A client asked me to deal with the administration of his mother’s estate recently. My firm was already acting for him, as attorney, in a matter relating to his mother’s property when she died.
The Will appoints my client and the partners of another solicitors’ firm as executors. My client has asked the firm to renounce and it has said that it will do so at a cost of £250 plus VAT. In the next breath, the firm has offered a fixed fee for obtaining the Grant of £750 plus VAT.
The estate (including lifetime gifts and after reliefs) is probably just below the double nil rate band, and there should be no tax to pay as a transferable nil rate band is available. However, the application for the Grant will require an IHT400, rather than an IHT205, as a claim for BPR will need to be made. Therefore, it is not completely straightforward.
Obviously I am not asking for examples of what people charge for probate or renouncing, and please do not post them in reply as I do not want to be accused of creating a cartel or price-fixing!
It just seems slightly odd to me that a renunciation can cost £250 plus VAT, when that is a whole one-third of what it would cost the same firm to deal with the application for probate itself. In that context, the renunciation fee doesn’t really look like a reasonable administrative fee, but more a penalty to deter a lay executor from instructing another firm.
I should say that I am not against firms making an administrative charge for renouncing, and it was only when I thought about it in the context of the fixed fee probate quote that I even began to question it. So, is my reasonableness radar faulty? What do other forum members think?