DIY Probate Vs Paying Expensive Solicitor Fees

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DIY Probate Vs Paying Expensive Solicitor Fees

In roughly 50% of cases, probate is required after a person dies. This process of dealing with their estate can easily become expensive. However, should you close accounts, sell property and land and distribute any relevant assets yourself, you won’t need to pay a solicitor to help you.

Is it worth the risk to opt for DIY probate?

Here are the key things you need to know to make this decision.

What Does Probate Property Involve?

The legal process of selling a probate property revolves around grants of representation, of which there are two main types.

If the person who has died has a will, you’ll need to fill out paperwork for a grant of probate.

If there is no will, you’ll apply for a grant of letters of administration.

In both cases, you gain the authority to deal with the deceased person’s estate as well as be required to handle any tax on inherited property and associated costs.

How Do I Know If I Need Probate?

As noted above, about half of all deaths lead to a need for probate. You likely don’t need to apply if there’s joint ownership of the deceased person’s land, property and accounts, or if their estate is valued at less than £10,000.

Can I Just Deal With The Probate Process Myself?

A DIY probate process looks appealing inexpensive, but it’s vital to know exactly what you’re signing up for. In particular, you’ll need to (1) apply for probate, and (2) administer the estate.

  • Applying For Probate: This involves submitting paperwork to the probate registry. Your application will also involve calculating any relevant inheritance tax. If there is none to pay, you’ll fill out an additional IHT205 form, and if there is inheritance tax you’ll complete the IHT400 form.
  • Estate Administration: This involves selling the deceased person’s property, taking care of any debts they had, closing their financial accounts, making relevant life insurance claims, and paying beneficiaries.

Is It Really Cheaper To Go With DIY Probate?

Probate solicitors often offer estimates that go well into the thousands. However, they’re often not just giving you a quote for probate - they’re estimating the cost for full administration of the estate. Here’s how the costs really break down.

  • DIY Probate: At least £215, which is the price of submitting the application for a grant of representation. You’re then left to take care of the estate’s administration.
  • Probate Service: At least £590, which buys you the services of a professional probate provider who will do the grant paperwork. The overall price goes up the more complex the estate.
  • Full Estate Administration: At least £1,500, for which the professional probate provider will not only apply for the grant but will also do all the estate administration.

So, How Do I Decide Whether To Pursue DIY Probate?

Ultimately, you’ll need to contrast the pros and cons associated with DIY probate, as well as taking the cost into account.

Pros: DIY probate is cheaper than using a professional There’s often some therapeutic value to the distraction provided by dealing with the state. You control all the decisions made about the estate.

Cons: The paperwork associated with probate and inheritance tax is lengthy and complex. Any mistake in the paperwork cause delays at the probate registry. It’s hard to communicate effectively with the probate registry, who can be hard to reach over the phone/email. A DIY probate takes longer.

Ultimately, your confidence in completing the grant paperwork and tax forms will likely make the decision.

If you don’t feel competent with the probate application, you may nevertheless feel comfortable doing the estate admin, in which case a simple probate service is likely best for you. Meanwhile, if you’re anxious about the paperwork and also feel overwhelmed with the estate administration, the cost of a full estate administration professional may well be worth it. 

Property Buyer Can Help Selling Probate Property

At Property Buyer, we can help you with the process of selling probate property, without extensive fees, or needing to pay a solicitor.

Our valuations are non-obligatory and our promise is we can make selling inherited property a stress-free process.

Learn more about selling inherited property and commonly asked questions about probate property by contacting Property Buyer.

Date: 16/08/20

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