Fees Transparency

Fees Transparency

Being transparent about our fees we can give you the following examples which we hope are a useful guide:-


(A)       For residential conveyancing transactions:-

We have provided some examples below based on different sale and purchase prices.  

                  1. On a typical sale of a mortgaged residential freehold property in the York area for £175,000 the legal costs/fees would be as follows:-
                           £
                    Legal Fees on sale 749.00
                    VAT on legal fees (at 20%) 149.80
                    CHAPS (Bank) transfer fee [to pay off mortgage] 40.00
                    VAT on CHAPS transfer fee 8.00
                    ID fee (for new clients) per person 10.00
                    VAT on ID fee 2.00
                    Expenses/Disbursements on the sale (inclusive of VAT):  
                    Official Copies of your deeds (from the Land Registry) 9.00
                    TOTAL 967.80
                  2. On a typical purchase of a residential freehold property in the York area for £500,000 (with a mortgage) the legal costs/fees would be as follows:-
                           £
                    Legal Fees on purchase 1099.00
                    VAT on legal fees 219.80
                    Fee for completion of Stamp Duty Land Tax Return 55.00
                    VAT on Stamp Duty Land Tax Return fee 11.00
                    CHAPS (Bank) transfer fee [for transferring money to the seller’s solicitors on Completion] 40.00
                    VAT on CHAPS transfer fee 8.00
                    ID fee (for new clients) per person 10.00
                    VAT on ID fee 2.00
                    Expenses/Disbursements on the purchase (inclusive of VAT):  
                    Local Authority Search 144.40
                    Water and Drainage Search 71.74
                    Environmental Search 62.67
                    Chancel Liability Indemnity Insurance 9.60
                    Bankruptcy Search (per person) 3.30
                    Land Registry Search 3.30
                    Land Registration 135.00
                    Stamp Duty Land Tax 10,000.00
                    TOTAL 11,874.81
                  3. On a typical sale of a mortgaged leasehold flat in the York area for £170,000 the legal fees/costs would be as follows:-
                           £
                    Legal Fees 899.00
                    VAT on legal fees 179.80
                    ID fee (for new clients) per person 10.00
                    VAT on ID fee 2.00
                    CHAPS transfer fee (for redemption of mortgage) 40.00
                    VAT on CHAPS transfer fee 8.00
                    Expenses/Disbursements on the sale (inclusive of VAT):  
                    Official Copies of your deeds (from the Land Registry) 18.00
                    TOTAL 1156.80
                  4. On a typical purchase of a mortgaged leasehold flat in the York area for £250,000 the legal costs/fees would be as follows:-
                           £
                    Legal Fees 1049.00
                    VAT on legal fees 209.80
                    Fee for completion of Stamp Duty Land Tax Return 55.00
                    VAT on Stamp Duty Land Tax Return fee 11.00
                    CHAPS (Bank) transfer fee 40.00
                    VAT on CHAPS transfer fee 8.00
                    ID fee (for new clients) per person 10.00
                    VAT on ID 2.00
                    Expenses/Disbursements on the purchase (inclusive of VAT):  
                    Local Authority Search 144.40
                    Water and Drainage Search 71.74
                    Environmental Search 62.67
                    Chancel Liability Indemnity Insurance 9.60
                    Bankruptcy Search (per person) 3.30
                    Land Registry Search 3.30
                    Land Registration 135.00
                    Stamp Duty Land Tax (the fee payable will be dependable upon your individual circumstances including whether you are a first time buyer. The figure given is for illustrative purposes) 2,500.00
                    TOTAL 4,314.81

                    5. On a typical mortgage or re-mortgage of a freehold property for up to £200,000 the legal fees/costs would be as follows:-

                           £
                    Legal Fees 600.00
                    VAT on legal fees 120.00
                    CHAPS (Bank) transfer fee (to pay off current mortgage) 40.00
                    VAT on CHAPS transfer fee 8.00
                    ID fee (for new clients) per person 10.00
                    VAT on ID fee 2.00
                    Expenses/Disbursements on the purchase (inclusive of VAT):  
                    Official copies (of your deeds) 9.00
                    Search insurance premium (from) 17.00
                    Land Registration (from) 30.00
                    Bankruptcy search fee (per person) 3.30
                    Chancel Liability Indemnity Insurance fee 9.60
                    Land Registry search fee 3.30
                    TOTAL 852.20

                     

                  5. The above figures are subject to the following provisos:-
                        1. Disbursements such as search fees vary from Local Authority to Local Authority and you will need to ask us for a specific figure for properties outside York.
                        2. Stamp Duty Land Tax varies according to the house price and your personal circumstances. For example, different rates may apply if you are a first time buyer, replacing your main residence, buying an additional property, or buying a leasehold property.  You will need to request a specific figure from us for each and every transaction and our staff will calculate the correct tax due.
                        3. If you are selling a leasehold property, it may be necessary for you to pay the management company or its agents for the provision of information called the “Seller’s Information/Legal Pack”. The cost of this varies but can be anything from £150 plus VAT (£180) upwards.
                        4. If you are buying a leasehold property you will have to notify the Landlords and any Management Company of your purchase (and, if applicable, your mortgage). Again, the cost varies but it can be anything from £60 plus VAT (£72) upwards.  Extra fees may also be payable for executing Deeds of Covenant and obtaining membership of a Management Company.  These fees vary from case to case.
                        5. If you are purchasing a new build, shared ownership or using a help to buy mortgage there will be additional fees.
                        6. The Land Registry fees may double if the property is unregistered, transfer of part or new build.
                        7. The figures given above are for owner occupiers and an additional charge of £50 plus VAT (i.e. £10) is made for buy to let transactions.
                        8. For purchases where a Declaration of Trust is required, there will be an additional fee and we shall confirm this at the time of instruction.
                        9. When purchasing a property using a gift deposit, we charge £50 plus VAT for each gift.
                        10. Indemnity insurance can be an additional disbursement for you if you are selling or mortgaging and there are any defects in your legal title. This will not become apparent until the conveyancing process is underway.  The prices vary from case to case but are generally modest.  You will be notified of them up front.
                    What is included in our fees and what is not:-

                    The fees you are quoted cover all the legal work in connection with your transaction (including everything requested in relation to any mortgage that is involved). You will be represented by an experienced conveyancer who will be supported by an experienced assistant.

                    WE DO NOT CHARGE EXTRA FOR:-

                        1. Mortgage administration.
                        2. Redeeming your mortgage.
                        3. A contemporaneous mortgage in relation to your purchase.
                        4. Arranging title indemnity insurance.
                        5. Storing your file after completion.
                        6. A property that will involve first registration at the Land Registry.
                        7. A Right to Buy property.
                        8. A property that has been re-possessed.
                        9. A property purchased at auction.

                    Many firms do charge these items as extras.  You need to be very careful to check this when making comparisons.

                    If a transaction does proceed to completion you will be charged the fees and disbursements quoted.  If a transaction does not complete then you will be charged a fair proportion of the fee (plus VAT) and you will be liable to pay any disbursements/expenses that have already been incurred.

                    If you ask us to do legal work that exceeds (i.e. is additional to) the work we have quoted for, we may have to charge an additional fee.   We will always discuss with you in advance.  This is unlikely to happen.

                    Finally, we do have guides on property sales and purchases, which can be supplied on request.

              (B)       For Administration of an Estate/Probate

              When you instruct Guest Walker you will have a designated York based lawyer assigned to your case, who will stay with you from start to finish.  They in turn have access to the whole team, giving you the combination of the personal touch with the reassurance of the depth of experience we can offer.   

              No two jobs are the same, so we start by having an initial discussion with you to ascertain the main issues and the ways we can be of help. We will then be able to put a complete price together for you, or agree a working budget, in either case tailored to your estate with various options available. The aim is that you stay in control of costs with no unwelcome surprises.

              We have excellent working relationships with specialists such as consultants, litigators, accountants and IFAs to ensure that you get the best advice from the right people at the right time.

              Being specialists means we have come across most situations before and know our way around the various systems and procedures, meaning your matter can be progressed far more quickly. We know from the outset to ask for information that not only we need at the initial stages, but what we’ll need down the road. This can save an enormous amount of time.   We also know the steps to take to prevent the personal representatives or family from personal liability.

              What is involved?

              The main stages of an estate administration are-

              • Ascertain the estate assets and liabilities and the whereabouts of beneficiaries. Obtain up to date ID and payment details for the beneficiaries. Give advice on the content and terms of the Will.
              • Collect information needed to finalise lifetime income tax position.
              • Complete inheritance tax forms, submit to the Revenue and make application to Court for a Grant to the estate. (The Grant is the document which enables the executors or personal representatives to collect in the assets of the estate, sell property etc.)
              • Once the Grant has been received, close down bank accounts, sell or transfer other assets, pay liabilities, finalise income tax and capital gains tax both for the person who has passed away and for the estate.
              • Prepare estate accounts showing all assets and liabilities, expenses incurred during the administration of the estate and the balance to be distributed divided between the beneficiaries. Obtain necessary consents and approvals before distributing the estate and obtaining receipts.

              How long will it take?

              As far as timescales are concerned, in our experience, with every estate being so different and some aspects being in the hands of third parties, it can be impossible and indeed unhelpful to estimate how long we think the whole administration will take.  The first stage of collecting all the information usually takes around 12-16 weeks and from that point on we will keep you updated as we move through the next stages.  That way you are receiving up to date information, relevant and specific to your own matter.

              How much will it cost?

              We always want to be transparent and up front about costs.  We calculate the costs for you when we have assessed what work is likely to be involved and give you prices tailored to the estate and pricing options to suit you. As no two estates are the same, we would initially have a half an hour free no obligation discussion with you, where we can agree what advice you would like.  We would then put together an estimate of costs for you to approve. As always – you stay in control.

              Our staff, experience and rates:

              Rowena Rogers, TEP Solicitor & Head of Life Planning

              With over 19 years experience                                                                 £245 per hour & VAT

              Hudda Morgan, Senior Solicitor

              with over 25 years experience                                                                  £245 per hour & VAT

              Nick Clarke, Senior Solicitor

              with over 20 years experience                                                                  £235 per hour & VAT

              Emma Hartley  Life Planning Executive, GCILEX

              With over 10 years experience                                                                  £225 per hour & VAT

              We can break costs down into stages, so that you know what the estimate for each stage is likely to be.

              By way of a guide-

              A standard* probate application starts from £980 & VAT together with a Court fee of £155 plus £1.50 per copy Grant required.

              Examples of what we mean by “standard” are – a validly executed Will, one or two executors appointed (both acting), estate is below £325,000, lifetime gifts within annual allowances, executors can confirm/provide good estimates for all assets and liabilities and we are only instructed to prepare the Grant of Probate application.

              An example for an estate administration with-  a house, three bank accounts, two  pensions, estate below £325,000, a valid will with one executor and two beneficiaries all over 18,  no disputes or claims, lifetime gifts within annual allowances, no trusts and no foreign aspects would be between £4,875 to £5,500 plus VAT, together with a Probate Court fee of £155 plus £1.50 per copy Grant required.

              This includes the Court application and HMRC forms; having a designated executors bank account; dealing with the banks, pension providers and usual household utilities; obtaining all necessary beneficiary ID and bank details; having estate accounts showing all monies received, all bills paid and the balance due to each beneficiary; reporting of income arising during the administration of the estate to HMRC and providing all beneficiaries with the required receipts and income tax certificates.

              *Optional extras –

              • will search;
              • unknown creditor advertisements;
              • bankruptcy searches;
              • unclaimed assets searches;
              • missing beneficiary insurance;
              • sale or transfer of property;
              • mitigation of CGT;
              • final tax return;
              • provision of IHT spouse pack;
              • land registry title and plan document;
              • formal property and chattels valuation.

              We will discuss these choices with you and should you decide to opt for any, will confirm the additional charges in advance.

              *Examples of complexities are-

            • Estates where inheritance tax, income tax or capital gains tax may be due and particular reliefs or exemptions need to be calculated and claimed, or where there are trusts or lifetime gifts. It is worth mentioning here that often the tax savings we can achieve for you will far exceed any additional legal fees involved;
            • Where assets or beneficiaries are located abroad;
            • Estates which have a large number of beneficiaries;
            • Assets which need specialist advice e.g. farms or businesses;
            • Assets which are particularly large or numerous e.g. multiple shareholdings or bank accounts;
            • Situations where there is conflict between the executors/family/beneficiaries, or any challenges to the Will or estate;
            • Where the estate may be insolvent – i.e.. not enough assets to pay the debts. Here we can protect the executor and/or family from incurring any personal liability for estate debts, and often our costs can still come from the estate, so again, well worth any additional expense involved.
        1. (C)       Licensing Applications in relation to Business Premises

          The legal services provided under this heading cover advice, assistance and representation to businesses in relation to licensing applications for business premises.  This includes for the sale and supply of alcohol, the changing of opening hours and for entertainment purposes.

          We charge a standard fee for our time of £1250 plus VAT (at 20%) for an un-opposed Premises Licence application and £750 plus VAT for most Premises Licence Variation applications.  Other licensing work is charged at an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT.

          It is not possible to give an estimate of the time it will take to undertake a licensing application as it very much depends on the local licensing authority and varies from case to case. Licensing applications at Guest Walker are undertaken by John Walker a senior Solicitor with many years’ experience of making licensing applications in York.

        2. The local Licensing Authority charge fees for licensing applications but these may vary from transaction to transaction.  We can always supply a definite figure for your particular case.  By way of example, the application fee for a new Premises Licence for a property with a rateable value of less than £33,000.00 is £190 and the fee for transferring a premises licence is £23.

          It is sometimes also necessary to advertise applications in the local press and the charge for this is made by the relevant publication and varies according to the size of the advert and the location of the property.  It is rarely less than £900.

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