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Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by netsy22, Feb 15, 2018.
Has anyone tackled getting probate without a solicitor? Any advice welcomed.
Just a quick reply netsy as your title leapt out at me. When my father died 25 years ago, he had not made a will. The only beneficiaries of any estate were my mother and I and I didn't want to fork out thousands (as I had heard from others) for a solicitor. I did start with one, who quoted me a percentage of the estate. As this included a house, the fee would have been huge. I instead decided to go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau (do they still exist?) and had a chat with them. They gave me some forms to fill in, which had to be sent off to the nearest Probate Office. We were called to a meeting with one of their officials, had to swear an oath, and were granted 'Letters of Administration', which was the type of Probate issued if there was no Will. I think it only cost a few hundred pounds as opposed to the thousands the solicitor would have charged. Not sure if you can DIY probate these days, but if you can, you'll save a lot of money. I suspect that if there is a large family, a complicated set of beneficiaries, or any disagreements amongst beneficiaries, this may not work, but it was easy for us.
(Have edited original post as got some of my facts wrong - it was a long time ago!)
Google probate, official UK Gov site, with downloadable forms, help line numbers.
My brother has just applied for thus after mum died without a soliciter. It hasn't been too difficult so far, guess time will tell.
Yes I have done it twice....Once for FIL Years ago and last year for my dad. Both estates were straightforward but the probate application forms guidance notes and probate office were very helpful so unless the estate is complex or spread in different areas and needs to be searched...although even then it is possible to do yourself I would imagine eeexceept in the most complicated cases....I had no problems and probate came through around 5 weeks after applying
OH did fil’s which was quite a big estate without any real problems. A lot quicker and cheaper than using solicitors but not entirely stress free, though probably less stressful than dealing with solicitors.
I did my mums a few years ago its very easy IF you have all the financial information, and a will helps . The guidance on the forms is very good. I guess mine was a lot less than an hours work and i had never done one before god knows how the solicitors can charge as much as they do for so little work, they must be able to do it far quicker than my first attempt.
Yes, my father died intestate 20 years ago and I did it its very easy to do.
As I was an only child, my parents were divorced and my father's only sibling did not contest anything it was straightforward.
Would only suggest solicitor if you have siblings who may not be happy with you doing it or if the person owned property abroad.
OHs money was straightforward and I would not have needed probate, except that the 2 ISA firms wanted it. I did it myself and it was quite easy. Any queries were quickly answered by OPG, which helps!
If you have already been handling the finances through an LPA you probably know where all the money is, and how much - or at least know where to get the information from (banks, building society for instance)
Plod your way through the forms, and you will find they look worse than they are in reality - and you don’t have to rush as you have six months before IHT would be due without interest if it is payable.
Keep copies of letters you might send, and a log of phone calls so you can keep track of what you’ve done or what needs doing. The guidance notes are helpful, and the Probate office helpline is also surprisingly helpful!
Good luck - I’ve done it on a challenging estate and it all worked out fine
Yes, four years ago when my dad died, it's not difficult,you can download a form from gov site
There is a helpline if you need advice on filling it in, I made a couple of errors..ie my mum should have signed a letter saying I could fill it in, and had it witnessed as she was next of kin. But they just sent a letter saying I needed to do it, and it just delayed probate for a week or so u til they got the letter with mums permission for me to do the probate form ,I didn't have poa set up at time.
It cost around £100..probably more now,but a lot less than a solicitor..
You just need to know about savings and house value, all instructions are in notes and online
I did it and I didn’t start until I felt ready. I didn’t do it whilst I was grieving. If you work through it slowly it is very manageable.
I actually promised myself that I would go as far as I could with it and then contact a solicitor. In the end no solicitor was needed as I got through it.
I did it for dad 3 years ago. It’s easier than you think, but, read the questions out loud to make sense of them. Lots of if this then that, so read the if this & answer. The if that only applies if the first doesn’t. When you read it, you will understand what I mean
The solicitor wanted £850 plus VAT, so I had to try, print off the firms & scribble over them. Make sure you are in the .gov site. You only pay the court fee, no third party fees. The court fee wouId be payable whatever way you go
I handled my late sister's estate myself fairly recently. thankfully she only had a small house and 2 bank accounts so it was reasonably straightforward. There's a lot of useful information online about probate and the process for administering an estate, I used the Gov.uk website and one called Oratto which had some really excellent information on it as well as a helpline which i called a couple of times when I got a bit stuck.
Hope you get on ok, I can try and help where I can.
Unfortunately my aunt has named her solicitor as her executor. I tried to explain this was not necessarily a good idea but she remained sure it would make it easier for the family. Never mind - if it proves a problem it will be too late for it to upset her.
I've done it three times in recent years using probate website forms and advice. The people on the phone advice line are very helpful too. Certainly makes it easier if there's a will to follow.
I did the bulk of the work myself and then just got the solicitor to check over the figures and ensure all the relevant forms had been completed. They could have done everything (i.e. send off the death cert and probate to each financial institution to release the funds) but it would have cost a couple of thousand £ that way. Instead, it was a few hundred £.
I did it for peace of mind. I did not want to get an angry HMRC demand for payment later on because I'd missed something.
I have two siblings who, while they were not inclined to contest anything, were pretty passive throughout mum’s illness and quite happy for me to do all the work. As we were joint beneficiaries, any saving would have been equally shared between us. At the time, having organised everything about the funeral which was traumatic enough, I just decided that I didn’t feel inclined to do it myself. I know, seems petty now, but at the time I just didn’t want the hassle and don’t regret using a solicitor at all. So don’t feel you have too; it really was a relief and, as others have said, relieves you of worrying that anything has been missed. The solicitor made a couple of sensible suggestions I wouldn’t have thought of and also did the conveyancing for the sale of mum’s house so the combined cost was not in my view unreasonable.