Probate is the process of administering a dead person's estate. If the deceased has left a will and appointed an executor, that person will usually be granted probate automatically. However, if no will is left, the next of kin will have to apply for a 'grant of letters of administration', before proceeding with probate.
Can I Apply For Probate By Myself?
Dealing with a loved one's estate isn't easy; it's usually a very upsetting and difficult time, regardless of the added paperwork and bureaucracy that come with getting probate. It is possible to go through the process of getting probate by yourself, sometimes called 'DIY probate', but this isn't quite as simple and straightforward as it might sound. During a time of grief, the probate process can be very stressful, and it comes with the added burden of knowing that you will be personally liable if a mistake is made during the process.
What Does Probate Involve?
Knowing just how much paperwork is involved in the process of probate will give you a better idea of whether or not it's something you wish to do yourself. Some, but not all, of the duties that probate will involve include:
- Locating all the financial documentation of the person who has died
- Liaising with banks to determine capital and freeze assets
- Opening a bank account on behalf of the estate
- Preparing details of the money, property, assets and debts of the estate
- Working out inheritance tax payable and paying it
- Sharing out the estate as set out in the will
When Should I Use A Solicitor For Probate?
If the list of duties above sounds daunting, it might be time to call in an expert. Some estates are simpler than others; if the estate you're dealing with exceeds the Inheritance Tax threshold, or involves complicated arrangements, including assets held in trust and foreign property and assets, then you may be best off hiring a solicitor. Likewise, if there any doubts about the validity of the will, or there are contentions among family members who may wish to make a claim on the will, trying to proceed with probate alone could prove very complicated.
At Bowsers, we handle matters of probate sensitively and with compassion. We know it's a difficult time, and we realise it's our job to lighten your burden and get the work done, while still consulting you on all important matters and keeping you in the loop along the way.
For an informal chat about our probate services and fees, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
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