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Have you handled probate without a solicitor?

(15 Posts)
006 Thu 31-Mar-05 09:20:55

Horrible, horrible day.

I have just lost my Mum and need to make a start on all the legalities quickly as I am 38 wks pregnant! I have just been all through this a few months ago with my Dad and know we cannot leave the house empty as it is rather vulnerable and it cannot wait while I have a baby. Why must we have to do these things when we are least able???

I know Mum has left a simple will, but I believe I need to 'go through' probate to sort out the house and money. The estate is far from large and so I know they would think it a shame to spend a lot of money on solicitors if it was not really necessary.

Has anyone managed probate with/without a solicitor ans what did you think?


MrsWednesday Thu 31-Mar-05 09:55:32

I'm so sorry to hear about your mum. It's a terrible thing to happen at any time, but particularly so late in your pregnancy, and after losing your dad.

My mum died (when I was pregnant) a couple of years ago, and we did use a solicitor to sort out probate. It cost about £800 in total, for about 3 or 4 meetings - the estate itself was fairly straightforward but the circumstances involved were complicated and I'm not sure we'd have been able to manage without one.

Sorry I can't be more helpful - I'm sure you'll be able to find people with a bit of legal knowledge who would be able to give you an idea of how to go about sorting probate, but at the time I had absolutely no idea what to do so it was easier to hand it over to someone else. You might even be able to find books on how to do it - perhaps worth a quick search on amazon or something?

Look after yourself and bump.x

DelGirl Thu 31-Mar-05 10:36:24

oh so sorry to hear about your mum 006, so tragic . What a terrible time you've had. I hope the impending birth will help to ease this dreadful time.

When my DH died, I think I contacted a solicitor who told me I was probably capable of doing it myself. As his spouse, everything was left to me and maybe that's what makes it more straightforward with regard to inheritance tax etc. If you think her estate is more than the threshold (about £240k I believe, but don't quote me) then it may be harder to tackle, especially if her estate will be split.

Anyway, I contacted the probate office who were very helpful and sent me all the forms then I had an 'interview' with the probate lady at the local court who went through it all with me and granted the probate, which took a few weeks.

I suppose if I were in your position, hopefully you can get someone to help you with it....I would call the probate office and have a chat with them, ask them to send you the forms, have a good read through and see if you;re able to complete them then decide if you think a solicitor will be necessary. I take it all that side of things following your dads passing has been dealt with? Sorry if this has not made much sense, its a bit hazy for me. I'm not a great fan of solicitors tbh, though obviously the one I spoke to was good and genuine.

take care of yourself xx

StuartC Thu 31-Mar-05 11:47:48

Sorry to hear your sad news, 006.

Each institution (bank, etc) will have its own limit on how much they will pass to an executor without probate (£2000 may be typical).

If the estate includes larger amounts of money, or a house, then the will must go to probate.

Here's the link to the probate people.

StuartC Thu 31-Mar-05 12:12:24

006, the institutions will need to see the will and they'll want to make a photocopy for their records. Do NOT allow them to separate the pages in order to run them through the photocopier feeder. They can fold pages out of the way to make the copy. Once pages are separated, there is no proof that they originally made one single document.

throckenholt Thu 31-Mar-05 12:24:59

Sorry to hear about your parents.

I don't think you need to have a solicitor (my FIL has done it without one) - go to the library and see if there are any books about probate. Get the forms as DelGirl suggests and see if you think you can handle it.

BearintheBigBlueHouse Thu 31-Mar-05 12:32:38

This is a useful starting point - you can download a pdf or order a leaflet. HTH

LeahE Thu 31-Mar-05 13:31:11

The "Which?" book on wills and probate is really good (or was several years ago) and you should easily be able to handle a simple will without involving a solicitor -- as throckenholt says, you can probably even get the book from the library.

006 Thu 31-Mar-05 18:02:09

Thanks everyone - now I know where to start looking. Looking at the thresholds, there will be enough money to warrant probate, so I will see just how daunting it looks!

Thanks again

DelGirl Thu 31-Mar-05 18:05:05

Best of luck 006, hope you can get some help with all this. It took me weeks to sort out dh's estate and I was going through fertility treatment at the time too but not 38 weeks pg. Look after yourself, these things can usually wait.

Hulababy Thu 31-Mar-05 19:53:58

DH is a probate solicitor (see his link on the Mumsnet homepage for authenticity). If you need any information about what might be involved, or an idea of costs (although these do vary with firms and locations) give me a shout and I can ask him.

batters Thu 31-Mar-05 22:33:52

Very sorry to hear about your mum, and your dad as well 006.

My brother sorted out my dad's probate on his own, he (my brother) is an actuary so probably has a head start in this sort of thing. It was a very simple will, but it completely emotionally wiped out my brother for a while. When my mum died and there was a similarly simple will, my brother and I got a solictor involved - it cost us about 4% I think of the total money involved.

Personally in your situation I wouldn't be strong enough to do this on my own, but perhaps you are. I wish you luck.

006 Thu 31-Mar-05 22:51:29


When we used a solicitor for probate (was pregnant last time when FIL died - so pretty hopeless then), she did take care of things, but the cost was so high we queried it and actually got it reduced by a third. That is why I am not too sure what exactly is required - we farmed it all out!

I have arranged a house-sitter now, so am slightly less panicked by the urgency of the process. If the house was burgled or similar I think it would be just too devastating. Could this be pregnancy paranoia??

I think I will proceed and see what is required and get some quotes to make a sensible comparison.

Thanks everyone.

Prufrock Fri 01-Apr-05 10:12:53

006 - so sorry to hear about your losses.

I am the executor for my grandmothers estate, which was a simple 6 way split will, just under the inheritance tax threshold (which is about £240,000 before you have to start filling in extra forms). Getting probate was simple - 2 forms to fill out, then a 10 minute appointment. Then lots of posting stuff out to get control of bank accounts etc. You do need to be organised, but don't need any specialised knowledge, and I found the people on the end of the helplines were very helpful. TBH for me it was simpler to do it myslef than arrange appointemts with a solicitor

You go through probate first, and then sell the house. So now you have a sitter you don't necessarily have to rush to do that. Do check the buildings/contents insurance though - whilst most companies will not mind that someone else is living in the house they do need to be informed to keep it valid. You can ususally do this before probabte is granted, then forward them a copy of the certificate once you get it.

If you do decide to do it yourslef feel free to ask any further questions - the process is still quite fresh in my mind.

StuartC Fri 01-Apr-05 10:22:22

Even before you make any other arrangements, inform the banks, etc., about the death. The accounts will be frozen - all direct debits, etc., will stop.

Present the undertaker's invoice direct to the bank - they will pay it from your mum's (frozen)account.

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