With disputes over wills said to be soaring and the cost of probate court fees rising to an unprecedented level, the need for legal fee and disbursement finance has never been greater.
For executors or personal representatives, Client Credit offers a solution to meeting the cost of legal representation, including legal fees, court fees and other disbursements such as IHT before probate is granted.
Similarly, it can be used by clients seeking to contest a will to meet the costs of legal representation.
We only charge interest in relation to the value of the costs actually paid from the account, calculated a rate of 1.5% per month. The account, which can be used at any stage of the proceedings, is repayable in full at the end of proceedings or after 36 months if sooner.
If you are an executor, personal representative or you are contesting a will and would like to apply, simply ask your solicitor via whom we will provide you with the pre-contract credit information and the credit agreement for signature. You must read the pre-contract information carefully as you will be bound by the agreement once you have signed it.
What is Iceberg Client Credit and how does it work?
A Client Credit account will allow you to finance the cost of your legal representation and disbursements (subject to status) for up to 36 months, or until your case is completed if sooner.
Am I eligible?
As with any finance arrangement, it is important that you do not borrow more than you can afford to repay. As an executor or personal representative, before applying you must be sure that the realisable value of the estate is sufficient to repay your Client Credit account in full at completion of proceedings.
How do I apply?
To apply, simply ask your solicitor who will provide you with the pre-contract credit information and the credit agreement for signature. Please read this information carefully as once signed, you will be bound by the agreement.
How do I pay legal fees using Client Credit?
As part of your credit agreement with us, you authorise your solicitor to drawdown their fees and disbursements from your Client Credit account. Each time your solicitor requests a drawdown we will notify you and advise you of any change to your monthly payment. We will charge a drawdown fee of £25 each time we pay your solicitor on your behalf.
Will I have a credit limit?
Yes, an initial credit limit will be set based on the amount you request at the time of application. If your legal costs are greater than anticipated then we can consider a credit limit increase, subject to status.
Is there a monthly minimum payment?
Yes, a monthly minimum payment of 1.5% of the outstanding balance is payable. However, in certain circumstances your solicitor may agree to make this payment on your behalf and recharge these costs to your account. Please note that if you ask your solicitor to pay the monthly minimum payments it will increase the amount you owe to us and the amount of interest that you have to pay.
Are there any penalty charges for early settlement?
No, you can repay part or all of the outstanding balance at any time without penalty.
What are the costs?
There is a joining fee equal to 1% of your agreed credit limit subject to a minimum fee of £250.00. If we agree to increase your credit limit at any time, an additional fee equal to 1% of the increase in your credit limit will be charged. Joining and additional fees are added to the outstanding balance of your account at commencement or, in the case of additional fees, at the time we increase your credit limit. The joining and additional fee are payable in full at the same time your outstanding balance is payable.
Each time you drawdown monies from your account, we will charge you a drawdown fee of £25.00. The drawdown fee is added to the amount of the monthly minimum payment.
Interest is calculated at a rate of 1.5% per month of the outstanding balance and debited to the outstanding balance each month. For example, if the outstanding balance of your account was £1,000, then you would pay £15 in interest each month.
Do I have to use Client Credit to pay all fees?
No, you can choose which fees you add to your Client Credit account.
Do you pay commission to my solicitor?
No, we do not pay commission to your solicitor. It is important to remember that your agreement for Client Credit is solely with us.
What happens if I stop instructing my solicitor?
If you cease to instruct your solicitor for any reason, then you must immediately repay the outstanding balance of your Client Credit account in full.
Why should my clients apply?
Client Credit has been designed around the needs of your clients. Loans are unsecured and clients do not need to take independent legal advice. Account opening is simple, quick and inexpensive.
It works by providing clients with an online payment account from which we pay fee notes, disbursements, including IHT and VAT ‘Costs’ directly to your firm as they fall due. The account can be used at any stage during the proceedings and covers all legal costs and disbursements in relation to instruction.
How do I charge costs to the Client Credit account?
Costs are charged to your clients’ accounts via your secure online dashboard. Simply select ‘Request Drawdown’ and choose the client from the dropdown list. Enter the value of the costs to be charged in the ‘Amount of Fee Notes/Disbursements’ box and click ‘submit’.
We will write to the client advising of the request and the requested amount will be sent to your firm’s account 14 working days later.
When does the loan fall due for repayment?
The loan falls due for repayment within 14 days of the proceedings being finalised. Of course, the end of proceedings doesn’t always coincide with realisation of the estate and we recognise that for some clients it may take time to sell property or otherwise dispose of assets. We always try to work with you, and the client, to find a suitable solution including, when appropriate, allowing additional time to repay.
If you are a solicitor and would like more information, please enter your email address below.