Just 1 in 25 firms reduced prices in 2015
29% of legal firms have put prices up in the past twelve months according to a survey by the legal services board.
According to the telephone survey of 1,506 conducted between November and January, just 4% had reduced prices, with the vast majority of firms leaving well alone.
The research revealed that the average cost of a standard will is £168, with a more complex will at £206. The mean cost for arranging a lasting power of attorney was £414, a grant of probate averages out at £829 and the average cost of the administration of an estate costs £1,926.
36% of firms said services occasionally cost more than initially estimated with 58% saying this rarely or never happened. 4% said this happened often and 1% very often.
When it came to displaying prices on a website, this is some way off being an industry standard with 17% doing so. 76% of firms don’t display their prices online, and surprisingly, 4% of firms have no website at all.
The research also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that firms that marketed themselves on the basis of cost by advertising their fees were generally cheaper, and that lower prices could be found for the same services by calling several providers, with those in the south east of England tending to be more expensive.
Legal Services Board Chief Executive, Neil Buckley,said: “This research demonstrates that it really does pay to shop around.
“For many consumers, substantial savings on commonly purchased legal services – especially those which do not require face to face delivery – can be made by searching the market across England and Wales.
“For consumers in the South East in particular, our research shows that a premium may be paid for direct, locally sourced legal services of the type covered by this report.
“The legal services market is changing and we are seeing numerous signs of innovation as new providers enter the market and existing providers develop their services. But there is still some way to go before all consumers can be confident of finding the legal service they need at a price they can afford.
“Firms who are yet to adapt will have to look at what their competitors are providing. This is a market with huge potential for delivering a better deal for consumers.”