DIY Probate

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Chris S, 10 Sep 2018.

  1. Chris S

    Chris S Veteran

    I am the executor of a will of someody who is about to die. I had a bad experience with a solicitor when I sold my flat so I am seriously considering carrying out the probate myself.

    There is only one beneficiary of the will and the only assets are a house and some savings accounts. The only debtors will be utility companies. I know this because I have been managing their affairs for the past three years.

    There seems to be plenty of online advice about this, e.g:

    Does anybody have any experience of carrying out probate themselves ?
    Drago likes this.
  2. Phaeton

    Phaeton Guru

    Oop North (ish)
    From what you say it should be straight forward, I have no experience but when my mother dies my sister did it & it wasn't too bad, the probate office is based in Birmingham I think & she said they were very helpful. I would also recommend joining to ask any questions that you are unsure of they are very knowledgeable.
    Chris S and classic33 like this.
  3. Poacher

    Poacher Gravitationally challenged member

    Echoing what @Phaeton said, it should be straightforward.
    My advice, for what it's worth.
    After my mother's death, a copy of "What to do when someone dies" was a useful checklist - now it's probably online here. Use official guidance, not a commercial site.
    Keep written records of everything you do as executor.
    Decide how many copies of the death certificate you need, and add at least two.
    Set up a spreadsheet to keep track of assets, liabilities (including your expenditure on funeral costs, death certificates, probate and incidentals) and distribution details (should be simple in this case).
    Open a bank account in the name "Exors of <deceased name>" and use it for all transactions in relation to the will.
    Decide how many copies of grant of probate you need, and add at least two.
    Probate officials are, in my experience, sympathetic and very helpful.

    Go for it; it's not particularly difficult, and you'll save the estate a fortune by not involving a solicitor.

    My experience, long story you can afford to skip, but confirmation that the process doesn't need to involve professionals.
    My mother's will named me and my eldest brother as executors; he wanted nothing to do with it, but I decided to take it on myself. It was considerably more complex than your case, with 12 main beneficiaries, 7 of them living abroad, in Canada, Antigua and Singapore, and 11 pecuniary beneficiaries (i.e. to receive specified, but relatively small monetary amounts). Due to the length of time since her will was made, inflation had reduced the real value of the pecuniary amounts, so after discussion with my two surviving brothers I decided to uprate the amounts in line with inflation. The probate officer raised no objection, but I needed the agreement of those beneficiaries who would suffer detriment. I wrote to them detailing the small amount of detriment and seeking their written consent or refusal, and putting it bluntly that if they didn't consent I'd let a solicitor act as executor and they'd almost certainly end up with less. What a bully! Most consented quickly, but three nephews in Canada disn't respond one way or the other and I had to get other Canadian beneficiaries to put the hard word on them. In the meantime, one of the pecuniary beneficiaries, my mother's ex-neighbour, had died, so I was sorely vexed. They won't be named in my will. Anyway, it all worked out in the end, even though it could and should have been easier.
  4. subaqua

    subaqua What’s the point

    As Poacher says, its not overly difficult . My Dad was executor of my mums will but i did all the work as he has no IT skills. all the advice about copies is spot on.

    Hardest part was dealing with the DWP who want the originals I had to send to NS&I to get the actual value of mums "savings" as they couldnt tell my Dad or me until we got probate, so on advice from HMRC we guesstimated a value that was higher then expected but under the threshold that would have affected her benefits.
    Chris S likes this.
  5. OP
    Chris S

    Chris S Veteran

    While we're on the subject I've just had a look at the cost of funerals. £2,000 to take a body to a funeral home, put it in a coffin and then take it to a crematorium. Third party costs (presumably the crematorium cost) are extra. I might organize that myself as well.
    SpokeyDokey likes this.
  6. Saluki

    Saluki I've run away with my friends to..

    ...New Tealandia
    when father in law died, sis in law did the probate thing. Also, just a plain cremation no bells or whistles. About £1k
  7. PaulSB

    PaulSB Legendary Member

    I carried out probate for both my parents more than 30 years ago. No internet etc. but it was simple to find information from the Probate Office and library.

    If the will is simple you'll have no problems at. Just be sure to record absolutely everything in case you are unexpectedly challengrd.
    Paulus likes this.
  8. subaqua

    subaqua What’s the point


    Problem is now its "all online" which means there are paper versions of form but it is a mare trying to get them.

    I did it using the fillable Pdf form. or was that IHT ?
  9. MikeG

    MikeG Guru

    I've done this a couple of times. It is simple, but depending on how complex the affairs are of the deceased, can be time consuming. In addition to all of the above advice, I would add that the very first priority is in opening the Executor's bank account, and that is best done at the same bank used by the deceased. This account can be authorised, by the bank, to pay the funeral expenses, before the grant of probate (the point at which the executor gets to make financial decisions). Unless there are Trusts, disputatious multiple beneficiaries, or Inheritance Tax avoidance schemes (or other complex financial interests), I wouldn't hesitate to say do it yourself.
    Chris S likes this.
  10. Bromptonaut

    Bromptonaut Rohan Man

    Bugbrooke UK
    Mrs B was executor of her Mum's estate. Only asset was cash in bank and a simple split between her and her brother in equal shares. I did most of the legwork as being ex-court staff I've a reasonable grasp of legal stuff. Only problematic bit was when I lodged the papers at the Probate Office where the x-ray of my Brompton bag disclosed the small, one inch or so blade, penknife I used to keep in there. First of all I couldn't actually find it as it'd slipped down between segments. It was then confiscated!.

    I was able to successfully apply for its return but a bit of a PITA!!
  11. Paulus

    Paulus Started young, and still going.

    I have done the probate for my mum and my dad. As the wills were fairly simple the probate process was quite easy . The forms can be downloaded and they come with the notes on how to fill them in.
    The first time I had to go to the county court to make the affidavit, the second I swore the affidavit at a solicitor (£12) and sent the whole lot off to the London court. 10 days later I received the probate back.
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2018
  12. accountantpete

    accountantpete Legendary Member

    I have recently dealt with my father's death - you can now in some circumstances do it all online which I did. This saves visits to far away offices.

    You register, they send you a code to confirm, then you send in the death cert and Will plus the usual details plus the £200 odd fee. Usually in about two weeks they then process this (mine took longer because it was over Christmas) and send an email to "sign" - you just email back a statement from your PC. They will then send out a Sealed Grant Of Representation plus Office copies and that is it - job done.

    I used a £19 online will making form which for simple cases is perfectly OK .

    You will also need to update the Land Registry details - which may need Solicitors involvement to verify Identity unless it is transferred into the name of the Executor - then the LR accepts all the checks have already been done.
    Chris S likes this.
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