Information is being circulated regarding the will-writing scheme offered by Linder Myers solicitors to retired and serving Police Officers and their families. It raises concerns that Linder Myers will take money from a deceased person’s estate and that in some way this has been concealed within the will-writing scheme. We would never act or charge costs in a deceased person’s estate without the agreement of all the executors and the beneficiaries.

Until recently, Linder Myers offered a free will-writing scheme to Police and NARPO members, whereby a straightforward Will was prepared for free. It even extended to spouses and close family members.  

The concern over possible further costs appears to relate to situations where the partners in Linder Myers are appointed as executors in someone’s Will.  It is common for people making a Will to appoint professional executors, but equally others choose not to have professional executors. It will depend upon the wishes of the particular person making the Will. A professional executor provides expertise in what can be a complex process; when there might be differences or disputes within the estate; to deal with the administration of an estate at what will inevitably be a distressing time for the family and they may not feel up to dealing with the affairs of a loved one who has died.  We act as executors in a great many estates, as will other law firms.

If a professional executor is appointed then, as would be expected, they will charge for their work in connection with the administration of the estate. The amount of their fees depends upon the complexity and size of the estate, but in any event any fees are subject to the approval of any other executors and, if there are no other executors, to the approval of the beneficiaries. It is simply incorrect to suggest that any professional executor can deduct a figure for fees from the estate without authority or explanation. 

We have seen various suggestions for amounts that might be deducted. The level of fees depends very much upon the nature of the work involved and, at the sake of repetition, must be agreed with any other executors or the beneficiaries.

  

All of the above presumes that Linder Myers acts as an executor of the estate. There is absolutely no requirement on any client to appoint Linder Myers as executor and it is entirely a matter for the particular client.  Many do appoint us as executor, but, equally, some do not.  It is categorically not, and never has been, a condition of the will-writing scheme that Linder Myers is appointed as executor.  It is entirely a matter for the client. 

Even if we are named as executor, if when a person dies we are asked by the family to stand down as executor, because they would prefer to deal with matters themselves, then it is our practice to do so.

In summary, there is no clause or any other stipulation within any Wills we have written that entitles Linder Myers to take money from an estate when someone dies.  If Linder Myers is appointed as a professional executor, then we would charge for the work that is undertaken. Those fees are subject to the approval of any co-executors or, where there are no co-executors, the beneficiaries.  The fees are set out in estate accounts which are circulated to every beneficiary and are subject to their approval. The fees are agreed and discussed beforehand by the beneficiaries and could be a fixed fee, capped fee, percentage of the estate or hourly rate – whatever works for the family.

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