Can I do Probate Myself?
You do not have to use a solicitor or professional to get a grant of probate or administer the estate of someone who has died. However, the task can be complex and you could end up out of pocket if you get things wrong.
If a Will has been left, and you are the executor, you have to apply to the Probate Registry to get the grant of probate unless it’s a very small estate. Banks and other financial institutions will not release assets without that.
If the deceased person did not leave a Will then certain people can apply, again to the Probate Registry, for letters of administration, which would also allow you to deal with the banks and other asset holders.
The forms to get the grant of probate can be filled in by non-experts but it’s important to get the application right otherwise the Probate Registry can reject them, which could cause considerable delay.
You also need to investigate the tax position of the deceased and fill in forms for HMRC whether inheritance tax is due or not. It is important to get those right because failing to declare and pay the right tax can lead to quite heavy penalties.
There is a lot of paperwork and administration to undertake. For example, you will have to inform several organisations including pension providers, benefits payers, banks, utilities providers, local authority, that the deceased person has died.
You also have an obligation to pay any debts that are owed. There may also be claims that need to be made on life insurance policies or refunds sought if the deceased is owed anything themselves.
The assets of the estate have to be gathered together, which may mean selling assets or shares. Matters may be complicated further if there is a foreign property such as a holiday home because different rules may apply.
Eventually you will need to distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will, which can be quite a complex task to interpret a will to ensure that the right amounts go to the right people or organisations. If as an executor you get this wrong and pay the wrong amounts to the wrong people you can become personally liable yourself.
If there is no Will, very strict rules govern how an estate should be distributed and it’s vital to know and follow them – otherwise again you could be liable
Finally you will need to keep careful records of what you have done and estate accounts so that if any beneficiary did want to dispute something, you have solid records of all transactions.
So in summary, you can do probate yourself but it can be quite complex and risky if you get things wrong.
If you’re based near Middlesbrough or Teesside or in the areas of Stainsby, Normanby, Stainton and Billingham or anywhere in the surrounding area, we can assist with Probate or any other probate, power of attorney or trust guidance you may require please contact 01642 493101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please click here to learn more about Wills.