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probate for an insolvent estate

(6 Posts)
partridgeinpeartree Wed 12-Dec-12 21:07:20

Has anyone got experience of trying to sort out probate for an estate where there are only debts? My dbrother died last week, intestate and insolvent we believe. I have rung round the debt collectors and know to send them copies of the death certificate in the short term but (bearing in mind the rest of the family are teetering financially with redundancies/hours cut etc) need to find out how to become official executors (because there is no will) to be able to check bank accounts/sell the few bits that he had left and see if we can put that towards the funeral. Unless he has a secret savings account (unlikely) there will be nothing towards his debts after funeral expenses (we will have to pay some of those).
Any advice? - all the websites I find say to go to a solicitor and get them to do it but that will be another expense.

partridgeinpeartree Thu 13-Dec-12 20:15:33


Rangirl Thu 13-Dec-12 21:58:04

I am in Scotland so it might be different but you might not need anyone to be appointed as executor If you know what bank he was with and take in the death certificate they will probably tell you what funds he has Most banks etcwill release funds up to a certain amount without Probate (confirmation in Scotland) Any money he has should go to paying debts and when that's gone the remainder of the debts die with him The funeral a/c might be a bit tricky If the person who arranged it is in receipt of benefits there might be state help available Check with Social security office Hope this helps Feel free to ask anything else

RugBugsWearingLittleSantaHats Thu 13-Dec-12 22:07:15

There is a fairly simple form you can fill out and take to a county court

The tax form is a little trickier but the whole process is easily done without a solicitor.

florencedombey Thu 13-Dec-12 22:18:44

I'm a probate solicitor and I would think very carefully before applying for probate of an insolvent estate. Once you are take out the grant then you are "on the hook" and it is down to you to ensure that the assets are dealt with correctly. There is a strict order of payment for insolvent estates and if you don't get it right, then you could be personally liable to the creditors. I have seen people get into terrible muddles with insolvent estates.

If money for the funeral is an issue, do as Rangirl says and ask the bank to release a cheque direct to the undertakers. The law says that the funeral expenses are the first thing to be paid out of any estate so the banks know that they won't be criticised for doing this.

Hope this helps and sorry for your loss.

partridgeinpeartree Sat 15-Dec-12 21:57:48

Thank you all.
The bank have agreed to release information about his accounts to us without a grant of representation at the moment. From statements we can see that he was overdrawn and had maxed his credit cards, both bank and cards had instructed debt collectors and he had baliff letters for other debts - there will be nothing for the bank to release towards funeral payments. We are making a list of the few bits he had left - which may raise a couple of hundred. I am hoping we just have to document the value of anything he owned and list it and show that it is less than the funeral cost. There won't be anything to share to any of the creditors - because there is nothing.
There is no alternative to me doing the probate really, the other relative is elderly and devastated and would not be up to the task even if she weren't recently bereaved, and someone has to do it - no money in the estate to pay solicitor.
I can see issues if there was money to share between creditors but since there is nothing surely they can't argue?

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