Do I really need a solicitor for Probate?

As with DIY wills, some people see solicitors’ fees for probate as unnecessary expenditure. However, there are some real benefits in instructing a solicitor. Adopting the DIY approach to save money can turn out to be rather short-sighted. Leah Chenoweth from Penderlaw’s Wills, Trusts and Probate team outlines the key benefits of instructing a solicitor to deal with probate.

Do you want to be personally financially liable?
Unfortunately for executors who make an error in administering probate, ignorance is not considered a strong defence. A lack of experience and knowledge can result in costly mistakes for those trying to manage estates themselves. The process of probate can often be time-consuming and complicated, particularly with respect to tax liabilities, and executors can find themselves financially liable for any mistakes.

Can you get the tax right & avoid an expensive mistake?
Instructing a solicitor to deal with probate on your behalf means that they will also be able to handle any additional tax liabilities correctly, should additional assets be discovered during the process of probate such as pensions, life insurance policies etc. Handling this type of thing incorrectly can also result in an expensive mistake.

A grudge spend or a way to save yourself stress, worry and possibly even money?
Solicitors fees are sometimes described as a ‘grudge’ spend. In a similar way to insurance, some people regard them as just another cost, rather than seeing them as an investment which can actually save money (not to mention a great deal of stress and worry!) in the longer term.

Below are some important ways in which instructing a solicitor can add value and even save you money.

Key benefits of using a solicitor to handle probate include:

Protection from financial liability – should any problems arise with issues such as an insolvent estate, validity of the will or inheritance tax calculations, you are protected. Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and abide by strict codes of conduct. Solicitors also have professional insurance to protect you should anything go awry.
Expertise to deal with unforeseen issues – for example, the discovery of additional assets during the probate process can obviously be advantageous to the beneficiaries – but tax liabilities must be considered.
Advice – from tax advice, to dealing with family discord, to advising the surviving spouse regarding their own estate if probate is for the first of a couple to die
Peace of mind – knowing that the estate is being handled correctly and impartially can make relationships between beneficiaries easier.

What would it cost?
We are proud of our reputation as a straight-talking, friendly and efficient firm of solicitors. This approach naturally extends to our transparent pricing policy. You can find a full list of our prices here.

Our fees for obtaining probate are from £1,000. Fees for probate with administration of the estate are from £3,000.

We would provide an estimate for you following an initial discussion. It is also worth remembering that legal fees are payable from the estate, so are not required in advance.

For further information about probate and estate administration, click here.

Get in touch
If you would like to contact a member of our Wills, Trusts and Probate team, you can call us on 01872 241408 or email info@penderlaw.co.uk