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DIY Probate - Did You Know…?

Are you the Personal Representative (PR) of someone’s estate?

It is sometimes assumed that making an application for probate is a routine process i.e. collect valuations and enter them onto the PA1 form and IHT205 and that’s that.

Whilst there is a certain amount of form-filling you may feel you can do yourself, it is important to remember that making the probate application is only part of the whole estate administration process and you should make sure you are aware of your legal obligations.

Did you know…?

  • If you have not yet been properly identified as the correct person to handle things, it could be classed as “intermeddling” in the estate?
  • You could be personally liable for any loss caused to the estate.
  • If you do not make sufficient enquiries when you believe a Will to be lost or missing?

As it's essential to deal with a person’s estate the way they wish, it is crucial to have their last Will. If the estate is distributed to the beneficiaries under one Will and then a later Will comes to light, the Executors could be held personally liable to the beneficiaries under the later Will. This means that you must make every effort to search for a Will if one is thought to be missing, for example approaching will writers and solicitors in the locality, searching national will registers and advertising in local newspapers and specialist publications.

  • That PRs are liable if someone makes a claim against the estate after the monies have been distributed?
  • An unknown creditor or beneficiary could make a claim 12 years or more after the estate has been finalised and if the PR cannot prove they have advertised for creditors at the time of the administration, they could be personally liable.

For the price of placing a small advertisement PRs could protect themselves?
The purpose of advertising for creditors is to protect the executor or administrator. The notice to creditors will include a time limit within which a creditor of the deceased must file their claim against the estate. If you distribute estate assets after that time limit, you are not personally liable any person who did not file their claim within the time limit. But the creditor can pursue any remedies they have against the estate or its assets. However, advertising does not protect against claims of which the PRs already have notice.

Kings Court Trust is here to help you through the process, whether you want to do things yourself and all you need is a little advice, or if you would like assistance from a professional to do some or all of the work involved in the estate adminsitration process.

If you are thinking of making a personal application for probate - "DIYing" - then please consider the above points and feel free to call our Probate Advice Line on freephone 0300 303 9000 if you have any further questions.