If you have lost a loved one, you may be faced with the choice of dealing with probate yourself, appointing a solicitor to deal with probate on your behalf, or using a fixed fee probate service.
It may be the first time you have found yourself in a position where you need to deal with probate, and the prospect of doing so can be daunting at a time when you are grieving. This guide should help you to decide whether to deal with probate yourself, or appoint a fixed fee probate service.
Has The Deceased Left Assets of Less Than £5000?
If your loved one has left assets of less than £5000, after funeral expenses you will not need to apply for probate at all. You will just need to provide your bank with proof that your loved one has died to access their accounts. Some banks have raised this limit to £10,000, so do check with the deceased’s bank.
Are Your Loved Ones Assets Held in Joint Accounts?
If all of your loved ones financial assets are held in joint accounts with you, you won’t need to apply for probate. Again, you will just need to provide proof that your loved one has died, to the financial institutions involved and they will transfer the joint accounts into your name.
Are Children Under the Age of 18 Involved?
If children under the age of 18 are entitled to some of the deceased’s assets, it is wise to seek legal advice or contact a specialist fixed fee probate service to deal with the estate on your behalf.
Are the Deceased’s Financial Affairs Complicated?
If the deceased’s financial affairs are not straightforward, it may be better to use a fixed fee probate service to deal with the estate on your behalf.
Do You Feel Comfortable Calculating Taxes?
Part of your loved ones estate may be liable for inheritance tax. This will involve dealing with HMRC and calculating any taxes owing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this and you are worried that you might get it wrong, it is better to get a specialist company to deal with probate on your behalf.
Is The Will Likely to Be Contested?
If relatives of the deceased are likely to contest the will, it may be less stressful for you to appoint a specialist probate service to deal with the estate on your behalf. Even if the will is unlikely to be contested, those who are entitled to benefit from it may not understand how lengthy the process is, and they could put pressure on you if you are dealing with probate yourself. If you use a specialist fixed fee probate service, you will not have to deal with the additional stress this may cause you.