Research carried out my SAGA has found thousands of families are losing upto 5% of their estate value through over paying for probate and will writing services. On average this percentage equates to around £7,200 in lost money, which may could have been passed to friends, relatives or charities. To get an idea of the scale of this, it has been reported that there were over 250,000 granted applications for probate last year, according to the Probate service. The overwhelming majority of families opt for the services of either a financial advisor or solicitor, but the charges vary between different providers of this service.
Roger Ramsden from SAGA noted that a minority of those acquiring this service shopped around between different providers arguing that…”…only 63% of the 11,000 respondents said they would shop around to compare services thoroughly, meaning they could well be losing out – cynics might say that some advisers are exploiting people’s distracted decision-making at a time of difficulty.”
The company estimates that the legal and financial services industries could be raking in as much as £450 million in revenue if they were charging 5% fees. On a home valued at the national average of around £180,000, this would mean £9,000 of the total going on probate fees. As Mr Ramsden points out, this is a substantial amount of money which could have been used for a new car, holiday or house deposit. As with annuities there appears a lack of understanding over probate/will services, and how the costs of these may vary. As a result, the Legal Services Board are currently carrying out an investigation into these services.