Is Fixed Fee Probate The Right Choice For You?
If you have been unfortunate enough to lose a loved one, you may want to be relieved of the burden of dealing with their estate. And that is understandable. Coping with a death in the family is never easy, without the added pressure of dealing with the deceased’s finances.
But if you have never been in this situation before, you may feel overwhelmed by the options available. Do you appoint a fixed fee probate service to deal with everything for you? Or do you pay a solicitor to do the work on your behalf, on an hourly or per item rate? Or would you be better off just dealing with the deceased’s estate yourself?
Your choice will depend on many things including your circumstances and your ability to cope with the additional stress, as well as the state of your loved one’s financial affairs.
In some circumstances, it can be easier to deal with probate yourself. If your loved one did not leave huge assets, or debts, and they didn’t have a lot of money owing to them, you may want to deal with the estate yourself. It could simply be a matter of applying for a grant of probate to gain access to your loved one’s bank account, then paying any bills they owe.
Using a Solicitor to Deal with Probate
If the deceased’s finances are not so straightforward and they have left quite a large amount of assets, you may want to get someone else to deal with probate on your behalf. Solicitors do offer these services, but if you feel up to dealing with financial institutions and taxes, you may still want to do it all yourself. And if you don’t, you can expect a solicitor or legal expert to do the following for you:
- Apply for probate on your behalf.
- Deal with financial institutions including banks, stockbrokers, and offshore funds.
- Pay debts owed by the deceased and collect money owing to the deceased.
- Deal with the sale of any assets such as properties and businesses.
- Calculate any inheritance tax owing and deal with HMRC.
- Distribute the proceeds of the estate.
The amount of work involved will depend on your loved ones estate, and if you appoint a solicitor to deal with everything on your behalf, you can expect to pay either by the hour, per each activity that needs to be done – for example writing a letter, making a phone call, or a percentage of the estate.
Using a Fixed Fee Probate Service
A fixed fee probate service can do everything that a solicitor does, from applying for probate, to distributing the estate. The main difference is, they will speak to you about the estate then agree to do everything for a fixed total fee. Many people opt for this service to avoid escalating legal costs, particularly if the deceased’s financial matters are complicated and it is not clear how long it will take to deal with the estate.