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Probate and swearing of oath- please explain

(13 Posts)
whataboutbob Thu 20-Apr-17 19:41:26

The solicitor who is handling probate on my father's estate is applying for a grant of representation.
Just got an email from her stating " I should have the papers with you next week for signing/swearing." I'm assuming she means swearing the oath to obtain grant of representation?
Some context: I was also named executor and asked her to stand down so I could do it myself, she took 2 months to decide then refused. I have told her I am concerned about the huge rise in probate fees which is due to come in in May, I reckon we'll have to pay £4000 (fee is currently £150) and I am hoping she can get the papers in before May 1st to avoid those fees.
If she is executor shouldn't she be signing the papers? Getting them to me then sending back to her will incur further delays.
Thanks to anyone who can clarify this.

bringonyourwreckingball Thu 20-Apr-17 19:44:18

I think If you are joint executors you both need to swear the oath. You will both need to attend the probate registry and swear/affirm.

whataboutbob Thu 20-Apr-17 19:54:16

OK, that is interesting. I assumed I was not executor because despite being named so in the will, I have been pushed aside (as I see it in my more emotive moments!) and the solicitor is doing all the work (albeit i have had to produce the copious information, documentation etc required) and of course will be billing us handsomely. She's based in a different town, 4 hour round trip away and I'd have to take 1/2 a day off work, but if that's the law....

kath6144 Thu 20-Apr-17 21:10:06

The executors are as named in the will. There is an option on the probate form (at least there was a year ago) for just one to apply, and the other(s) to be kept as back-ups effectively, but it sounds like she has listed you both.

Can I ask why you didnt just fill in the probate form yourself, even if she was listed as an executor? Since you are also one, there would have been nothing stopping you populating the form with the information, instead of passing the info to her? And she could have been listed as a 'back-up', thus you would have had control over sending the form off and signing before 1st May?

I can't understand people who name solicitors as executors, when there are close family who can do it. It is so straightforward, the hard bit is pulling all the info together, not filling in the form!!

Fortunately my DM named DB and I. We did both sign, even I though did all the leg work, as I didnt want him accusing me of doing it wrong in future. He has form for doing that.

We have named each other and both our DC when they reach 18.

kath6144 Fri 21-Apr-17 07:39:02

Op - BBC are announcing that planned fee increases are being scrapped - not enough time to get legislation through before GE. So looks like you will only pay at current level and the rush for May 1st has disappeared.

whataboutbob Fri 21-Apr-17 08:25:03

Thanks Kath- I woke up to that news too. It's put a spring in my step!
I agree re not putting a solicitor down as executor. When I write my will I'll put DH down, if he then wants to instruct a solicitor he can.
I'd only instruct a solicitor if I thought disputes between heirs were likely.

DavidBowieMime Fri 21-Apr-17 10:54:15

Just done the oath this morning myself, the whole process has been surprisingly straight forward actually but I guess it depends on size of estate and assets etc.

Good idea Kath re naming DC, I will be doing this too and put something somewhere with information to help them do it. No need for solicitor. Except where there is sibling issues perhaps...

CotswoldStrife Fri 21-Apr-17 10:58:09

As PP have stated, executors have to do this - you can sign away your rights if you wish but I've never heard of a solicitor (or a bank, for that matter) doing so when asked (which they are, frequently).

DH has done it numerous times, he's always one of the executors for his family grin Solicitors often charge a percentage of the estate for their services.

kath6144 Fri 21-Apr-17 12:58:11

David - we re-wrote our wills 2 yrs ago, wanting to get rid of my DB as an executor if we all died together. We decided to stick with just SIL, but added DC if 18, as DS was months off turning 18 and DD is now a year off.

Even though we sometimes are together in the car, or plane when we go on summer holiday this year, the chance of us all dying together will diminish as they become more and more independent, so it made sense to put them as executors.

DS would also be joint guardian for DD if we both died before she turns 18 next year. Means they could stay in the family home, continue with studies, rather than her getting shipped off to SIL to live.

whataboutbob Fri 21-Apr-17 14:35:08

DavidBowie- were you sole executor or was there also a solicitor involved? My question is do you as non solicitor executor, co listed with a solicitor on the will, have to swear an oath if a solicitor has taken on the role of administering the will, or is it enough for the solicitor to do it on their own?

DavidBowieMime Fri 21-Apr-17 16:24:28

sorry op am no help to you - myself and DH are executors and we both had to swear the will this am.

HOwever the Probate helpline is good - I have called a few times, never had to wait for long and got to talk to someone fairly quickly.

JanetBrown2015 Fri 21-Apr-17 17:10:52

My father's solicitor was a co-executor and let we children handle it instead ( I'm a solicitor anyway but not in this field). His solicitor agreed to step aside on request. I did not even have to press it. May be we were just lucky. My will names my children (all now adult) as joint executors. (2 are solicitors already anyway so they will have some idea about this stuff).

whataboutbob Fri 21-Apr-17 19:42:14

Thanks for your replies. The solicitor says via email "We are both executors so we both have to sign/swear papers".
One thing i will be doing is asking for an itemised bill at the end of all this. I was Power of Attorney for Dad's financial affairs for 5 years and would have been well able to do the probate application myself, but there you go.
Still pleased about the shelving of the probate fee increase. Swings and roundabouts!

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