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  • FIRST POST
    • katihannah
    • By katihannah 8th Jul 17, 3:11 PM
    • 12Posts
    • 7Thanks
    katihannah
    DIY probate
    • #1
    • 8th Jul 17, 3:11 PM
    DIY probate 8th Jul 17 at 3:11 PM
    Hi all

    I'm very glad I found this forum as I'm sure it really will save me some money. I posted on someone else's thread, but was advised to start my own in order to keep things relevant to my situation.

    I am sole executor and beneficiary of my late husbands estate, and I'm somewhat alarmed to find I have to apply for probate despite him having a will (I thought the whole point of a will was to avoid this complication but apparently not).
    So yesterday a nice man came to see me who works for a probate company and did his best to convince me that applying for probate and administering the estate is something that I shouldn't worry my pretty little head about and that his company would do it all for me for around £6500. That seems rather a lot to pay for something that I'm sure I can do myself.
    My question to the forum is is it really such a complicated procedure? I like to think I'm quite an intelligent person, and from everything I've read about it, it really doesn't seem that difficult to me. Perhaps I'm missing something. But all the lists on the various websites that recommend when to use professional services, none if these apply to my husbands estate, it all seems fairly straightforward to me. The only reason I have to apply for probate in the first place is that he owned a property that was in his name only, not joint names, everything else was in joint names. Any advice from people with experience of applying for probate? Thanks
Page 2
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 8th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    • 6,931 Posts
    • 18,577 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    Three things come to mind:
    The probate company makes a healthy living by preying on the recently bereaved.

    No matter how deeply I was mired in grief, anyone insinuating I should hand over a wad & not worry my pretty little head about probate would trigger my urge to knee someone sharply in a tender area.

    You've the smarts to find the MSE forum from google alone? You can manage probate. Even with bereavement throwing you about like a cork in a thunderstorm. Noone here makes tuppence on a post, so you'll get all sorts of support and it'll just cost you time.

    In short, join the team of MSE DIY, post here as often as you need or want & be welcome!
    • Crabapple
    • By Crabapple 8th Jul 17, 10:07 PM
    • 1,510 Posts
    • 7,082 Thanks
    Crabapple
    This probate company presumably was recommended to the OP by Barclays, which makes me think of previous threads on this forum.

    That quote is nothing short of scandalous for a spouse exempt estate!
    Daughter born January 2012 Son born February 2014

    Slimming World ~ trying to get back on the wagon...
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 8th Jul 17, 10:51 PM
    • 29,484 Posts
    • 17,621 Thanks
    getmore4less
    It's Barclays who have insisted on the application for probate, yet the property mortgaged by them is the marital home which was held as joint tenants so automatically passes to me. We had no other accounts with them. It's all so complicated, yet I feel it shouldn't be.
    Originally posted by katihannah
    You won't need it for that house as long as the mortgage is also joint death cert should remove the spouse from both the legal title and the mortgage


    You will need it for the other one.
    • SevenOfNine
    • By SevenOfNine 9th Jul 17, 8:28 AM
    • 1,100 Posts
    • 1,038 Thanks
    SevenOfNine
    4 years ago Barclays would not release £27,000 without probate. They also offered to 'help' by sending one of their specialists to our home. Great, we picked his brains on what needed to be done (& how), then said thanks, but no thanks. No fee & some useful snippets of info I required guidance with & got answers through questioning him. DiY (twice) has been easy though stressful when you are the bereaved. My condolences.

    Why pay someone else to complete forms etc, when it's you who has to give them the information anyway. Both probate & tax form come with instructions for each section.

    This forum can be just as helpful, only problem is when there are conflicting responses!
    Last edited by SevenOfNine; 09-07-2017 at 8:32 AM.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 9th Jul 17, 8:50 AM
    • 29,484 Posts
    • 17,621 Thanks
    getmore4less
    4 years ago Barclays would not release £27,000 without probate. They also offered to 'help' by sending one of their specialists to our home. Great, we picked his brains on what needed to be done (& how), then said thanks, but no thanks. No fee & some useful snippets of info I required guidance with & got answers through questioning him. DiY (twice) has been easy though stressful when you are the bereaved. My condolences.

    Why pay someone else to complete forms etc, when it's you who has to give them the information anyway. Both probate & tax form come with instructions for each section.

    This forum can be just as helpful, only problem is when there are conflicting responses!
    Originally posted by SevenOfNine
    It is not smart to rely on a single source anyway, at best what you read here is guidance to help understand what you need to be thinking about or looking for.

    Along with other resources you can soon filter out wrong, misleading or just don't apply to your specific circumstances.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 9th Jul 17, 12:29 PM
    • 3,053 Posts
    • 5,820 Thanks
    jackyann
    Yes, it is fairly sraightforward. These are the things to remember:

    The Probate Office are your friends, they will guide & advise you when necessary
    There is no rush (you've said you still have the marital home, and I assume you have an income) you can work your way through steadily
    A lot of people find this a way of helping them through bereavement, as they settle affairs, and sort out how their life will be
    Having said that, keep your paperwork filed carefully - so that you can have an escape route (solicitor you already know, good friend or similar) to take over, should you suddenly find yourself overwhelmed

    Having done /helped with probate, my DH & I feel that this is the last thing one of us will do for the other, and unless very ill or incapacitated, expect each other to do it.

    I wish you all the best.
    • cannyshopper
    • By cannyshopper 9th Jul 17, 3:30 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 82 Thanks
    cannyshopper
    Just to add, I've also done probate myself, when my father died. I was the main (but not sole) beneficiary, and a joint executor. There was property involved, but his estate was below the IHT threshold.

    The solicitors who held his Will were extremely put out when I told them I was going to do it myself. I didn't see the point of paying them a large sum of money when *I* had to do the work of going through all his paperwork to locate bank accounts, insurance policies etc. I actually found this quite therapeutic.

    The other executor was more than happy for me to do all the work, and in fact all he did in the end was countersign a couple of forms.
    • katihannah
    • By katihannah 10th Jul 17, 3:53 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    katihannah
    If he owned a property then it does form part of the estate unless there is some unusual ownership issue. Please could you clarify why you think falls outside the estate.
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    I was referring to the marital home which was in both our names as joint tenancy. Apparently that isn't included in the estate, only the one that he owned himself. And the point I was making is that there is very little equity in that property so I don't want to hand it over to some probate firm for no reason!
    • katihannah
    • By katihannah 10th Jul 17, 3:55 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    katihannah
    You won't need it for that house as long as the mortgage is also joint death cert should remove the spouse from both the legal title and the mortgage


    You will need it for the other one.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    That's what I thought. It sounds as though it's fairly straightforward tho, so I think I will attempt it myself.
    • katihannah
    • By katihannah 10th Jul 17, 3:59 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    katihannah
    Three things come to mind:
    The probate company makes a healthy living by preying on the recently bereaved.

    No matter how deeply I was mired in grief, anyone insinuating I should hand over a wad & not worry my pretty little head about probate would trigger my urge to knee someone sharply in a tender area.

    You've the smarts to find the MSE forum from google alone? You can manage probate. Even with bereavement throwing you about like a cork in a thunderstorm. Noone here makes tuppence on a post, so you'll get all sorts of support and it'll just cost you time.

    In short, join the team of MSE DIY, post here as often as you need or want & be welcome!
    Originally posted by DigForVictory
    I'm inclined to agree. And yes I found this easily enough, the encouragement and support I've received so far tells me I'm in the right place. It really didn't look very difficult, and that was before said probate man came to see me, I think he was just trying to scare me so he could get his fee. It's shocking how these companies seem to think it's ok to take advantage of the newly bereaved.
    • katihannah
    • By katihannah 10th Jul 17, 4:03 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    katihannah
    Thank you all for your replies, I'm reassured that it really isn't as difficult as the nice probate man was hoping I'd believe, so I'm going to attempt to do my own application. I'll be in touch if I run into difficulties..
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 10th Jul 17, 4:33 PM
    • 2,800 Posts
    • 2,217 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    Good for you! Just take your time and don't be afraid to ask. Good luck.
    • Vaskor
    • By Vaskor 11th Jul 17, 4:58 AM
    • 11 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    Vaskor
    My brother and I went through the DIY route for our late mother. The estate had a number of complications which took us (me mostly) a great amount of time and effort to resolve, but I suspect this effort would have been multiplied immensely if we had to brief a solicitor unfamiliar with the exact details of our case. This also avoided the risk of a solicitor making mistakes with the complications, especially in a sensitive situation.
    • zagfles
    • By zagfles 11th Jul 17, 10:07 AM
    • 12,115 Posts
    • 10,059 Thanks
    zagfles
    My brother and I went through the DIY route for our late mother. The estate had a number of complications which took us (me mostly) a great amount of time and effort to resolve, but I suspect this effort would have been multiplied immensely if we had to brief a solicitor unfamiliar with the exact details of our case. This also avoided the risk of a solicitor making mistakes with the complications, especially in a sensitive situation.
    Originally posted by Vaskor
    Yes, and the other issue with a solicitor doing it is they'd have to do by the book - like a notice in the London Gazette for anyone who has a claim against the estate.

    If you knew the deceased well enough to know they had no debts you're not aware of, or the executor(s) are the beneficiaries and they'd end up paying anyway (through either a lower inheritance or a later claim) then you might not consider this necessary.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 11th Jul 17, 10:13 AM
    • 28,005 Posts
    • 71,196 Thanks
    Mojisola
    Yes, and the other issue with a solicitor doing it is they'd have to do by the book - like a notice in the London Gazette for anyone who has a claim against the estate.
    Originally posted by zagfles
    This would be the case if the solicitor became the executor.

    I employed a solicitor to do the work for me after Dad died because I wasn't well but I stayed as the executor. I had managed my parents' finances for years so I knew that there were no debts so I chose not to put a notice in the Gazette - it would have cost money and added several months to the process.

    The solicitor made a note that he had asked me and I had decided not to post the notice so his back was covered.
    • ERICS MUM
    • By ERICS MUM 11th Jul 17, 10:22 AM
    • 3,416 Posts
    • 6,353 Thanks
    ERICS MUM
    DIY probate is very straight forward. I have done it three times.
    Just take your time and work through the forms.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    I agree. I managed Mums estate last year - her flat, cash and insurance plus various debts owed and refunds required. I took my time and made sure I had all her docs and death certificate to hand. On the subject of death certificate - get a few certified copies as not all companies will accept photocopies.

    Unless the estate is complicated or likely to be challenged, I really think you could manage it yourself. Actually I'm shocked at how much that company want to charge you !

    Good luck. Take your time and if possible ask a family member or good friend to check that you have filled in the forms correctly and added up the figures correctly. Inheritance tax kicks in at quite a high level (can't remember what but it's over £200,00) so that might not be a concern for you.

    Sorry for your loss. Xx
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 11th Jul 17, 9:51 PM
    • 7,379 Posts
    • 7,763 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    Just check everything. The bank were supposed to repay benefits overpayment back to the DWP, but they didn't. Just as well I checked the closed account bank statement against my own records of what it should be -- then had to go through the paperwork from the IHT form to find out what was owed to whom.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Emsierose
    • By Emsierose 12th Jul 17, 5:23 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Emsierose
    Hi OP

    Just to clarify a few issues here.

    The house in his sole name will most definitely trigger Probate, for which the mortgage will be offset against the value.
    The house held jointly will still be required to be declared, with 50% of the price quoted.
    You are covered by spousal exemption and would not face any inheritance tax. Provided the estate does not pass £1 million total, you can fill in the short inheritance tax form (205) which is much simpler.
    When applying for Probate the whole estate value would need to be listed - even the parts for which Probate is not required - so 1/2 the marital home, property in his sole name, his sole bank accounts, 1/2 of any joint bank accounts, any car, etc in his sole name.
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