Providing costs information

Guidance 26 provides as follows concerning client care information/terms of business etc:

Where you are, in effect, your firm’s client – for example,
as an executor administering a deceased’s estate or a trustee of a trust – you should consider what information, if any, should be given to interested parties.
There is no requirement, for example, that beneficiaries under a will or trust should be treated as though they were clients . It may, however, be good practice to provide some information—for example, about the type of work to be carried out and
approximate timescales.

There appears to be no equivalent guidance for costs information, although my recollection is that this would have been a requirement in similar circumstances under previous rules. Is this contained elsewhere, or does it no longer apply?

Simon Northcott

Section 71(3) of the Solicitors Act 1974 has not changed; it still gives “any person interested” (such as a residuary beneficiary) a right to challenge a solicitor’s bill.

Advice from the Law Society says

It is good practice for solicitors to provide residuary beneficiaries with relevant client care information at the outset, together with costs estimates and any later revisions.

A report from the Legal Ombudsman says

service providers should consider that beneficiaries are directly affected by costs even if they are not usually a client of the service provider. It would be prudent, then, if firms – particularly where they are also the executor – aimed to provide costs information to residuary beneficiaries at the start of a case, even if they are not technically the client.

Timothy Phillips