Probate...DIY, Banks or Solicitors?

#1
Dear fellow Arrsers,
my mother died this morning peacefully in her sleep and I have been initially sorting out her stuff, such as letting the banks, pension people, HMG, council et al know.
As she did an equity release thing with her house everyone is saying it will automatically go to probate. No problem.
However, I have now had her two banks, her pension provider and the solicitors where she kept her will offering their services all for different rates and conditions and all saying they are the best and also coming out with scare stories saying if I do it myself it will be a lot of hassle and if I screw up HMRC will come after me with a big stick.
So my question is what expereince have you had with solicitors/banks/pension providers doing the probate and would you recommend them or is it better to do it DIY? For info, I am a joint executor with the other (a family friend who was put in in case of me KIA) 280 miles away.
Any help greatly appreciated.
 
#4
My condolences for your loss. I did the probate for both my mum and my dad when we lost them. They had been divorced for years so it was two different claims. My brother was a co executor. I didn't find it that difficult to be honest. I just filled the forms in and sent them off. We had to go into London to swear on oath etc and then when probate was granted, we just sorted it out. Nearly everything went to me and my brother so it wasn't that difficult. Just take your time over the form and fill it in correctly.
 
#5
If the estate totals below £325,000, there should not be any tax implication, so I would go for DIY. The tax office are a lot more helpful than they used to be.
Of course if you do it yourself, you can choose what you declare as far as contents go, (depending who else is listed in the will), don't take the piss but a few items missed won't hurt.
 
#7
Probate isn't a massive hassle but you are likely to be diverted with you mothers other affairs - including laying her to rest etc

I'd recommend getting the solicitor or back to manage probate if you can afford it - especially if another interested party has a take in equity release etc.

The solicitor can understand the validity of the equity claim and advise you on your contract obligations

Very sorry to hear about your mum but can I advise that you ask for multiple copies of her death certificate from the coroner now. These are very easy to get now and more costly to get later.

About 10 aught to cover it - meaning that a bona fide 'original copy' can be sent to banks etc

It's a royal pain in the ass when you only have one
 
#8
just hand it over to a solicitor, its not too expenive and it shall save a lot of fighting with others

good luck
In my experience, Solicitors can be very expensive and very slow. Most of it you can DIY very quickly and usually its quite easy.
 
#9
Probate isn't a massive hassle but you are likely to be diverted with you mothers other affairs - including laying her to rest etc

I'd recommend getting the solicitor or back to manage probate if you can afford it - especially if another interested party has a take in equity release etc.

The solicitor can understand the validity of the equity claim and advise you on your contract obligations

Very sorry to hear about your mum but can I advise that you ask for multiple copies of her death certificate from the coroner now. These are very easy to get now and more costly to get later.

About 10 aught to cover it - meaning that a bona fide 'original copy' can be sent to banks etc

It's a royal pain in the ass when you only have one
You are mistaken to say about getting copies of the death cert from the coroner. It is the registrar of births marriages and deaths one get the death certificate from.
 
#13
My condolences for your loss. I did the probate for both my mum and my dad when we lost them. They had been divorced for years so it was two different claims. My brother was a co executor. I didn't find it that difficult to be honest. I just filled the forms in and sent them off. We had to go into London to swear on oath etc and then when probate was granted, we just sorted it out. Nearly everything went to me and my brother so it wasn't that difficult. Just take your time over the form and fill it in correctly.
Sound advice.
 
#15
I'm sorry for your loss. I've recently had the same unhappy experience. We used a Solicitor for Probate - at least once it is all over no one can come out from under a stone with a claim on the estate. The advice about getting half a dozen, (depending on bank accounts etc) copies of the death certificate is particularly sound. Another thing is that the funeral costs could be directed at the Solicitor for payment so that the bill is covered by the estate - which might be one less hassle for you and your family to worry about.
 
#16
Normally , although any cash in the bank is frozen as soon as they are notified of the death. One important point to remember is that the bank are able to pay the Funeral expenses straight out of the deceased persons cash at the bank.
 
#18
Depends on how complex the will is and how on side the beneficiaries are. I am currently acting as executor for dearly departed MIL's estate. Have done everything DIY and, thus far, have not encountered any difficulties. The probate office in cardiff were excellent and I found that MIL's former bank, Barclays, swung into action providing a financial advisor as did the Solicotor that she used off and on for many years both even though the estate is miniscule (sniff). Good luck and do not hesitate to ask for more support.
 
#19
Ditto my experience with Lloyds. An independant financial adviser was appointed by them to liase with me as a (power of) Attorney

The process seemed to compare favourably with my experience of being an executor of my mothers will
 
#20
I am sorry to hear your news.

Solicitors are not all bad but will use up some cash. All costs should be clearly explained at the start if you wish to go for this option.

It is not an horrendously difficult process if the will is reasonably straightforward and there are no arguments about it. If there are arguments then seek legal advice straightaway is my advice.

The CAB can help but I would recommend you get to know the local probate office well. They are a fountain of useful information.

It is not a race either so get it done but take a little time.

Best wishes.
 

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