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Is DIY probate the answer to dealing with an Estate?

It is dangerous to fall into the trap of believing that probate is generally speaking straight forward and easy.

An article by Miles Brignall appeared in the Guardian on Saturday 12th January 2019 entitled ‘Probate: the best way to deal with the will and estate’.

*Spoiler alert* – Mr Brignall warns readers not use their family solicitor or bank because the charges could be “astronomical”, but instead suggests paying a ‘broker’ £295 to tell you which solicitor they would suggest, or alternatively to do it yourself.

Suffice to say, we disagree with most of what Mr Brignall says.

A Trusted Advisor

Firstly, if somebody you know dies and you require advice on the best way forward, we always suggest speaking to somebody you trust. If that person is your family solicitor or bank, then absolutely speak to that person.

Your family solicitor will almost certainly be able to provide you with that information, or point you in the right direction if they are unable to help.

If you have never had a need for a professional to act as your trusted adviser, then we suggest that a solicitor, subject to heavy regulation and standards, is more than likely happy to have a free no obligation meeting, and is a far more appropriate place to turn than a broker, who would refer you to a panel firm only to receive a commission back for the referral.

Many solicitors dealing with probate issues are Society of Trusts and Estates (STEP) qualified; this can be used as a directory to help locate an expert.

What do I need help with?

At what is invariably a very difficult time, you will be looking for initial guidance on what steps you should immediately take, the options available to you in terms of help and assistance moving forward and the associated costs for each option.

Should I be concerned about cost?

With any profession, there will some who charge excessively for work that in those particular circumstances was actually straight forward. It is, however, nonsense to imply that this is what all or even most solicitors do.

This is even more so now that all probate solicitors are required to publish their fees on their firm’s website.

Please feel free to take a look at our fees.

Is probate always straightforward?

It is dangerous to fall into the trap of believing that probate is generally speaking straight forward and easy. Apart from being an administrative grind, there are numerous risks involved, risks that can unfortunately lead to executors being personally liable for any loss caused.

This is not “Fake News”; this is fact based upon many years experience administering estates and seeing those risks first hand.

Can we help?

At Weightmans, we offer a free, no obligation conversation on any Wills, tax, trust and probate matters, giving you the chance to collect your thoughts before deciding whether to instruct us.

If you would like to know more about our update or have any questions, please contact David Stokes (Associate).  Alternatively, please do call and speak to a member of our Wills, Trusts and Estates team on 0345 073 9900 or via our website. We will be more than happy to answer any initial queries you have, talk through the options available to you and provide full and transparent costs information for you to consider.

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