DIY Probate

Hi,
My Dad is sadly at end of life care and has been given a prognosis of approximately a month.
My brother and I are executors and with the inevitable due to happen soon, we want to start preparing for what we have to do.
Dad owns a property worth £260k but has an equity release which is at £140k.
He has approximately £40k in savings and shares so I don’t think we will have to pay IHT.
My question is, with the equity release situation, is it still possible to do a DIY probate? I understand that it has to be paid off in 12 months so guess it’s another debt from Dad’s estate.
Also being joint executors, I’m concerned that my brother lives 2 hours away from me ( and doesn’t drive).
When Dad does pass I’m sure my brother will be around for a few days but what happens after that?
Will documents/ decisions need to be made together in person?
Any advice would be greatly received please.
Thank you 
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Comments

  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,209
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    There should be no reason you can’t DIY this and you should be able complete the process faster than using a solicitor. You won’t need to do an IHT return which simplifies things somewhat.

    You can either apply for probate jointly or you could do it alone with your sibling reserving their powers.
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,582
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    edited 27 January at 9:40PM
    I'm sorry for the position you find yourself in - you have my sympathy. 
    I found myself in a similar position a couple of years ago, except it was me and my father acting as executors for my terminally ill brother. 

     We didn't have the complication of equity release on the property, but there was a mortgage. I don't see why equity relase would prevent you doing probate yourself and it sounds as if it should be quite straight forward. 
    I found that most things can now be done online or over the phone - the only time I can recall we needed to be somewhere in person was when first putting the house on the market as the estate agent wanted  to check photo id. 
    I could even register the death over the phone as this was mid-pandemic, but registrars may have reverted to requiring face-to-face appointments now - I'm not sure. 

    The main think I would say is that if your father is well enough, try to make sure you get all the information you may need from him if you don't have it already - what bank and savings accounts he has, what pensions he has , does he have life insurance. who his house insurance and utilities are with, where he keeps his paperwork etc etc  (we had to turn the house upside down to find the V5 for the car in order to sell it). 

    And, if he is leaving everything to you and your brother, ask if there are any small personal items that he would like you to pass on to friends or relatives. 

    And most important of all - make the most of the little time you have left with your father while he is still alive. 
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,418
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    agree with the others - many of us managed DIY probate. The things mortgages and equity release can be sorted by the solicitor when the house is sold as they will need to ensure that they charges on the property are cleared, but the rest can be done by you - one of you can act with the other reserving powers, just keep in touch and run ideas and queries between each other. 
    Sometimes on here we see cases where one sibling gets so engrossed in the whole thing the other doesn't know what is happening and then begins to think that their sib is up to no good - so keep communicating, good to have the support and reassurance that you are doing the right things
  • woodyt
    woodyt Posts: 112
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    Many thanks for the swift comments.
    Thankfully Dad is pretty organised ( ex accountant) and has a folder for practically everything!
    It’s a very sad and emotional time as only lost my Mum 14 months ago 😞
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,298
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    Nothing further to add but offer my sympathy for the difficult situation in which you find yourself.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,418
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    woodyt said:
    Many thanks for the swift comments.
    Thankfully Dad is pretty organised ( ex accountant) and has a folder for practically everything!
    It’s a very sad and emotional time as only lost my Mum 14 months ago 😞
    you will definitely be fine then  -it will all be there in the folders for you

    v sad to lose both in such a relatively short period of time, just take your time to sort it all - there is no need to rush at it 
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,002
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    woodyt said:
    Many thanks for the swift comments.
    Thankfully Dad is pretty organised ( ex accountant) and has a folder for practically everything!
    It’s a very sad and emotional time as only lost my Mum 14 months ago 😞
    you will definitely be fine then  -it will all be there in the folders for you


    Are these paper folders, or computer folders? If the latter, hopefully you have all the necessary passwords...

    Executors rarely, if ever, need to be in the same place at the same time, so the fact you and your brother don't live close won't be any issue, at least from a practical standpoint.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • woodyt
    woodyt Posts: 112
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    Marcon said:
    woodyt said:
    Many thanks for the swift comments.
    Thankfully Dad is pretty organised ( ex accountant) and has a folder for practically everything!
    It’s a very sad and emotional time as only lost my Mum 14 months ago 😞
    you will definitely be fine then  -it will all be there in the folders for you


    Are these paper folders, or computer folders? If the latter, hopefully you have all the necessary passwords...

    Executors rarely, if ever, need to be in the same place at the same time, so the fact you and your brother don't live close won't be any issue, at least from a practical standpoint.
    They are paper folders.
    He did a lot online aswell but he’s left a log of all the passwords.
  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,239
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    woodyt said:

    Also being joint executors, I’m concerned that my brother lives 2 hours away from me ( and doesn’t drive).
    When Dad does pass I’m sure my brother will be around for a few days but what happens after that?
     
    Probate can be applied for with powers reserved. This means that you have authority to act alone without requiring your brother to do anything. Your brother though can step back in at anytime he wishes. 
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,818
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    The only thing I remember having to do with my co-executor in person was opening a joint bank account for the estate. We did that near the deceased, which was between us. After that, I dealt with branch near me when needed. Or more often, online.

    We also had a meeting with an accountant to discuss best steps at one point. That was near me, because I had the contact.

    We did what worked. I only worked 4 days pw so I may have done more daytime stuff. I did phone calls, because my ears were better. 

    As long as you're both open and agreeable, distance is not much of a barrier.


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