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Probate- DIY? Specialist Company? Or Solicitor?(14 Posts)
Has anyone got any words of wisdom?
MIL left everything to her son ( my DH) on the condition her husband (of 8 years) can stay in her house indefinitely.
She has cash assets in her sole and the house again in her sole name only. There is a small amount in their joint current account.
We are estimating the value of the house ( by comparing others on Right Move!). The estate will be under the inheritance tax threshold as she is leaving it the house to her son.
Looking at the forms for DIY Probate looked ok until we were asked to list value of furniture etc ( not worth anything, she had no car etc. On the whole it looks straight forward.
Never had to deal with a will before so any advice will be very welcome
You can probably do the probate yourselves but you will need advice on what to do about the house - maintenance / tenancy agreement etc
I did Probate for my Mum's estate, made a few errors along the way (as did the Probate Office), but got it sorted within 6 months of Mum's death.
For furniture cost, I was advised that as she had no particularly valuable pieces of furniture, there would be a cost in removing the furniture from the property.
You may need to take legal advice re. her husband's tenancy though.
Thanks for the replies. Did you have to send in much documentation? Bank statements etc?
I assume we will need to get a written estimate for the house value?
If you had a valuable antique collection or expensive art or a car( she doesn’t) it would be simple just too ignore it and not go over the inheritance tax threshold.
It seems a bit too simple to take 6 months or more therefore I must be missing something.
You should be able to get a book from the library or amazon - if there aren't many assets it will be straightforward and shouldn't take long
TBH I spoke to my brother, and said that I wanted to have a go at Probate, as to pay thousands for someone else to put in order the paperwork that I would have to find anyway, seemed ridiculous.
I started by preparing a list of assets (no property, but bank accounts etc.), and a list of everything she still needed to pay for. This included funeral costs, catering, re-fund overpaid pension etc. This information provided the basis for the whole application.
I wrote to all of the building societies/banks she had accounts with, and they provided the up to date figures - they needed a copy of the death certificate to do this.
There is guidance on the HMRC Probate bit of the website, but I did fill in the incorrect forms once (I think it is slightly confusing), but called the Probate Office and they talked me through it.
They made the error of calling my brother and I in to 'swear the Oath' before HMRC had approved the application, which caused a bit of a confusion, but we got over it, and didn't have to go in again.
Just one point, passing stuff to her son doesn't make the estate inheritance tax free - although it may be possible to take into account any unused allowance from her late husband's estate (if that applies).
It actually gave me something practical to do, which I think helped me come to terms with Mum's death.
I would strongly advise that you take legal advice on the house though, to make sure that your MIL's wishes are adhered to.
The Which? book of wills and probate used to be the go-to book. They always had it in the library. If you like Admin, it is ok.
We did MIL's ourselves - it was straightforward except for trusts for under 18s (HMRC were helpful). We had advice on the Will from the solicitor who drew it up and they did the conveyancing for us.
Thanks for the replies. I’ve taken a quick look at the rules. I think I can do it. I may take advice on leaving her husband in the house ( rent free!). I don’t think her furniture is worth anything but we’d have to leave it in the house for him even if was. But I can see if she had anything of value, like a Picasso on the wall it could easily be ignored for the avoidance of tax. Surely the system is open to abuse?
One thing this situation has done is made me think of our own tax planning/ will writing etc.
Op, I did mums last year, it is very straightforward (although you may need advise later about the house) but for probate you just need estimates of value. All mums furniture was sold cheap/taken to charity shop, I think I estimated a few hundred for it.
She had given my DB a house deposit a few years ago, then similar amount to me when that transaction leaked out, so we had to include those figures on probate from, with dates, but we were still under IHT limit.
You only send the form in, plus the will, no bank statements or anything, not even house price estimates (but you need to keep them anyway - we got 3 and took average of them, but all were close).
You select where to sign oath, can be a probate office or a solicitors. Since DB is an awkward bugger, I wanted both names on probate form (despite me doing majority of it) and I chose to join him in London for the oath. I live in NW and it was a short walk from Euston to the main Probate office, so I could do it in a day trip.
In terms of estimating the house value, it would be in your interests to get formal valuations, as I think your DH will be liable to CGT on it from when he inherits it, to when he sells, if it is a second property.
With accurate valuations, you will have something formal if you need to show the value at inheritance when calculating CGT.
Capital Gains Tax! Hadn’t thought of that. Another good point. Mumsnet rocks!
Is he actually a DH as opposed to a DP? If so, does he not automatically inherit? Marriage changes ownership, even if the house is registered in her name only.
Also, make sure he knows he has to pay for buildings insurance and any maintenance, and get it in writing.
A similar situation happened with DFILs DP, she has the right to remain in the home until she dies, moves out or cohabits. No rent payable.
I suggest you get a short appointment with a local family solicitor to clarify the overall situation, it could be more complicated than you think.
Oh rats, I thought this was AIBU, ignore me, over to the experts. Sorry !
Yes, definitely her husband. We all think he’s an arse. I think he will live forever and there will never actually be any inheritance. He rents his house out elsewhere and so lives rent free in MILs house while making an income. I discovered today that will get a regular percentage of her work pension until the end of his life too.
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