DIY Probate pitfalls and how to avoid them

Andrew Jack, one of our Probate and Wills Specialists offers some tips on avoiding DIY probate pitfalls.

The death of someone close is one of life’s most stressful events.  Dealing with the grief and arranging the funeral are only the start. Unfortunately like most of modern life a large amount of paperwork also needs to be dealt with.

If the person who died leaves a Will it will name “the executors”. Where there is no Will, the law sets out who can act as an administrator. A Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is always needed where the deceased has left more than £5,000 cash, any value of stocks or shares, a house or land and certain insurance policies.

It is important to be aware that the executors or administrators are personally liable. They are under a legal duty to administer the estate in a timely fashion and to ensure that the tax and financial affairs of the deceased are dealt with fully.  This personal liability extends to the debts of the deceased if they have not been properly identified and paid, and to responsibility for Inheritance Tax. Whether or not tax is due can depend on a variety of factors.

Dealing with the affairs of the deceased can take a long time depending upon whether the deceased’s financial affairs are in order, and can involve locating missing beneficiaries and dealing with legal disputes by family members or dependants. In our world of complicated modern finances and property ownership there are many pitfalls that can catch the unwary DIY probate applicants and which might render them personally liable to claims not only by authorities but also by creditors and disgruntled beneficiaries.

Can you afford the time to do it properly?

Andrew is a member of the Probate, Wills and Trust Team at AMD Solicitors. AMD offer advice on all Will and probate matters. Contact Andrew or a member of the team at AMD Solicitors by e-mail or by telephone on 0117 9898514.  AMD have offices at Clifton, Henleaze and Shirehampton.

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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