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SRA Transparency Rules – Complaints Handling Procedure

We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues at this stage. If you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can contact us and ask for a copy of our formal complaints procedure. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.

You can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint

and

  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.

If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.

Contact details
Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am to 5pm.
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

 

SRA Transparency Rules – Costs & Service Information

Under the Transparency Rules of the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA), costs and service information must be made available in relation to certain areas of work. The only area of work undertaken by Hope Law affected by these rules is Probate (Administration of Estates). The information that is to be made available is as follows:- 

(a) the total cost of the service or, where not practicable, the average cost or range of costs; 

– Hope Law carries out Probate work on an hourly rate basis and so the overall cost of the service can vary from as little as £1,500.00 plus VAT for very straightforward estates to as much as £10,000.00 plus VAT for more complicated estates

(b) the basis for your charges, including any hourly rates or fixed fees; 

– Hope Law carries out Probate work on the basis of the hourly rates of the fee earners carrying out that work. The hourly rate of David Roper (Senior Solicitor & Director) is £225.00 plus VAT

(c) the experience and qualifications of anyone carrying out the work, and of their supervisors; 

– David Roper, Senior Solicitor and Director, carries out Hope Law’s probate work. David Roper is a qualified solicitor, member of STEP and SFE and has worked in the area of wills, trusts and probate since 2002

(d) a description of, and the cost of, any likely disbursements, and where the actual cost of a disbursement is not known, the average cost or range of costs; 

– Disbursements (payments to 3rd parties) can be difficult to predict in relation to Probate matters. The following are possible disbursements:-

  • Probate Registry application fee is £155.00 (no VAT), plus 50p for any additional copies of the Grant of Probate. 
  • Land Registry fees for transferring property (these fees are scaled according to the value of the property in question and can be anywhere from £40 up to £250)
  • Share registrar commission/fees for selling shares, obtaining replacement share certificates, or valuing shares (the amount of these fees will depend on the charging/fee structure of the registrar in question)
  • Surveyor or valuer fees for valuing assets (variable)
  • Auctioneer, agent fees for selling assets (variable)
  • Swear fee for swearing the Executor’s or Administrator’s Oath – £5.00 or £7.00 per Executor/Administrator

(e) whether any fees or disbursements attract VAT and if so the amount of VAT they attract; 

– Hope Law’s fees attract VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%)

– Probate Registry and Land Registry fees do not attract VAT

– Registrar, agent, valuer and surveyor fees may attract VAT, to be advised/confirmed by them at the time

– Swear fees do not attract VAT

(f) details of what services are included in the price displayed, including the key stages of the matter and likely timescales for each stage, and details of any services that might reasonably be expected to be included in the price displayed but are not;

– Carrying out the administration of an estate (Probate) will include (depending on the specifics of what each client instructs us to carry out):-

(i) Bringing the deceased’s lifetime tax affairs up to date;

(ii) Ascertaining the assets and liabilities of the estate;

(iii) Gathering together all relevant information relating to the completion of the Inheritance Tax return and the form(s) for applying for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration;

(iv) Completing the Inheritance Tax return and applying for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration;

(v) Gathering in the estate and distributing it to the beneficiaries, subject to settling all debts, liabilities and expenses;

(vi) In some circumstances, we may also be instructed to address the tax liability incurred by the estate during the administration period.

  • Timescales are difficult to predict, as there is a lot of reliance on the actions, speed and responsiveness of third parties. As a very approximate guideline, it might take up to 3-6 months from when we are first instructed to obtain the Grant of Probate and then a further 3-6 months to gather in the assets of the estate, settle liabilities and distribute to beneficiaries. If there is a property to be sold, this might take longer, due to the unpredictability of the amount of time required to successfully market and sell a property

(g) if you use conditional fee or damages-based agreements, the circumstances in which clients may have to make any payments themselves for your services (including from any damages);

– This is not applicable to any of the work undertaken by Hope Law.