requirements
  5. attending to completion
  6. filing a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and any paying any tax on your behalf
  7. registering your purchase at HM Land Registry
  8. advising you throughout on these steps

Purchase Leasehold

Purchase Price: £295,000.00

Tassells’ fees

Purchase fees: £1,040.00
Telegraphic Transfer fee: (say one required) £30.00
VAT: £214.00
TOTAL: £1,284.00

Disbursements

Local Authority Search: £90.00
Drainage Search: £60.00
Environmental Search: £58.80
Chancel Check: £15.00
Flood Risk Assessment: £24.00
Land Registry fee: £135.00
Bankruptcy Search fee: £4.00
Land Registry Search fee: £3.00
Notice of transfer fee (1): £30.00
VAT: £6.00
(1) Notice of Transfer fees vary from lease to lease, and in addition the buyer may have to bear costs connected with consent to sell, deeds of covenant and compliance certificates.
TOTAL: £425.80

Work to be undertaken (purchase):
  1. considering the title and the lease
  2. raising enquiries and carrying preliminary searches
  3. reporting to you and dealing with exchange of contracts
  4. dealing with your mortgage lender’s requirements
  5. attending to completion
  6. filing a Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and any paying any TAX on your behalf
  7. registering your purchase at HM Land Registry
  8. advising you throughout on these steps

Remortgage

New loan: £250,000.00

Tassells’ fees

Transaction fees: £500.00
Telegraphic Transfer fee: (say two required) £60.00
VAT: £72.00
TOTAL: £632.00

Disbursements

Local Authority Search (1): £90.00
Drainage Search (1): £60.00
Environmental Search (1): £58.80
Chancel Check (1): £15.00
Flood Risk Assessment (1): £24.00
Land Registry fee: £20.00
Bankruptcy Search fees: £6.00
Land Registry Search fee: £3.00
*in some instance these searches may be omitted and replaced by less costly insurance
TOTAL: £276.80

Work to be undertaken (purchase):
  1. considering the title (and the lease if applicable)
  2. raising enquiries and carrying preliminary searches
  3. reporting to you and dealing with exchange of contracts
  4. dealing with your mortgage lender’s requirements
  5. attending to completion
  6. registering the mortgage at HM Land Registry
  7. advising you throughout on these steps

How long will the work take?

In most cases the work can be undertaken in between 6 and 12 weeks of confirmation of our instructions. There are often matters beyond our control, for example the timing of mortgage offers and the consequences of conveyancing ‘chains’. We will always seek to work within your preferred timescale.

Taxation

When purchasing a property the buyer may have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax, for official guidance and an online calculator see: www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax. The rules are complex and the illustrations provided assume that the buyer will not be subject to the 3% surcharge. We will provide further advice in relation to Stamp Duty Land Tax liability once we understand your specific circumstances.

When selling a property the seller may incur Capital Gains Tax for official guidance and an online calculator see: www.gov.uk/money/capital-gains-tax. We will not provide advice in relation to Capital Gains Tax liability unless you ask for this. The fees for any advice provided will not form part of the fee for providing conveyancing services and will be an additional cost to you.

Administration of Estates

We offer a wide range of advice and assistance not limited to the details given here, please do contact us for more information. In these paragraphs we give you a guide to our charges relating to the administration of an estate where all the assets are in the UK and there is no argument about the Will or the shares in the estate.

If your matter is more complex, or involves or might involve an argument, we shall need to discuss the detail with you before we can say what advice and legal steps will be needed and what the likely overall cost may be. Please do contact us.

It is important to stress at the outset that in the vast majority of cases, the work that we do and the charges that we make are payable by the estate, not by you personally. For our ‘application only’ services, we will expect you to pay, but you will be able to reclaim that sum from the estate when you have collected the assets.

Our lawyers are qualified solicitors and the head of department is a Trusts and Estates Practitioner (member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners). Please see our profiles: Richard Godley and Ann Astbury.

Initial contact

When you telephone to make an enquiry, our ‘Private Client’ secretaries would normally speak to you to take brief details and can usually arrange an appointment for you to see one of our solicitors. If there is a dispute, we shall run checks to confirm that we would not be put in a position of potential conflict of interest. If we tell you that we cannot advise you, it is not through discourtesy, but we will not be able to explain why, or say anything further. For this reason, the details you give at this stage will be limited.

If we are holding the Will, we may show you a copy if you are entitled to see it. A Will is confidential until death and then, only the executors may see it. Executors have to act unanimously, so if an executor wants to collect the original Will from us, we shall need the consent of all executors before we can release it.

If you would like some advice about the administration, or advice about the validity of the Will or what happens in the absence of a Will, then we shall usually offer you a consultation for £100 + VAT. We would need to cover: the fact of the death; your connection with the deceased; determining who has authority to deal with the estate; the deceased’s background, including a family tree, and their circumstances, in sufficient detail to give us an idea of the context of the estate and the beneficiaries. We may be able to give you an overview of the estate liability to Inheritance Tax at that stage. We shall ask you to bring a death certificate, and documents to prove your own identity.

Instructing us

If you ask us to act for you in the administration, or to prepare the application for the Grant for you, we shall send you a letter with detailed costs information so you will know what to expect in terms of charges from the outset. We would normally ask you to sign and return that initial letter before we start work.

Taxes

If the estate is likely to be liable to pay Inheritance Tax, the amount will be calculated in accordance with the tax regulations in force at the time of the death. The regulations can be complex, an overview and guidance, however, is available on https://www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax website. There may be other taxes to pay or Inheritance tax to pay because of a pre-existing trust, or tax to pay because the deceased had made substantial gifts during the previous seven years.

Application for Grant: limited service

We offer a limited ‘application only’ service to assist you in making the application for a Grant. For this service, we rely on your investigation of the assets and the figures you produce, and on you to deliver any additional certificates that may be needed (for example, death certificates of a predeceased spouse, and the marriage certificate). We prepare the application documents and make the application, and we deliver the Grant to you for you to take the necessary steps in the administration.

We have two charges for this work: if the estate is not liable for Inheritance Tax, our charge is £750; if the estate is liable for Inheritance Tax, our charge is £1,500; in both cases there will also be charges made by the court for the application for the Grant.

We are happy to carry out additional work if you request it. We would apply our hourly rates and would give you an estimate of the likely overall charge at the time of your request.

The way that applications are made has recently been changed but it is likely that there will be a transition period during which the new requirements will be clarified, and old style applications will still be acceptable.

From start to finish

You may want simply to leave the papers with us, in the knowledge that we are trained in the work, and backed by reputable insurers and regulators.

We would then expect to carry out all the steps that are needed to administer the estate. So this may begin with registration of the death and organising the funeral and searching for a Will or a later Will to confirm that you have the necessary authority to instruct us, and continue through securing the property and arranging insurance, dealing with HMRC, DWP, and other organisations, valuing and later collecting the assets, calculating and organising the payment of Inheritance Tax, dealing with income tax matters of the deceased and the estate; identifying the beneficiaries, advertising for creditors and arranging suitable protection for our clients the executors, producing the accounts for the estate, organising the distribution following approval of the accounts, and finally to winding up the estate.

At a number of stages, the process may become complicated in a way that was not expected at the outset. This may include beneficiaries who go missing, assets that change in value, assets that need maintenance (such as visiting, or repair work commissioned), investigations by DWP if too much benefit has been paid, challenges by HMRC if valuations are controversial, and challenges from disappointed beneficiaries. If this happens, we will do our best to make estimates and will advise you of the next steps, including the likely costs.

Charges

Our charges have three main elements: the time it takes to deal with the administration; the total value that we are dealing with; some charges we make for complying with our regulatory duties (we carry out identity checks on our clients and on beneficiaries, we charge £10 + VAT) or to provide you with extra service (we charge £30 + VAT to make payments by bank transfer).

In addition to our charges, there are likely to be charges that other people or institutions make for the steps we need to take. We call these ‘disbursements’.

Time

Time is charged by reference to hourly rates which are: for a solicitor of more than five years’ experience, £220 an hour; for a newly qualified solicitor, £200 an hour.

We make a careful record of the time and the activity we spend on the administration. The time spent, including telephone communication, is recorded on our file. Letters and emails are recorded as a single item of post; outgoing post is charged at a tenth of an hour (so, £22 for an hourly rate of £220), incoming post at a twentieth of an hour (so, £11 for an hourly rate of £220).

We produce a time sheet of the detail of the work so that you can see the steps and a breakdown of the cost.

Value

We make a charge based on the value of an estate, in line with the Law Society’s guidelines, though we charge less than the suggested range of 1-1 1/2%.

Our charge is 1/2% of the value of the gross estate passing under the Grant, so it would not normally apply to joint property, subject to a minimum of £500. Value charges are subject to VAT which we collect in addition to the sum charged.

For estates over £1m, the charge is 1/4% for sums in excess of £1m, and 1/2% for sums up to £1m.

For estate over £2m, the charge is 1/8% for sums in excess of £2m plus 1/4% between £1m and £2m and 1/2% up to £1m.

Overall costs

It is very difficult to estimate how long it may take to deal with an estate, there are a number of variables involved. In our experience, however, we observe these broad trends: an estate with no Inheritance Tax liability might take between 12-20 hours to complete; one with Inheritance Tax to pay is likely to take at least 20 hours, probably up to 40 hours, but occasionally as many as 80 hours to complete.

We will give you an overall time estimate in terms of duration when we write our initial letter to you.

Disbursements

In addition to our charges, these are the usual expenses that may be charged by other people for the steps we need to take on your behalf, some of which may not be necessary:

  • Probate Court fee; currently the court makes charges for applications made by us at £155 plus 50p for each sealed copy Grant (no VAT applies). The Chancellor has said that he will increase these from April 2019, to what is likely to be a significant sum. If you make a personal application, you will be charged more by the court.
  • Oath fees; charged for the proving of the facts stated on the application for the Grant, £5 per person applying + £2 per person applying for each additional document (eg, Will, £2, Codicil £2) (no VAT applies). The regulation governing this fee is changing rapidly and it may be that this fee will not be necessary for applications made after 27th November 2018
  • Statutory Adverts; advertising for creditors to make themselves known, these are taken out to protect executors, and cost approximately £200 including VAT
  • Bankruptcy Searches; taken out to protect the executors from mistakenly handing money to a bankrupt beneficiary, instead of their Trustee, £2 per person (no VAT applies)
  • Searches for missing Wills; through “Certainty” from £90 – £200 + VAT
  • Valuation fees; of the assets in the estate, which are likely to range between £400 + VAT to £2,000 + VAT depending very much on the asset and its complexity
  • Insurance policies; for the assets or to protect the executors if beneficiaries are missing. Buildings insurance varies with the state and site of the house but may be £4-800 a year, say. Policies to protect against claims from missing beneficiaries are specialist and we would need to request figures on your behalf.

VAT will be added to all vatable charges at the rate that applies when the work is done; the present VAT rate is 20%.
We review our charging rates annually and would contact you if any change in rates will affect the work we are doing for you.

Worked examples


‘Application only’

No Inheritance Tax to pay: we will charge £750 + VAT which will include any identity checks we need to make. We will ask you to pay in addition;

  • the oath fee (currently £5 + £2 for applications with a Will, for each person applying)
  • the court fee (currently £155) and 50p for each copy of the Grant you would like to have.

Inheritance Tax to pay: we will charge £1,500 + VAT which will include any identity checks we need to make. The Inheritance Tax will be payable before the application for the Grant can be made. Most banks and investment companies will make payments to HMRC or supply a cheque for that purpose, out of the assets of the estate.

We will ask you to pay in addition:

  • the oath fee (currently £5 + £2 for applications with a Will, for each person applying)
  • the court fee (currently £155) and 50p for each copy of the Grant you would like to have.

‘Start to finish’

No Inheritance Tax to pay: for an estate handled by a junior solicitor charging £200 + VAT an hour, where there are no arguments and no overseas assets, and a worth about £300,000, and taking 12 hours to complete overall, we would charge:

  • Our time at 12 x £200 = £2,400 + VAT
  • Value at 1/2% of £300,000 = £1,500 + VAT

So ‘legal fees’ would be £3,900 + VAT and £10 + VAT for each identity check and £30 + VAT for each bank transfer required, with ‘disbursements’ in addition:

  • Bankruptcy checks at £2 per person
  • the oath fee (currently £5 + £2 for applications with a Will, for each person applying)
  • the court fee (currently £155) and 50p for each additional copy of the Grant

We would advise you on the need for other disbursements at the time, but this is likely to include a search for a Will (about £200) and advertising for creditors (another £200).

We emphasise that these costs are payable from the estate and any payment you make on behalf of the estate should be repaid to you.

Inheritance Tax to pay: for an estate handled by a senior solicitor charging £220 + VAT an hour, again, where there are no arguments and no assets overseas, worth say £1,500,000, and taking 35 hours to complete we would charge:

  • Our time at 35 x £220 = £7,700 + VAT
  • Value at 1/2% for the first £1m = £5,000 + VAT
  • Value at 1/4% for the next £500,000 = £1,250 + VAT

So, ‘legal fees’ would be £13,950 + VAT and £10 + VAT for each identity check and £30 + VAT for each bank transfer required, with ‘disbursements’ in addition being:

  • Bankruptcy checks at £2 per person
  • the oath fee (currently £5 + £2 for applications with a Will, for each person applying)
  • the court fee (currently £155) and 50p for each additional copy of the Grant

We would advise you on the need for other disbursements at the time, but this is likely to include a search for a Will (about £200) and advertising for creditors (another £200).

In addition to these charges, Inheritance Tax due would be calculated in line with the tax rules that apply at the time.

How long will the work take?

We would expect to complete ‘grant only work’ within 3 to 8 weeks of confirmation of our instructions.

The full administration of an estate can take between 6 and 18 months, or longer in some cases.

Employment Advice for Employees and Employers

The following information is in relation to costs for employment law matters. If your matter is complex and there is a possibility of court action we would suggest that you contact us so that we can discuss the details with you before we are able to advise you on the legal processes that might be needed.

Our lawyers are qualified solicitors and the head of department is an experienced civil litigator. The solicitors are usually assisted by newly qualified solicitors or legal assistants. The hourly rate of a solicitor who has five or more year’s experience is £220, a newly qualified solicitor’s hourly rate will be £180, a legal assistant’s or trainee solicitor’s hourly rate will be £130. All our fees are subject VAT at the standard rate, currently 20%. Sho Moskofian and James Matthews

Initial Contact

When you first contact us one of our civil litigation secretaries will take initial information from you and arrange the appointment. We will run checks to confirm that there is no possibility of a conflict of interest and that we are able to act for you. In the event that there is a conflict we will inform you that we are not able to advise you in relation to your matter.

Once an appointment is made we may have to take further details from you and request that you forward documents to our lawyers prior to your meeting where appropriate. The first 30 minute consultation will be on a fixed fee basis of £100.00 plus VAT. The solicitor will identify the issues, objectives and discuss the options with you.

Further Instructions

The table below sets out costs estimates based on ranges of fees, however given the nature of employment disputes it is very difficult to be precise and for this reason you should discuss the costs implications with your solicitor. Please note that the costs are not inclusive of VAT and as such VAT will be added to your invoice.


Preparation of your claim/response outlining your case and the nature of the dispute:
£600.00 to £800.00


Preparation of the documents that sets nout the factual detail of your claim/response and the legal basis for it:
£800.00 to £1,000.00


Preparation of witness statements:
£400.00 to £1,000.00


Preparation for hearing including bundles:
£600.00 to £1,000.00


Making an interlocutory applications, seeking a provisional decision given during the course of a proceedings:
£500.00 to £800.00


Instruct counsel to appear at a hearing:
£750.00


Attend hearing (per day):
£950.00


Settlement agreements:
Drafting document: £950.00
Review and advise: £500.00


 

Our fees for bringing and defending more complex cases will have to be costed on an individual basis. Your solicitor will give you estimates at the appropriate time.

In the event that your need to defend claims against you that are brought by a litigant in person there will be an increase of 20% on your costs. Dealing with a claimant who is a litigant in person is in general more time consuming and results in further work to be carried out. Your solicitor will discuss this with you at the appropriate time.

We would draw your attention to the fact that there may further costs related known as disbursements such as Counsel’s fees if you should need to engage the services of a Barrister, court fees, expert’s fees etc. Your solicitor will discuss these with you at the appropriate time. Typically a barrister will charge £500.00 to £1,000.00 to draft documents, £500.00 to £1,000.00 to advise in conference or in writing, £1,000.00 to £2,000.00 per day to appear before the tribunal or court. In most cases barristers fees are subject to VAT.

The Key Stages

The costs set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  1. Taking your initial instructions, reviewing papers and advising you on the merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  2. Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
  3. Preparing claim or response
  4. Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
  5. Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  6. Preparing and considering a schedule of loss
  7. Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  8. Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
  9. Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  10. Preparing bundle of documents
  11. Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  12. Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  13. Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

How long will the work take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 4 to 8 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 3 to 8 months. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Timescale

Debt Recovery

We carry out debt recovery work for businesses.

Our fees applicable to cases where the debt is not disputed, there is no counterclaim and the value is under £100,000, are calculated by reference to hourly rates. The hourly rate for an experienced solicitor is £220, for a paralegal or a trainee £150. All our fees are subject to VAT at the standard rate, currently 20%.

Our fees for carrying out work of this type range between £500 and £3,000.

These fees will be for providing the following services:

  • Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation.
  • Undertaking appropriate searches.
  • Sending a letter before claim.
  • Receiving payment and accounting to you.
  • If necessary, preparing and issuing a Court Claim.
  • Where applicable, entering judgement and default.
  • Where applicable, requesting payment from the judgment debtor.
  • Advice on further steps.

Please note that enforcement proceedings are not included in the fees described above, and if the debt is contested or a counterclaim raised, further fees will be incurred and we will contact you as appropriate.

How long will the work take?

We would expect to complete the work within 4 to 8 weeks

 

*We also provide many other services, including Commercial Property, Business Advice, Family Law and Civil Litigation/Dispute Resolution. If you want information about the cost of any service please contact us.

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