Saga markets probate service with dig at lawyers “exploiting bereaved people”

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

19 July 2011


Shopping around: over-50s should take care when choosing legal advisers, says Saga

Some lawyers and financial advisers may be exploiting bereaved families by overcharging for probate, over-50s organisation Saga has suggested – pointing consumers to its own, cheaper, legal services arm instead.

The company – which launched Saga Legal Services last November – warned that the over-50s are “squandering millions of pounds a year on once-in-a-lifetime probate and will-writing decisions”.

It said “friends, relatives, charities and other benefactors are being deprived of up to 5% of their estate value, which could be around £7,200 for the average estate”.

A poll of the 11,000 people found that 90% of older people choose a solicitor or financial adviser when it comes to making wills and dealing with probate, “despite the fact that some charge as much as 5% of the value of estates – enough to buy a car, a holiday of a lifetime, or a deposit on a house for somebody named in a will”.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive of Saga Services, said: “What’s more, at a significant time of stress, when there’s been a loss of a loved one, only 63% of the 11,000 respondents said they would shop around to compare services thoroughly, meaning they could well be losing out – cynics might say that some advisers are exploiting people’s distracted decision-making at a time of difficulty.”

Urging people to shop around, Mr Ramsden said: “Around 500,000 people die each year. Even assuming only 10% have homes of average UK value – around £180,000 – and ignoring other assets, then commission or charges on probate matters involving the house alone could add up to £225 million for the legal and financial services sector, even if they take just 2.5% and could be as much as £450 million if they charged the higher rate of 5%.”

Saga, he said, deals with probate matters “for a cost of as little as 1% of the value of the estate”. Saga Legal Services is provided by Cogent Law, part of the Parabis Group.

As an alternative to the 1% charge to deal with the estate, Saga also offers a fixed-fee service to deal with the legal paperwork only, leaving the family free to handle the other aspects themselves.

Tags: ,



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

The rise of the multi-disciplinary lawyer: A challenge for legal education

Catrina Denvir

The legal profession has been on the receiving end of much hype regarding the impact of technology. Recent commentators purport that the aspiring lawyer must be a triple threat, possessing knowledge of the law, coding expertise, and in-depth knowledge of legal technology. Yet, focusing on legal technology risks overlooking the need for skills that transcend latest fads. Legal technology is a means by which to handle data: to organise it, record it, extract it, analyse it, predict from it and leverage it. Quantitative and statistical literacy – the ability to understand, apply, visualise and infer from data – underpins technological literacy and yet receives very little attention from those who encourage innovation in the legal curriculum.

May 26th, 2017