Questions About Solicitors and Probate

Mods,

Apologies if this is in the wrong place but feel free to move if appropriate.

My wifes Gran sadly died in February and only 3 months later in May (as is often the way) her gramps sadly passed away as well.

Their estate was certainly not large, a 2 bed house worth between £160-£170k and approximately £80k worth of savings split between premium bonds and a simple Santander savings account. The beneficiaries of the will were their daughter (my mum in law) and my wife and 2 sisters (only grandchildren). A small provision was also made for my son (8 years old) of approximately £2k. We have paid Co-op £10k to essentially execute the will and be responsible for everything legal so that it is all done correctly as the grandparents also had a son who was not included in the will as he was essentially 'estranged' and as far as i know lives in London.

My question is 2 fold.

1) With probate, do solicitors essentially act like they do when moving home i.e drag their heels unless chased regularly?
2) Probate seems to be taking a long time. The beneficiaries have sigend all docs, submitted id, personal details etc. I appreciate that having a minor in the will and also the estranged son may mean extra work, however my wifes Grandparents were fully compus mentus to the end and their wills were long standing and followed correct procedures. My wifes gramps was awfully studious when it came to money and setting his affairs straight!

Any thoughts/comments would be appreciated.

Replies

  • PennywisePennywise Forumite
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    054123 wrote: »
    With probate, do solicitors essentially act like they do when moving home i.e drag their heels unless chased regularly?

    Yep, it seems to be the only way that they know how to work. I've had several different solicitors over the years for different things, and they've all been as bad as each other.

    Luckily, I am partly legally trained, so I know what to look for, but I really shudder to think about the average "joe public" who assumes their solicitor knows what they're doing and just signs what is put in front of them!

    I think the main problem is that they always seem to pass the work down the chain as far as possible to the trainees or clerical staff and then don't bother to check what they've done.

    You have to chase them regularly and check everything that they do.
  • firefox1956firefox1956 Forumite
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    Chase up regularly or else you will just go to the bottom of their pile.
    And don't be afraid to do it.....you are employing them to do a job for you.
  • *~Zephyr~**~Zephyr~* Forumite
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    Pennywise wrote: »
    I think the main problem is that they always seem to pass the work down the chain as far as possible to the trainees or clerical staff and then don't bother to check what they've done.

    Having previously house-shared with a girl who worked in a solicitors firm, I can confirm that this is indeed the case. Often, the trainees know little more than the average Joe on the street, which is why mistakes are often made.

    It's for this reason that we dealt with probate for my in-laws ourselves. For what they do, they charge a ridiculous fee. And it's a pretty straightforward process once you've got your head around it.

    So, in answer to your question OP, yes, they take their sweet time over things, yes you need to badger them to get it done quickly, yes you should check everything carefully, because chances are they will make a mistake somewhere.
  • imhoimho Forumite
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    My brother done our family probate.Any problems just call the probate office as they are really helpful.
    Where there was grandchildren left out of our family Will the grandchildren just split the cash they got with the children that wasnt included.
  • Just an update.

    one of the executors finally rang the coop at the end of October only to be told by a solicitor that he had another large case and hadn't actually done anything yet! We were very unhappy and threatened to withdraw from their services. Surprise surprise, notification of the death was in the london gazette the following week, probate should be cleared and funds dispersed to the beneficiaries on or after Jan 9th.

    If we wouldn't have chased, god knows what would have happened.
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