Our expert local probate solicitors discuss the common question: Can I apply for Probate myself?
Posted on 16th July 2021
Our expert local probate solicitors discuss DIY Probate applications and what can go wrong with these? Read our blog to find out more.
When your loved one has died, there are many tasks that need to be considered. Some of the more box ticking exercises are things such as cancelling the deceased’s driving licence, subscriptions (for example, Netflix, Amazon Prime, a magazine subscription, etc) and cancelling the deceased’s Lasting Powers of Attorney/Enduring Power of Attorney (if applicable).
Whilst these tasks seem more minor, it is just as important to ensure that they are carried out. Other tasks, such as making an application for Probate, can be much more time consuming and, at times, confusing. There are many people who chose to take on the task of making an application for Probate themselves in a ‘DIY’ fashion i.e. you do it yourself. This can be to save the estate money, or because the applicant believes they are capable of making the application without assistance.
Whilst in some cases no problems arise, in others, issues can arise from the completion of the application for Probate by someone who is perhaps not fully aware of the implications of the questions being asked. The application forms can be confusing and difficult to complete, especially when you do not have experience in dealing with applications. Below, our expert team of local probate solicitors explain what probate is and what is
involved in the DIY approach to Probate applications.
What is Probate?
Probate can come in a few different forms, the most common two being Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration. The former is when the deceased made a Will appointing executors who have applied for Probate, and the latter is when the deceased died with no Will, and the person or people entitled to apply under the Rules of Intestacy have made an application to administer the deceased’s estate. These terms apply to estates in England and Wales.
When is Probate required?
When the deceased owned property in their sole name or as Tenants in Common, or if the deceased’s financial institution, for example, their bank, requests proof the executors/administrators (known collectively as the Personal Representatives) are entitled to deal with the deceased’s estate, Probate will be required.
Do you still have to administer an estate if Probate is not required?
Whilst not every estate requires Probate, there is still a need to administer most estates to an extent. For example, if a person’s estate is reasonably small, whilst you may not need to obtain Probate, it will still be important to ensure that you correctly close any bank accounts, pay any outstanding utilities at their property, pay their estate expenses, pay any liabilities and cover the costs of their funeral (the order that debts have to be paid is very specific, and you should seek legal advice from expert probate solicitors to find out what the order of expenses/debt payments is from an estate and what you need to do). Whatever balance is remaining after all assets have been dealt with and all liabilities/expenses are paid will need to be distributed between the entitled beneficiaries.
What is DIY Probate and what is involved?
The term DIY Probate can be used to refer to people who take on the massive responsibility for dealing with the application for Probate and the estate administration themselves. This role can include (but are, by no means, limited to); valuing the estate assets and liabilities, payment of inheritance tax, placing section 27 Notices, carrying out a Will search, closing all bank/savings/investment accounts, obtaining Probate, and distributing funds to the entitled beneficiaries. In some cases, such tasks could even involve dealing with a claim against the
Even if an estate seems straightforward on first consideration, it can be time-consuming and a difficult role to undertake.
Can an executor be held personally liable if a mistake is made?
As a Personal Representative, you are personally (both financially and legally) responsible for any errors made, regardless of whether they are genuine mistakes or not. It is important to consider, before taking on the role, whether you are happy to accept this throughout the process. There can be a large amount of legal paperwork, and you will be expected to provide accurate and reliable information when completing this. If a mistake is made, the Personal Representatives can be held jointly and severally liable, if more than one is named on the application for Probate.
If you are unsure of the process or feel that you just need some guidance, as the Personal Representative of the estate you are entitled to seek legal assistance, meaning that you can instruct expert local probate solicitors to undertake the role on your behalf.
Can MG Legal, Solicitors near me, help?
At MG Legal, our expert team can offer you a fixed fee initial consultation to discuss your matter, and are on hand to assist with making an application for Probate all the way through to finalising the administration of your loved one’s estate.
Our team provide confirmation of the fees payable at the very start of your matter, so that you know where you stand and what you will be charged for. Find out more about our fees, here.
How can I contact MG Legal?
You can contact our expert team of local solicitors online, here, or contact your local office directly.
Our team are available during office hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. For assistance outside of office hours, email email@example.com and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.
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