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  • FIRST POST
    • Nile
    • By Nile 3rd Sep 12, 8:40 PM
    • 14,445Posts
    • 14,416Thanks
    Nile
    Probate
    • #1
    • 3rd Sep 12, 8:40 PM
    Probate 3rd Sep 12 at 8:40 PM
    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 them..............to 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 days............so 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.

    Regards

    Nile
Page 1
    • Hermia
    • By Hermia 6th Sep 12, 7:51 PM
    • 4,283 Posts
    • 12,504 Thanks
    Hermia
    • #2
    • 6th Sep 12, 7:51 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Sep 12, 7:51 PM
    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.
    • LutonGirl
    • By LutonGirl 14th Sep 12, 4:20 PM
    • 443 Posts
    • 837 Thanks
    LutonGirl
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 12, 4:20 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 12, 4:20 PM
    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 Direct.gov 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.
    • unimaginative user name
    • By unimaginative user name 19th Sep 12, 1:44 PM
    • 447 Posts
    • 501 Thanks
    unimaginative user name
    • #4
    • 19th Sep 12, 1:44 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Sep 12, 1:44 PM
    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 dave
    • By diamond dave 13th Oct 12, 11:12 AM
    • 691 Posts
    • 391 Thanks
    diamond dave
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 12, 11:12 AM
    Probate
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 12, 11:12 AM
    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.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 13th Oct 12, 12:42 PM
    • 38,040 Posts
    • 23,604 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 12, 12:42 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 12, 12:42 PM
    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.
    Originally posted by Hermia
    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 Elkington
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 12, 5:16 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 12, 5:16 PM
    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.
    • daska
    • By daska 16th Oct 12, 5:34 PM
    • 6,011 Posts
    • 11,915 Thanks
    daska
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 12, 5:34 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 12, 5:34 PM
    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.
    Last edited by daska; 16-10-2012 at 5:37 PM.
    Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants - Michael Pollan
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    • ljhhuk
    • By ljhhuk 5th Nov 12, 10:47 PM
    • 46 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    ljhhuk
    • #9
    • 5th Nov 12, 10:47 PM
    DIY Probate
    • #9
    • 5th Nov 12, 10:47 PM
    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.
  • Mcthecat
    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
  • meece
    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.
    "If you see someone without a smile, give them yours."
    Miss Mona, The Best Little *****house in Texas
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 30th Nov 12, 6:29 PM
    • 38,040 Posts
    • 23,604 Thanks
    getmore4less
    We have just returned from the probate interview in London.
    ....................
    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.
    Originally posted by meece
    you can swear the oath at a solicitors which can be be much more convenient

    There is a fixed charge for this which will often be less than the travel costs.
    ( I think this is <10)
  • meece
    you can swear the oath at a solicitors which can be be much more convenient

    There is a fixed charge for this which will often be less than the travel costs.
    ( I think this is <10)
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    We weren't given that option?

    Thank you for the information. It seems this is the area (wills and probate) where people struggle to money save as it is too emotive? and confusing! I am glad this board was started.
    "If you see someone without a smile, give them yours."
    Miss Mona, The Best Little *****house in Texas
    • Trapdoor
    • By Trapdoor 30th Nov 12, 7:19 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 20 Thanks
    Trapdoor
    I did probate for my mum myself. Took the forms in myself to the Bristol Probate Registry last Monday (26 November), had the oath, copy will and checklist back to me by post on 29th November (!), contacted a local solicitor in the morning and had an appointment to swear the oath in the afternoon (cost 7) and returned the forms by Recorded Delivery same day, and they were delivered this morning.

    Was told when I took my forms in to the Probate Registry that they aim to get the sealed grants out within 10 days from receipt of the sworn oath, but judging by the speed the oath was returned to me, I anticipate middle of next week.

    Don't know whether the Bristol registry are quiet at the moment but 10 out of 10 for speed in returning the forms to me.

    And the Solicitor who held my mums will was heavily touting for business for us to use him to deal with the Probate returns etc as "it was a very complex procedure" evidently ... especially as we were claiming my dads nil rate band transfer ... Yeah, really complicated and well worth the 1200+ he wanted to charge ... I don't think.

    Unless the estate is very complex, lots of businesses/property I'd recommend having a bash doing the returns yourself. The on-line forms will even do some of the math for you when filling them in, and also check the answers given to direct you to the correct form if you fail to qualify say for the excepted estates claim....
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 30th Nov 12, 7:59 PM
    • 38,040 Posts
    • 23,604 Thanks
    getmore4less
    We weren't given that option?

    Thank you for the information. It seems this is the area (wills and probate) where people struggle to money save as it is too emotive? and confusing! I am glad this board was started.
    Originally posted by meece
    I don't think they volunteer the information but it is on the web site.

    http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/probate/applications

    (allthough this particular page is relatively new as part of the justic/courts site revamp I seem to remeber similar elswhere)
  • gottadance
    Hi, Just a quick question re probate. My father died this year without leaving a will and we've just completed the probate forms (he had very little money and no property). I'm unsure as to which probate office to attend, reading previous posts it seems London is the best option although obviously a local solicitors office would be much easier. As there is no will would this mean we would need to attend the probate office or does this have no bearing? Thank you
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 1st Dec 12, 7:25 PM
    • 38,040 Posts
    • 23,604 Thanks
    getmore4less
    Hi, Just a quick question re probate. My father died this year without leaving a will and we've just completed the probate forms (he had very little money and no property). I'm unsure as to which probate office to attend, reading previous posts it seems London is the best option although obviously a local solicitors office would be much easier. As there is no will would this mean we would need to attend the probate office or does this have no bearing? Thank you
    Originally posted by gottadance
    Local solicitor is still possible and you save 2 with no will.

    Are you sure you need to do his have ypu checked that all those holding the assets won't release them with an indemnity, many will id the amounts are small.
    • Goldiegirl
    • By Goldiegirl 3rd Dec 12, 3:33 PM
    • 8,511 Posts
    • 50,196 Thanks
    Goldiegirl
    I did probate for my mum's will and found it all straightforward.

    The goverment website has all the forms and instructions to download. My mum wasn't a property owner so I felt there was no need to involve a solicitor, when I knew I could do it myself.

    I sent everything to my local Probate Office in Maidstone, and went there for the swearing of the oath.
  • fidododo
    I did probate myself and found it straight forward ,and i hate paper work! It only took 4 weeks from filling the forms in till recieving the actual grant.A couple of things that i have'nt seen mentioned in other postings which are very important before paying out the estate.
    1 - A letter from HMRC was sent to the care home and addressed to the personal representative of mum this was 8 weeks after mum died this was about claiming tax back if you wanted/could.
    2 - A letter from DWP this was sent AFTER probate was granted as the probate registary notify DWP who is dealing with the estate. IF the deceased was in reciept of an income related benefit ( in this case pension credit ,even though they have copies of mums very recent bank details HUH!)then DWP have to check that the right amount of benefit has been paid.The form contains a list where you have to put down the assets of the estate. Once they have the form they will check that the deceased has been getting the correct amount of benefit and not been overpaid in which case DWP will want the money repaying from the estate.How long DWP will take to do the check IS NOT clear from the letter.
    Last edited by fidododo; 10-12-2012 at 9:36 PM. Reason: puntuation
  • alisonm7772
    hi everyone,
    This is my first time posting,My father recently passed away i have applied for probate myself,opened an executors' account,and have a date for probate,my father's case is straight forward there was no property,shares or stocks only monies,His insurance policy has already been paid into the executors account which i have paid for part of the funeral out of,there is a small amount left in the account,i am being pressurised by family members to give this money to another family member,I know its a bit of a long winded question but here we go,Can i release this money before probate??
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