Solicitors support campaign
Here is a selection of statements sent to Title Research in support of the Fairness Campaign. If you would like to back our campaign by providing a statement of support on our website, please do contact us with a statement of support at firstname.lastname@example.org
Statements of support
“I have long admired the stance taken by Title Research in respect of the costs involved in tracing those entitled to estates and trusts and I support wholeheartedly your campaign to see a professional and appropriate remuneration system required by law in these circumstances”
Gill Steel, Lawskills
“I support your campaign and agree with you that fees should be based on a fair reflection of the amount of work involved in tracing beneficiaries, rather than a percentage of the estate value”
Andrew Cusworth, Linder Myers
“I’m very pleased to be able to confirm my support for your campaign. Charging should be clear and transparent and bear some relation to the amount of work involved - your methods achieve all of these objectives and are far preferable to charging that takes a percentage (often very high) of someone's entitlement, simply because the heir-locater has information that the beneficiary does not have. I wish you all the best in your efforts to spread this methodology across your industry - even if the net effect may be that future TV programmes on it may prove less exciting!”
Richard Grosberg, Nelsons
“I definitely support this campaign”
Ceris Gardner, Maurice Turnor Gardner
“In my experience, percentage fees charged by heir locators are often out of all proportion to the work involved in finding missing beneficiaries. I fully support calls for better regulation to put an end to this unfair method of charging.”
Ian Pratt, RJR Solicitors
“I fully support the Fairness Campaign. The ultimate test for any business is that whatever fees are charged must try to be fair to both the customer and the supplier and must be transparent and properly reflect the amount of work done and its importance to the customer. Unfortunately it is clear that in many cases the salesmen for heir hunter firms put undue pressure on vulnerable customers to sign up to excessive percentages which are unfair compared to the amount of work they have to undertake. I have had to deal with some heir hunters who have contacted us when we are winding up estates, claiming that they know of other assets but they will only pass details to us if we pay them a large percentage, say 33%.”
Peter Hopkins, Mercers
“Heir locators who use contingency fee agreements often conceal from the beneficiary the facts which would give the beneficiary the choice of tracing the inheritance himself and by-passing the heir-locator. This approach encourages misrepresentation to induce a beneficiary to sign away a percentage of their entitlement. It is important to seek independent legal advice based on each case, but if misrepresentation has taken place, in my opinion these fee agreements may well be considered unlawful.”
Constance McDonnell, barrister at 9 Stone Buildings, Lincolns Inn
“I am happy to support your campaign to protect consumers from being charged unfair and excessive percentage (contingency) fees by firms of heir hunters”
Gillian Stevens, Family History Online
Unfortunately life sometimes takes an unexpected turn & heir locators are needed. The percentage fees charged by these companies compound an already difficult situation so I definitely support your campaign.
Jaci Godman Irvine, Estate Legacy Services
A fee based system for services is a fairer way of charging than an arbitrary percentage that has no relation to the amount of work involved.
Nigel George, George and Co Solicitors
I agree with and support your campaign.
Jane Barlow, Estate Administration Services
I wholeheartedly support your campaign for fair fees for the finding of missing beneficiaries. It is admirable that you have chosen to devote time and resources to improving the sector as a whole, in a way that will protect the public as a whole and not just your own clients.
Doug Locke, Veale Wasbrough Vizards
I agree with your sentiments.
Ann Hallett, Church House Trust Plc
I am delighted that you have started this campaign for fair charging for your industry. You and I could both, I am sure, name firms whose percentage based fee structures have led to beneficiaries signing away large sums of money from a position where they often have no indication of the amount of their inheritance. Such firms exploit the unequal bargaining position they have, which I think any right-minded person would regard as unfair. I hope your campaign is successful.
Martin V T Hill, Bray & Bray
I agree that fees should be based on a fair reflection of the amount of work involved in tracing beneficiaries, rather than a percentage of the estate value.
David Ford, Mills Chody LLP
We like you strongly disapprove of percentage fees in our own profession and very much support your campaign against these practices which we fully agree can bring our respective professions into disrepute. We are here to help our local community not fleece them. A fair remuneration system is an essential ingredient of that support system.
Peter Lloyd Caris, Caris Robson LLP
I certainly support your campaign. I have practised as a private client solicitor for more than 35 years and the excessive contingency fee charged by some firms of heir hunters has always been a source of great irritation. The charges are excessive and it is an unfair and immoral way of uniting beneficiaries with what they are entitled to.
Gavin Bushell, Cobbetts LLP
We support your campaign
Emma K Elwess, Pearsons & Ward Solicitors
I fully support your campaign to protect consumers from being charged unfair and excessive percentage (contingency) fees by firms of heir hunters. I recently dealt with an estate involving an intestacy and charged £5,000 plus VAT. The heir hunters involved received over £50,000 for doing nothing!! Need I say more.
Grace Noble, Lee Chadwick & Co. LLP
I would like to express my support for this campaign. I have experienced difficulties in the past in seeking to trace heirs to have an Executor Dative appointed where the attitude of the genealogist was that the outcome for the beneficiaries was irrelevant. I hope many others support the campaign.
Beth Hamilton, Tho & J W Barty
I support an heir finding fee system that is proportion to the level of work involved in locating missing beneficiaries rather than a percentage charge which is unfair on the residuary beneficiaries footing the bill.
Sarah Steel, Chattertons Solicitors
I am a solicitor in a Worcester firm. I have read your reports on the activities of Heir Hunters with interest. I am in full agreement that beneficiaries should only be charged a reasonable fee for the work involved. It is our practice to employ reputable services like yourselves & Hoopers and we have been satisfied with the service provided & the fees charged.
David Kitcat, March & Edwards Solicitors
We support the campaign
Peter Taylor, Ellis Taylor
Bunkers is delighted to support your campaign to protect clients from unfair percentage fees by firms of heir hunters. It is only right that all estate work, whether done by lawyers or heir hunters, be a fair and true reflection of the time and effort put in, rather than an arbitrary percentage of the estate value. We put a great deal of care into providing each client with a transparent fees guideline based on the job in hand. To do otherwise is, in the long term, a false economy.
Richard Bates, Bunkers Solicitors
I wholeheartedly support your campaign and agree with you that probate genealogy fees should be based on a fair reflection of the amount of work involved and time spent in tracing beneficiaries, rather than a percentage of the estate value.
Jane L Riley, ALB Law
I support the campaign to outlaw contingency fees for this service. I believe fees should be transparent and fair based upon a reasonable return for the necessary work carried out as with legal costs generally.
John Myles, Forbes Solicitors
I wholeheartedly support the right of consumers to be protected from hostage takers who will only release information in return for a substantial ransom (for that is what it is). My firm does not use tracing companies who follow this immoral step. When consumer protection is all the buzz - sometimes apparently in excess - it is indeed strange that such behaviour can flourish. One wonders how many payments might be challenged on the grounds of undue influence. Such an approach to clients would certainly not reflect well on a lawyer trying it on - but then ambulance chasing seems to be the method approved by our Government now that the professional rules are designed to hinder the profession rather than protect the public.
Paul Eward, Orme & Slade Limited t/a Slades
KieranClarkeGreen supports your campaign to protect consumers from unfair contingency fees in cases where they are ‘lost’ beneficiaries.
Lesley Price, KieranClarkeGreen
We at Alder Hogg & Co agree that fees should be fair and reasonable, and generally based on the work carried out rather than on a percentage basis.
Alison Greer, Alder Hogg & Co
I support your campaign
James Mackintosh, Mackintosh & Co Solicitors
We fully support the stance taken by Title Research. Fees charged by heir hunters should be fair, transparent and fully in line with the amount of work involved in tracing the beneficiary. They should never be a percentage of the estate value.
Steve DeRoy-Jones, Kingsman Associates
I support your campaign that fees should be based on the amount of work involved in tracing beneficiaries, rather than a percentage of the value of the estate. Any fees should be proportionate to the work involved, not to the value of the assets
Julia Frimond, Julia Frimond Solicitors
, In association with Rose & Rose
I am happy to support your campaign that fees for tracing heirs should be on a fair and reasonable basis i.e. on an hourly rate or fixed fee basis and not on a contingency basis.
Michael Prout, Gard & Co
As a probate practitioner I have encountered clients trapped into paying extortionate percentages by missing beneficiary agencies. I myself wondered whether a fee paying alternative was available.
Harvey Thomas, Price & Kelway
I am happy to support the campaign by Title Research for fairer fees. The onus of tracing missing beneficiaries lies on the Executors or Administrators of an estate. It is they who should determine the method and basis of charging based on information given to them by the tracing firm of what is likely to be involved and how much time the work is likely to take. It is unscrupulous, to say the least, to require beneficiaries to sign away a substantial proportion of their inheritance when they often have no idea at all what the value of their share actually is.
Judy Wedderspoon, TWM Solicitors LLP
I support your campaign, it is unfair that a beneficiary be pressured into signing a percentage fee agreement rather than being asked to pay for the costs involved in locating them which is a far more proportionate and reasonable method of charging.
Helen MacDiarmid, Chebsey & Co
I support your campaign to prevent customers paying excessive fees to heir hunters
Tony Collinson, Whiteside & Knowles
I wholeheartedly support Title Research's campaign to ensure that the costs involved in tracing beneficiaries accurately reflect the work involved. Costs charged as a percentage of the estate value are often entirely disproportionate to the actual time spent working on the matter.
Rebecca Bradley, Needham & James LLP Solicitors
I express my support that fees charged by heir hunters should be calculated on a time basis.
Michael Parnell-King, Gregory Rowcliffe Milners
I agree that the practices of Beneficiary Hunters who charge a significant proportion of a beneficiaries' entitlement to an Estate or of a forgotten shareholding, before disclosing the nature or amount involved should be stopped. But above all I object to the activities of the company appointed by one of the major share Registrars,. . There is NO justification for the Registrars not to issue a new cheque to replace an outdated one [subject to a small admin fee] but instead to insist that the matter is dealt with through this appointed "Beneficiary Hunter", who take an unconcionable slice, on the pretext of locating the person entitled, when in most cases they are completely superfluous, and have done nothing of the sort.
Duncan Rabagliati, Gregsons Solicitors
Unfortunately we are aware that some of those who trace potential beneficiaries charge those traced on a commission percentage basis. This is not necessarily made clear at the outset. We hope that solicitors and others who require to trace beneficiaries will only use fee based firms and that fees will reflect the work involved.
Edward Acton and Siobhan Reid, Grant Smith Law Practice
I wholeheartedly support the campaign by Title Research against excessive fees and unfair working practices in the tracing of missing beneficiaries. And, furthermore, I agree that the estate as a whole should pay the expense of locating missing beneficiaries and this is how we deal with such matters in this firm.
Catherine Cammock, Hand Morgan & Owen Solicitors
Please accept this e-mail as my personal support for the campaign that beneficiaries should be given full information when found by a genealogist. It is also important that the estate only pay for the time it took to find them and not on a percentage basis.
Fiona Heald, Caroline Coats Solicitors