NileNile Forumite, Board Guide
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Did you know that you can do probate yourself, you don't need to see a solicitor?

That could be a moneysaving option for you.;)

My OH and his brother did the probate for their father's will. From memory, here is the process:

Download the probate forms from the web, complete them and post them with the relevant documents (the deceased's will and death certificate).

Ask for an appointment at the nearest probate office to your location.

As my OH and his brother were executors of their father's will, at the probate office they were given a form to read prior to swearing the oath.

The probate officer checked the id (passport & driving licence etc) for my OH and his brother, then the probate officer went through the form with see if anything had changed since it was submitted.

The probate officer asked "is this your father's last will?" which they confirmed it was.

Then they signed the probate form and swear the oath on the bible. Then my OH, his brother and the probate officer signed the declaration.

Then they all signed the will and it was sent off to the register office or wherever they go for the national records.

The signed probate form goes off for verification to Newcastle and around 21 days later, a probate certificate is posted to the family and you can request extra copies.

I recommend that you do ask for extra copies. They are all legal documents which will authorise the release of funds from bank accounts etc.

They were told that apparently 5% of probate claims are investigated by HMRC within 30 if you are contacted, HMRC will be checking the value of the deceased's estate and that all is correct..........and the family is not hiding millions from the tax man. Not likely for our family.;)

The above process was plain sailing. There is a small charge for the probate form and for the copies of the probate certificate(s).......but you would pay these if you saw a solicitor too.

This happened a while ago............but someone will post a correction or update if required.


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  • HermiaHermia Forumite
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    My mother died recently and I did the probate and I agree that it's no big deal. I think it took me 2-3 days to do the forms (do the research and fill them in). I got an appointment within a month and the probate interview took less than five minutes. I was shocked how short it was, especially as there was property/pensions/life insurance involved. A friend was telling me she paid a solicitor £2700 recently to do the probate on an estate no more complicated than my mother's.
  • Ditto Nile and Hermia.

    I put off doing the form partly out of grief and partly out of not knowing what the heck to do. The website scared the bejasus outta me but when I got down to do it, it was quite straightforward. I sent it off thinking I may get it returned with questions, but I didn't.

    I now have a date to go a probate office to swear the oath, however, I requested the Luton office and got given an appointment in London.

    I called the number on the paperwork, got through to a real person straightaway who explained that some of the local offices don't have enough business for them to be opened, that's why I've been given London. It's a bit of a palaver to go there, but that's what I'll do.

    I was very impressed that I got straight through to a real person on the two occasions I've called them. They were very friendly and helpful, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

    It cost £105 for the grant of probate plus £1 per copy. On advice from others who've been through this, I've requested 2 copies, so a total of £107.
  • My mother and I did all the probate stuff when my Dad died. It's not always best to go to your nearest probate office as if it's small it may have very limited availability for appointments eg once a month instes of several days a week.
  • diamond_davediamond_dave Forumite
    750 Posts
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    I have just completed probate for a family friend and it was pretty straightforward. I didn't even attend an interview with the Probate Office -I went to a local solicitor and swore an afidavit instead. Cost £5 cheaper than driving to the local office.
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    Hermia wrote: »
    My mother died recently and I did the probate and I agree that it's no big deal. I think it took me 2-3 days to do the forms (do the research and fill them in). I got an appointment within a month and the probate interview took less than five minutes. I was shocked how short it was, especially as there was property/pensions/life insurance involved. A friend was telling me she paid a solicitor £2700 recently to do the probate on an estate no more complicated than my mother's.

    All the probate office does is check you are who you say you are and you have the right to administer the estate.

    Once they are also happy that HMRC are happy or you declare an excepted estate with a IHT205 they will issue the grant.

    HMRC checks the tax often with a quick glance through what you declare on the forms and the response to the r27. they sometime take a closer look, more likley if there is IHT to pay, if no where near there is little point, they may question a property valuation.

    NO ONE has a job to check you then do it properly.

    Remember if you do get it wrong and someone(eg benifitiary) finds any mistakes you are personaly liable to correct them.
  • Daniel_ElkingtonDaniel_Elkington Forumite
    243 Posts
    When you pay a registered and licensed professional to provide a service for you, you are paying for their expertise and the professional indemnity they provide.

    If you get it wrong and the beneficiaries sue, then they are suing you. If you take advice then they are suing the solicitor.

    Again, high risk, high reward - paying a professional is a low risk approach.

    I don't care either way and kudos and congratulations if you managed to handle it yourself. Just be aware that whilst it does save money short term it may not long-term.
  • edited 16 October 2012 at 4:37PM
    daskadaska Forumite
    6.2K Posts
    edited 16 October 2012 at 4:37PM
    Yes, you 'need' to take legal advice concerning any complicated areas in sorting out an estate, but there's seldom a comparable 'need' to pay that solicitor to fill in simple forms or open a bank a/c or add up invoices and staple them together...

    And it's not uncommon when people ask for help with Wills etc (on MSE) for them to be told that they need to get professional help, not least for the protection it affords.
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  • I have just done the probate for my mum's estate. She passed away in July. I downloaded all the forms and the bank sent me lots of missing bank statements free of charge. You have to declare any gifts over the last 7 years and for me this was one of the worst bits but didn't take too long. I live in Scotland and my mum lived in England. To swear the oath, I just went to a local solicitor and paid a tenner to swear and for him to put his seal on the will and the other forms which I then posted to Newcastle. A few weeks later I had probate and the bank released her money and am now about to put her house on the market. It was a simple process and I dread to think what a solicitor would have charged me. I had to continue paying her fuel bills, house insurance and boiler insurance by having the bills put in my name. The last thing I need is the expense of a burst water pipe or a break-in. I would recommend DIY probate to anyone, there is a free helpline which was a huge help to me.
    I see the next bit - dealing with all of her belongings - as a much more difficult task. The only chance that you would be sued as a result of doing probate yourself is if you are dishonest in some way! Keep a record of everything you spend, including receipts and give a copy to the other benificiaries.
    Better a pebble given out of love than a diamond given out of duty.
  • Od I wish we'd done hat. Got a solicitor involved 1000£ lighter and 10 weeks later still nothing. And the killer is I live in Newcastle. Damm
  • meecemeece Forumite
    273 Posts
    We have just returned from the probate interview in London. My father died in September, so it was quick but a simple estate. We wanted Luton, but were told unless 30 people require probate they will not send someone to a local office. We were in the office for 3 minutes. We asked how they return the probate- 2nd class post!!
    When my father died my mum was asked by the DWP if she would like someone to come and talk to her about probate, she said yes. He turned up within a week of my fathers death, and was from a solicitors. He quoted just under £3000. He was also quick to point out what could go wrong and left my mum quite worried.

    We have done probate for the fee and around £50 travel to London.

    I agree if the estate is not simple, (one beneficiary ) it may be better to involve a solicitor, but for us it would have been a waste.
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