How we find our solicitors
As the UK’s first Probate broker we fortunately have the opportunity to very carefully and thoughtfully choose the solicitors we have on our panel. It is important to us that our customers only receive the best service and therefore we have high standards for our solicitors.
A solicitor must apply to be selected as a member of our panel, we look through any applications to ensure they meet our list of requirements. Only solicitors that meet our standards will be asked to a face to face interview. It is in this meeting that we discuss our business standards and contract, if the solicitor meets our standards they are added to our panel. In order to stay on our panel they must continue to meet the agreed standards and if they do not they will be removed.
What we look for in a solicitor
When selecting a new member for our panel they must meet our list of specific requirements. We request and review the relevant information required to establish that these standards can be met.
Qualifications –They must specialise in the area of law that our clients would be using them for.
Regulated – They must meet the current SRA regulations.
Professionalism – They must provide a high quality service and ensure that any interactions with the client are conducted in a professional manner.
Contact – They must contact their clients frequently to update them on the progress of their case and answer any questions the client may have and make sure that the client understands the answer.
Length of time to meet administration check points –They must reach administration check points that we have set at certain stages of the process to ensure that every cases is handled in a time effective manner.
Length of time to completion –They must take a proactive stance on all their cases to ensure the efficient completion of an estate.
Our solicitors are regularly audited at random by our panel manager to ensure that they continuously meet our standards.
What they specialise in and how are they qualified
It is extremely important to us that our clients receive the best quality service available and we expect excellence in knowledge, experience and professionalism from the solicitors on our panel. For that reason we have specifically selected solicitors that specialise in Trust and Estate administration to ensure our customers receive knowledgeable and up to date information on the legal procedures involved during an application of probate.
We have specifically only chosen solicitors to be on our panel that are step qualified, STEP stands for the society of trust and estate practitioners, they are a global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning. STEP promotes education and high professional standards among its members. “To become a TEP, practitioners must have a combination of specialist qualifications and experience, including significant involvement at a specialist level with inheritance and succession planning.” When using a STEP qualified solicitor you can be assured that you are dealing with a suitably qualified and experienced professional.
TEPs are recognised experts in their field, with proven qualifications and experience. By joining STEP and maintaining their membership they have also shown significant commitment to their continued professional development in this specialist area.
How they are regulated
We only use fully qualified solicitors on our panel and therefore they are all regulated by the Solicitors regulation authority (SRA). The SRA is an independent arm of The Law Society that is the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales and therefore is responsible for regulating the professional conduct of solicitors.
“The Law Society is the professional association that represents and governs the lawyers’ profession for the jurisdiction of England and Wales.” They represent and support their members by promoting the highest professional standards and the rule of law.
What happens if you are unhappy with the solicitor?
It is important to us that our clients are happy and feel comfortable. It is important that you have an open dialogue with your solicitor this way any issues can be resolved before they become a problem. We have high standards for the solicitors on our panel and expect them to provide the highest levels of professionalism and service, if you are unable to solve a problem directly with your solicitor you should contact us with your complaint.
A member of our team will record your complaint which will then be investigated thoroughly to establish how the situation can be resolved. You can also make a complaint through the official route in place with the solicitor which will be explained to by your solicitor at the beginning of the process.
If you are unhappy with the solicitor you have been allocated and the issue cannot be resolved we will ask them to stop work on the estate immediately and transfer it onto another solicitor on our panel whilst we investigate further. You will not be charged any more for this to be done and we will honour our original quote.
How the fees are worked out
The founding reason for final duties was to stop the blatant unfair overcharging of probate services by solicitors and banks. It was important to us that we could deliver an excellent quality service whilst also delivering value for money.
We believe a fair way of charging the service is by the actual amount of work involved in administering the estates assets. We do not charge a percentage of the estate as the value of the estate does not reflect the amount of work involved in administering it.
The amount of work is dependent on the amount of assets that need to be collected, assessed for tax purpose, protected and distributed. We used the knowledge and experience of the solicitors on our panel to come up with a realistic time scale for each process to be completed from start to finish. This is how our fees our worked out.
The solicitors on our panel have agreed to complete the work based upon our fair estimation of the work and therefore a fair cost. We lay out the fees beforehand so the customer can clearly see the realistic costs involved in administering the estate, this means there is no expensive surprise at the end of the process.
We have a large panel of solicitors that have offices located across England and Wales, however location isn’t a factor with our solicitors. We understand that having to arrange time out of a busy schedule to attend a solicitor’s office can be inconvenient and that is why our solicitors are capable of successfully and efficiently completing the estate administer without the need for unnecessary home visits or the client attending meetings in a solicitor’s office.
Not waiting for a scheduled meeting means progress can be made quicker. Any complications encountered can be handled straightaway and the administration isn’t put on hold until a scheduled face to face meeting.