A Google search with the keywords 'Probate Advice' will return links to many millions of pages that have been set up by banks, solicitors and probate practitioners. To help you wade through this plethora of information and uncover the most reliable sources, here are a few quick tips.
Have a clear agenda
If you have been tasked with being an executor, or have a relative that has passed away, make a list of all of the information that you require. It helps to start by writing a list of questions, how long will it take? How much will it cost? What’s included in solicitors fees? What are my legal duties?
Find an A-Z of legal terms
You will come across many terms you’ve never heard of, this can be very daunting for a lay person. So, before you start, it helps to find a reliable glossary for quick reference. Use our probate glossary
Use official sources for guidance
There are a number of agencies whose job it is to provide advice as part of a public service. Use official government websites as a start point and you’ll find impartial advice on how to manage all aspects of the process. This link is a great starting point for getting to grips with the basics:
Be sure of credibility
Some of the best resources are in fact probate practitioner websites. Before you start to read or make notes, make sure they are qualified so you can trust in the credibility of the information. Check they are members of the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners. While you may trust a local firm of solicitors; don’t forget that they may not have the specialist knowledge that an independent practitioner has.
Never pay for advice
There are many services which will ask for money up-front, even before any advice has been given. There is no need to pay for information. We operate a free probate advice line – call 0800 612 6105. Lines are open until 10pm, 7 days a week.
If you have been named as the executor in a will you have the responsibility for dealing with the assets of the deceased. It is also your duty to distribute the proceeds of the estate according to the wishes of the will. If, like many lay administrators, you have little experience in dealing with these types of matters, the administrative requirement may appear somewhat overwhelming. probate advice.
For most people the initial advice in dealing with probate is to appoint a solicitor to handle matters. There are many solicitors that are experienced with this type of work. They can offer an inclusive service dealing with aspects from obtaining the Grant of Probate to the payments of taxes and liabilities. Some executors may be advised to consider handling the administration themselves. This advice is usually given if the estate is small and relatively simple in terms of the assets and beneficiaries.
Whichever solution you opt for the first step is to seek out some good probate advice. There are a wide variety of locations online where you can obtain advice and guidance. As with any advice, when it comes to matters involving property or money, any recommendations are best observed with a degree of caution.
There are some websites that have been designed to offer completely impartial advice with regard to matters of probate:
Government direct.gov.uk has an informative death and bereavement section with full advice on what to do when someone dies.
The National Probate Advice Centre offers some clear guidance in sections dedicated to property clearance, solicitors, accountants, estate agents and more.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has a section dedicated to probate advice which offers helpful information on debts, tax and benefits, jointly-owned property, inheritance tax and more.
For indepentdent advice, you can also our free helpline on 0800 612 6105.