Avoiding the Pitfalls of DIY Probate

10th February 2014

Losing a loved one is a very emotional and difficult time. It can be made worse if your loved one did not leave a Will. Even if your loved one did leave a Will, issues can arise with what the Will states and also how the Estate is administered.

Often, a document called a “Grant of Representation” will be required in order to collect in the assets of the estate, pay its liabilities, and to distribute the Estate in accordance with the Will (or Rules of Intestacy where no Will is left). 

A Grant of Representation is issued by the Probate Registry to the Executors of the Will or to the Administrator if there is no Will. In order for a Grant of Representation to be issued, the Executors or Administrator may decide to make a personal application to the Probate Registry. Once in receipt of the Grant of Representation, the Executors or Administrator then goes onto administer the Estate without any professional guidance. Like with home-made Wills and Wills prepared by inexperienced professionals (or writers), we as Solicitors are noticing an increasing trend in errors being made. For instance, assets are not being declared properly, the debts and liabilities of the Estate are not taken into account accurately, and the income tax affairs of the deceased are not being settled. Furthermore, the Estate is not being distributed to the correct beneficiaries. 

Whilst a personal application to the Probate Registry and administering the Estate personally is usually done to avoid legal costs in instructing a Solicitor, in the long term we are finding that this is actually leading to unnecessary legal costs arising due to having to correct and deal with issues that the Executor or Administrator should have dealt with when dealing with the Estate. 

Acting as an Executor or an Administrator is an onerous task and it is essential that the Estate is administered correctly to avoid repercussions.  Seeking advice and guidance from a specialist Solicitor from the beginning is important. 

BHP Law offer competitive fixed fees for obtaining the Grant of Representation and Estate Administration. We also provide fixed fees for the preparation of Wills and offer free storage facilities for Wills. You will receive advice from qualified and specialist professionals without it costing the earth. 

For more information regarding our Wills, Trusts and Probate services or advice please call your local BHP office on 0800 590019.