Tel: 0191 258 0212

Email: enquiries@JulietteAdieSolicitors.co.uk

Terms and Conditions of Business
Probate & Estate Administration

Our aim

We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. As a start, we hope it is helpful to you to set out in this statement the basis on which we will provide our professional services. Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been signed and returned to us for us to keep on our file.

Our hours of business

The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on weekdays. Messages can be left on the answerphone outside those hours and appointments can be arranged at other times when this is unavoidable.

People responsible for your work and complaints

The Solicitor responsible for the dealing with your work will be Juliette Adie. In her absence, arrangements will be made.

We do not expect you to have any concerns, but if you did have any complaints about the handling of this matter or our bill we would want to know about them immediately so that they can be addressed.

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Ombudsman (PO BOX 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ, telephone 0300 555 0333, website www.legalombudsman.org.uk) to consider the complaint. Complaints must be made within 6 months of the final bill or finding out there was a problem.

Charges and expenses

Our charges will be calculated in accordance with Law Society guidelines and will vary depending upon the complexity and value of the estate. It is very difficult to give accurate estimates at the start of the administration when the value of the estate and the work involved are often unclear. In addition, it is quite common that further investments are discovered during the course of the administration or that the nature and extent of some assets may have changed.

Our costs are assessed on the overall time spent by solicitors and executive staff in attending and advising you, preparing documents, dealing with papers, correspondence and telephone calls. In common with most firms of solicitors, time is usually charged in six minute units, of which there are ten per hour. Juliette Adie's charging rate is 20.00 per unit. Letters, emails and telephone calls (made or received) will also be charged at 20.00 per item. The time spent is often influenced by the type of assets and whether they are to be sold, encashed or transferred. Please also note that further work may be necessary if documents (eg share certificates, passbooks) are missing as it will be necessary to arrange duplicate documentation.

The hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1 April each year. If a costs review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.

Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land or Probate Registry fees, court fees, experts' fees, and so on. We refer to such payments generally as 'disbursements'. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose.

If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to:

  1. charge you for work done and expenses incurred; or
  2. where a fixed fee has been agreed, charge the whole of the fixed fee. This fee may however be reduced at our discretion depending upon the circumstances.

Payment arrangements

Our usual procedure is to render interim accounts on a monthly basis so that you can keep a running total of the work completed. Upon completion of the administration we will render our final account, and our complete charges will be detailed in the estate accounts. The value element of our charges is normally applied at the end of the administration although it may be earlier where the administration period is likely to be extended (usually where there is a delay in selling property). Our costs will be deducted from the money received into the estate wherever possible. We do, however, reserve the right to request money from you to meet payments which we may have to make on your behalf (for example, probate fees, inheritance tax, valuation fees) and to cover legal fees if there are insufficient funds in the estate if, for example, the assets have been transferred to beneficiaries. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the administration of the estate may result. In the unlikely event of any bill or request for payment not being met, the Firm must reserve the right to stop acting for you further.

Payment is due to us within 30 days of our sending you a bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at 4% over Barclays Bank base rate from time to time from the date of the bill where payment is late.

The common law entitles us to retain any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly come into our possession pending payment of our costs, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred. This is known as a 'general lien'. We are not entitled to sell property held under a lien but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs.

We do not accept payments to us in cash in excess of £250.00 save in relation to our fees and with our consent. Monies due to you from us will be paid by cheque or bank transfer, but not in cash, and will not be made payable to a third party save in the ordinary course of conducting administration of estates and trusts. Transfers directly to your bank account will be subject to a fee.

Payment of Interest on Money Held by Us

Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 1998, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on Barclays Designated Client Accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which cleared funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account.

Storage of papers and documents

After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

We will store our file of your papers electronically for at least one year, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you both for:

  1. time spent producing stored papers that are requested
  2. reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers

Financial services and insurance contracts

We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.

However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. Insurance mediation activities and investment services, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.

Termination

You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.

If we decide to stop acting for you, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a payment on account or there is a conflict of interest, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.

Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within seven working days of the date on which you asked us to act for you. However, if we start work with your consent within that period, you lose that right to withdraw. Your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business will amount to such consent. If you seek to withdraw instructions, you should give notice by telephone, e-mail or letter to the person named in these terms of business as being responsible for your work. The Regulations require us to inform you that the work involved is likely to take more than 30 days.

Identity, disclosure and confidentiality requirements

We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent. We may arrange to carry out an electronic verification of your identity if we consider that a saving of time and cost will be achieved by doing so. The cost of any such search will be charged to you. If the amount is in excess of 10 including VAT, we will seek your prior agreement.

Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception: legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make such a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or of the reasons for it, because the law prohibits 'tipping-off'. Where the law permits us, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take.

Our firm may be subject to audit or quality checks by external firms or organisations. We may also outsource work. This might be for example typing or photocopying or costings, or research and preparation to assist with your matter. Information from your file may therefore be made available in such circumstances. We will always aim to obtain a confidentiality agreement with the third party.

Limitation of liability

Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £2,000,000 including costs, unless we expressly state a higher amount in the letter accompanying these terms of business. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.

We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.

Other points

We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. We may need to virus check discs or email. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with you and others when appropriate by e-mail or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax.

The Data Protection Act requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you.

Where we act for two or more clients jointly it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions from either, both or any of them.

Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.

The advice given and the documents prepared throughout the retainer are based upon the information provided by you and are personal to you. Neither Juliette Adie Solicitors nor its employees shall be liable to any third party for any loss or damage, direct or indirect arising from reliance upon the advice/information given during the course of this retainer.

Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.