Gebbie & Wilson LLP, Solicitors and Estate Agents, is a Firm registered with the Law Society of Scotland. Among many legal practice requirements, the Law Society has issued Guidance on what is called Transparent Pricing. This is information to be made available to clients and potential clients about fees, outlays and costs that may be incurred when instructing solicitors. The Guidance is in place for all firms in Scotland that offer legal services to consumers/private clients.
Here on our website we provide some examples of pricing for the range of services in which we practise. These are, as required, only illustrations, not definitive costs. This is because a legal transaction is a like a fingerprint – no job is the same as any other job, and the uniqueness of the work is thus matched by the charges for it. Some kinds of work carry a fixed fee, others are calculated by a scale or hourly rate cost varying with the amount of time or other effort, and the complexity, that is appropriate for the completion of the matter or transaction. Over and above fees, outlays are charges and costs paid out by the Firm on behalf of the client to other companies, offices, organisations – e.g. the Sheriff Court, Registers of Scotland, search companies, local authorities and others. These charges are incurred by the client as a necessary part of the work being done. The Firm makes no margin or profit on outlays, they are simply passed on to the client at whatever cost is charged to us. We always seek a good service and a good deal for clients.
So while we have outlined these examples, and hope they are helpful in describing the kind of charges a client may expect for our work, you can be almost sure that none of them exactly matches it – except by chance in a few limited cases. But this unavoidable mismatch is dealt with by another Law Society of Scotland requirement. All work that we agree to carry out must be preceded by a written estimate or quotation of fees, vat and outlays. This costing is part of an obligation to issue clients with Terms and Conditions of Business (terms of engagement) – a set of relevant information in a formal letter and other related documentation to fulfil our professional and legal obligations.
Clients and potential clients reading this Price Transparency Guide should contact one of our solicitors for our specific and detailed estimate/quotation of fees, as well as discussing the work to be done so that we can be sure that the advice we suggest and provide meets your requirements.
Areas of work
Preparation of a Will
A Will is an important document to get right – in content, expression and execution. It is a mistake to assume that a Will is either not necessary or that it is necessarily straightforward. In Scotland the law of inheritance can be complex and very often not what a person might expect in terms of the rights of family members to a share – or not – of the estate. So, our work will involve discussing and advising on options and risks to achieve even the most basic will. If there are more complex family circumstances, dispositions of assets and/or potential or actual exposure to Inheritance Tax, then the work required may be extensive and thus carry additional fee charges.
For a basic job of consultation, advice, preparation of the single will, completion, execution and storage, the fee may be £150 incl. VAT.
There are usually no outlays associated with this process.
Power of Attorney (Incapacity)
There are various kinds of Power of Attorney (POA). The most commonly used is a document that supports a person who is incapacitated mentally and/or physically – known as a Combined Continuing (Financial) and Welfare Power of Attorney. This allows a trusted friend, family member or a professional person to do what is needed, armed with full legal rights conferred by the granter of the POA. The document is lengthy and complex and must be tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the granter. A basic POA may require meeting and consultation with the solicitor, the drafting of the POA document, its completion and execution (i.e. signing and witnessing) – it must also be accompanied by a certificate of capacity provided by the solicitor, and then registered with the Office of the Public Guardian Scotland (OPG) to take effect.
For a basic single POA, the fee may be £300 incl. VAT. There may be an additional fee if a home or hospital visit is required. The registration outlay is currently £81, charged by and paid to the OPG.
Purchase of Residential Property (Conveyancing)
The Firm deals with transactions for clients buying a home, whether it be a flat, house, new-build property or land to build upon. The work may involve: communications and advice by the solicitor with the client, correspondence with estate agents and the seller’s solicitor, drawing up a range of documents including a formal legal offer and further missives, examination of title, inspection of searches and reports, drawing of a title transfer document (Disposition) and mortgage security documents where necessary, arranging settlement (completion) of the transaction, obtaining and managing the funds from both client and mortgage lender, completion of Anti Money Laundering procedures, submission of LBTT (Scottish Stamp Duty) Return and making payment of tax where due to Revenue Scotland, registration of the new title (and mortgage security where funding comes from a lender), and reporting to our client and lender after registration.
The fixed fee for this work (for a transaction with price of say £200,000 part-funded by a mortgage) may be £930 incl. VAT
Examples of outlays are £400 to Registers of Scotland for registration of the title, £80 for registration of the mortgage, £1,100 for LBTT. LBTT and title registration dues change on sliding scales according to the price of the property, so in the foregoing illustration the outlays for these will change if the property is a different price. Our fixed fees vary, too, accordingly to the price and the complexity of the transaction.
Sale of Residential Property (Conveyancing)
The Firm deals with transactions for clients selling a home, whether it be a flat, house, or land to build upon. The work may involve communication and advice by the solicitor with the client, correspondence with estate agents and the purchaser’s solicitor, drawing up a range of documents including a formal legal acceptance of the buyer’s offer and further missives, provision of title, ordering of searches and reports, revising of a new title transfer document (Disposition) and discharging mortgage security where necessary, arranging completion/settlement of the transaction, managing the funds from buyer’s lawyer and redeeming outstanding mortgage to the lender, registration of discharge where necessary, reporting to and settling with the client.
The fixed fee for this work (for a transaction with price of say £200,000 with a mortgage to be discharged) may be £930 incl. VAT.
Examples of outlays are £80 for registration of the mortgage discharge, £20 for Advance Notice for title, and approximately £190 for title, property and mining searches.
Remortgage of Residential Property (Conveyancing)
The Firm deals with transactions for clients who are remortgaging a home. The work may involve communication and advice by the solicitor with the client, examination of title, drawing up a range of documents, including a new mortgage security and a discharge of the old security, ordering and inspection of searches and reports, obtaining and managing funds from the new mortgage lender, redeeming outstanding mortgage to the old lender, registration of discharge, and arranging completion/settlement of the transaction, registration of new mortgage security, and reporting to client and lender after registration.
The fixed fee for this work may be £540 incl. VAT.
Examples of outlays are £80 for registration of the mortgage discharge, £80 for registration of the new mortgage security, £20 for Advance Notice for the security, and approximately £190 for title, property and mining searches.
Discharge of Security
For those lucky enough to have paid off their mortgage, there is a legal /conveyancing process to update title deeds known as discharge of security. The mortgage lender has a charge over the client’s title while the loan remains under repayment, and this can be removed once full redemption has been made and the bank or lender no longer has a claim over the property.
For a basic discharge of mortgage security the fee may be £180 incl. VAT
The outlay is a fee of £80 to the Registers of Scotland for registration of the Discharge.
The fee may be 0.75% of the purchase price plus VAT. Examples of outlays, based on a purchase price of £500,000, may be £660 for registration dues of title and £80 for registration dues of a security and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) of £13,500. LBTT and title registration dues change on sliding scales according to the price of the property, so in the foregoing illustration the outlays for these will change if the property is a different price.
Sale of Commercial and Agricultural Property (Conveyancing)
The fee may be 0.75% of the purchase price plus VAT. Examples of outlays are £80 registration dues for discharge of a security and approximately £700 for title, property, company, environmental and coal reports and searches.
General Advice and Business
This Firm takes on a range of clients and cases/transactions. Sometimes the work is preliminary advice, or assistance with a minor or brief legal issue requiring correspondence with other parties or solicitors, and/or creating of legal documentation.
We often offer preliminary consultation without charge for a discussion or meeting, though we reserve the right to charge for all services and advice. Some examples of miscellaneous charges:
For notarising/certifying documents a fee may be £50 plus vat £10.
For advising on and preparing Partnership Agreements and business succession plans, the fee may be based on a rate of £225 plus VAT £45 per hour.
For advising on planning for retirement, property and wealth management, succession/inheritance planning, care costs and related matters, the fee may be based on a rate of £275 plus VAT £55 per hour.
Administration of Estates (deceased person)
The work required in winding up the estate of someone who has died is another area where it is difficult, and often impossible, to give accurate indications of fees in advance. Our Terms of Engagement (our terms and conditions of business) will usually set out an hourly rate charge. There are many factors which affect the fees that will be due, including whether or not there is a valid and self-proving Will, how many beneficiaries there are, the number of financial assets that make up the estate and decisions on whether assets are to be sold or transferred, and what is required to properly report the estate for Inheritance tax purposes. The work may involve meetings and consultations between the family/executor and the solicitor, collating and valuing the assets and liabilities of the estate, corresponding with financial and other institutions (e.g. banks, building societies, share registrars, investment companies, employers/pension administrators, DWP, HMRC, the council tax department, factors, mortgage lenders and more), drawing court documents and forms for the appointment of Executors and Confirmation (Scottish equivalent of Probate), dealing with the Sheriff Court to process the forms, preparing the appropriate Inheritance tax report or account and securing reliefs and allowances, ingathering the estate (i.e. collecting in all the money), accounting to the executor and distributing the bequests and shares of the estate among beneficiaries.
There may also be a home/heritable property to sell on the open market or transfer to a beneficiary. That work is not included in this example as it is a conveyancing process (see Sale of Residential Property (Conveyancing) above).
The fee for executry work in winding up a particular estate may be in one case £2,400 plus VAT £480, and in another be £7500 plus VAT £1500.
Outlays may include Court Confirmation dues of £266 plus £8 for each individual asset certificate as needed. The Court dues vary according to the value of the estate.
In most cases we would have our file independently audited for a fee in line with our terms of engagement, to ensure it is fair and reflective of the work undertaken.
Gebbie & Wilson LLP also undertake estate agency work through our Gebbie & Wilson Property Department. The Firm’s work for a client who instructs us to market property may include our staff consulting with the client, advising on value and marketing strategy/process, visiting and valuing the property, preparing a sale schedule, registering it on online property portals, arranging a Home Report, dealing with enquiries, arranging/conducting viewings, negotiating with prospective buyers and processing offers received. Commission may be based on a percentage of the sale price of the property or a fixed fee agreed beforehand.
For the sale of an urban property at a final sale price of £210,000, the commission may be 0.9% i.e. £1,890 plus vat £378.
Outlays may be a marketing fee of £300, and Home Report charge of £380 payable to the surveyor.