Probate and Probate Services
Once the only really interesting of income for the Legal Profession has started to change dramatically.
A while ago the only option you had was to use a solicitor or the DIY route, of course the local bank was interested but as relationships soured in this area less and less work is being picked up by them.
What is probate?
- On death of an individual someone has to deal with their estate (money and stuff).
- Debts have to be paid and debts due have to be collected.
Probate is the ‘state authority’ given to one or more persons to deal with these outstanding matters (officially they are called Executors or Trustee’s).
The Probate Office provides a document called a Grant of Representation which allows the executor to deal with the affairs of the deceased, collect and repay debts etc.
This document is required to show the correct person or persons have the Probate Service’s authority to administer an estate. That’s it.
Provided your will is valid then your Trustee’s can wind up your affairs at a rock bottom price.
If your Trustee’s (Executors) are solicitors or your bank then the world is little bit different, Rock Bottom does not spring to mind.
And my big concern is that married couples get a bit of a double whammy by the legal profession in relation to probate because they are able to charge for winding up your affairs even if you have a mirror will and joint assets. This means that the process of winding up your affairs is dead (excuse the pun) simple, yet full rate is still charged.
An average estate valued at £1700,000 could expect to find in the region of £7,000 (plus VAT) when with a little planning, and some phone calls, filling in few forms you could do it for less than £350. A saving of… look you do the maths. But I make it £8050 or so.
The real issue here is not that your solicitor will charge you for the work they have to do, but that the get it delivered on a plate, just by being appointed as Executors.
Now if they are not appointed it is possible to use a solicitor to wind up your affairs after death, but then it is the choice of those dealing with your probate. It’s just question of control. The term Good Will originally comes from the ‘number of good wills in storagage’ i.e the number they are appointed to act as Executors on.
You just to make sure that your final will does not appoint a third party who is able to charge for their services.
The business of probate is an administration job, a paper chase. It does not need a bright legal mind.
Further as the Probate Office forms part of the Court Service a public body they will provide all of the help you need.
Action – what you need to do now is check your most recent will and see if you have a mirror version (partner and spouse get all on first death) and then double check to see if you have appointed a solicitor as Executor. If you have a simple rewrite of your will is required in order to save thousands, and double up again on second death. Outrageous.
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