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Probate anyone applied themselves?

(57 Posts)
utterbliss Thu 21-Apr-22 13:15:06

Has anyone applied for Probate without legal help? I am the executor and the only person to benefit from the will. What do I need to do to apply online? I would be grateful for people's advice in applying in 2022.

Nannarose Thu 21-Apr-22 14:04:07

Yes, I have, twice. I can't help specifically with 'online' but can say this:
Begin at and follow the links
The Probate Office are very helpful, so I suggest you ring them with any queries, they will talk you through what is needed
Take your time:
find a space to spread all the papers out
use different coloured post-its to mark anything you need
keep a sheet of paper listing what you have done so you can keep track.

I personally found it a useful part of grieving to do this last piece of work.
good luck

TivSuzi Thu 21-Apr-22 14:15:17

I can confirm Nannarose's advice. I applied for Probate on-line after my husband died last year.
The on-line service is great with help sheets and the Probate Office itself were very helpful.
Yes, it did help part of the grieving process.

tanith Thu 21-Apr-22 15:09:48

I also did it when my husband died. I applied online they sent me all the forms. It does seem complicated at first reading but it is very well explained in the accompanying leaflet. You just have to make sure everything is signed in the right order but on the whole I found it quite straightforward.

Fennel Thu 21-Apr-22 16:55:20

I was executor for my Mum's will. Back in 2002.
I admit I still don't really understand the whole system but in those days I personally took all the papers into London to the main Probate office and registered them there.
It was all processed very quickly but things have changed.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 09:31:41

Thank you all for your advice. I am going to try doing it myself.
The person who has sadly passed away has left their affairs in a terrible mess to sort.

A huge amount is owed to an Equity Release company and the interest is added at 6.59% every day until the flat is sold.

The flat will need work done on it before it could be put on the market.

There is a car to be sold but loan to a finance company is a lot more than the car is worth.

I am worried that the money I have spent so far out of my own pocket will be lost.

Will these large finance companies be able to claim repayments over what is owed to me for my out of pocket expenses ?

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 10:02:09

Sadly the person who passed away was a terrible hoarder for many years, I hardly know where to start.

Any further help from Gransnet members would most welcome.

Shandy57 Fri 22-Apr-22 10:09:58

Sorry you've been left with such a mess utterbliss. I was too numb to do my husband's probate, I went to my solicitor.

Is this Which site any good to you?

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 10:44:27

Many thanks, Shandy57, that is so useful and very kind of you to take the trouble to send he link.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 10:54:53

I am fighting feelings of utter grief and anger that someone who lived such a lavish lifestyle and was so selfish left me with such a mess to sort out.

I would have understood if he had had any cognitive/mental health problems.

karmalady Fri 22-Apr-22 11:08:56

I did probate myself when my husband died. It was do-able, it was a long form and was fine, as long as I was methodical. I had to go and make an oath. You need to be very very careful to not be out of pocket, that daily interest charge is terribly high. If push comes to shove, get a clearance company in and why not sell the flat as it is, even auction, depends if the equity release co has small print. Things need to happen quickly at minimum cost to yourself. The quicker a line can be drawn across, the better for you and your own health

You need lists, banks etc, outstanding bills. I took the value of house contents at roughly the value on insurance, you could actually ask for a value from house clearance people. If you have to pay them, then there is no actual value.

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 22-Apr-22 11:13:53

With the interest that is building up on the equity release do you think it would be better to simply clear the property so it can be sold as soon as probate is granted?

As regards the car finance, the amount owed is due from the estate not from you as executor.

I wonder whether, given the mess you are having to deal with, you might be better asking a solicitor to obtain probate. That will leave you free to concentrate on the practicalities of getting the property cleared, and he can deal with the car finance company direct, thus saving you the hassle. Also he can deal with the sale of the property and repayment of the equity release. Doing it yourself is fine in straightforward cases where you have the time and emotional space to do it. It doesn’t sound to me as though this is such a case. Personally I would want someone to shoulder some of the burden.

OakDryad Fri 22-Apr-22 11:34:15

My advice would be to sell the flat and car asap. Don’t worry that the flat needs work. There’s always someone looking for a project.

Your job is to determine what the assets, real and personal, are worth and what money is owing. Then you can draw up a a statement of assets and liabilities to determine the net value of the estate for probate. Your out of pocket expenses will be a charge on the estate. Check with creditors whether any outstanding debts must still be paid. Some organisations write off debts, some debts might be covered by insurance or some other consumer protection - credit card debts might be.

If it all seems too much, ask a solicitor for an estimate of their charges. They don’t have to do everything, just help you with the parts you are struggling with.

OakDryad Fri 22-Apr-22 11:35:59

Apologies, GSM. I've repeated some of what you have already said. Time lag in thread update.

NotSpaghetti Fri 22-Apr-22 11:40:15

I did it in person when my mum died.
I second the post-it notes and making lists but it was straightforward.
I just followed the instructions carefully and called the office if I was uncertain.

Good luck.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 14:22:00

Thank everyone for all the information/tips. and good wishes.I am going to make a start.

I wish my understanding of interest % was better.

The car is worth about £8,000 but the debt owing on it is near £15,000.!!!

I haven't ever owned a car costing that much, always tried to live within my means.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 14:31:52

The finance company telephone me early this morning to say I could pay the amount owing by credit card. That would be impossible for me to do.

They will have to wait until the flat is on the market and is sold.

I have no idea how much interest they are chargeing and would be charged per month.?

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 22-Apr-22 14:36:46

I expect there is a loan agreement amongst all the stuff you have to wade through but ask them to send you a copy. As the executor you are entitled to this and you can’t sort out what the estate amounts to, and therefore what inheritance tax is due, until all the assets and liabilities have been identified.

Chewbacca Fri 22-Apr-22 14:40:32

I might well be mistaken but I thought that you couldn't sell a property until probate had been concluded? A friend of mine is in a similar position; outstanding equity release mortgage, that's attracting a high daily interest rate until the property is sold, but she can't sell the property until probate is ended and the inheritance tax is paid in full. She's also having to pay council tax, utilities etc on the empty property and just hopes that their will be enough left out of the estate to repay her.

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 22-Apr-22 14:48:37

That’s correct, you can’t sell a property until probate has been granted. Executors often enter into a contract to sell subject to probate being granted by X date, with completion taking place within a stated time after that, but if prices are rising that may not be the best thing to do. This estate really isn’t straightforward and as a retired solicitor I really do recommend that the OP gets a solicitor involved. She will have to instruct a solicitor to sell the property and pay off the equity release mortgage anyway.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 15:18:00

Hello Germanshepherdsmum, Thank you for the information.

Once probate has been granted, I was hoping to sell the flat myself and then pay off the Equity Release company.

Money is very tight so I am forced to try and do it myself.

OakDryad Fri 22-Apr-22 15:26:25

That was my understanding too so thank you for confirming that GSM.

A friend is named as the major beneficiary of an estate in which the will has been contested by more than one party. The case has been stuck for a year. Do cases where wills are contested have to go to court?

The estate comprises a house, contents, personal possessions and money. Nothing complicated. Recently, the house was put on the market, snapped up in days by buyers who have been assured by the sales agent that they can move in next month but how can the house be sold if parties are still in dispute over the will?

Or is is possible to obtain probate, sell assets and sort out how the estate is distibuted afterwards?

Chewbacca Fri 22-Apr-22 16:32:55

Money is very tight so I am forced to try and do it myself

Again, I think, but could be mistaken, that legal fees incurred in getting probate granted wouldn't be paid for by you, but would come out of the estate utterbliss

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 22-Apr-22 17:07:54

The legal fees would be paid out of the estate. You won’t have to pay money upfront to a solicitor for dealing with this. But first do make sure that the estate is going to be solvent! If it isn’t then walk away. The equity release company can tell you what is owed on the property, an estate agent can tell you what the property is likely to sell for and you already know that the car loan by far exceeds the value of the car. Are there other debts? You need all this information as soon as possible.

As regards selling the property yourself OP, this is going to be extremely difficult with the equity release mortgage to be repaid on completion. A seller’s solicitor gives an undertaking to a buyer’s solicitor to pay off the mortgage out of the proceeds of sale. Your own undertaking to do this as a lay person would not be accepted. I really can’t over emphasise that a solicitor should be dealing with this estate, assuming it is solvent. Every day that you wonder what to do, delay finding out what the estate is worth and puzzle over forms is costing a lot of money in interest.

OakDryad, people disputing a will can prevent probate being granted and if not settled a dispute can end up in court. The dispute might be as to the validity of the will. Estate agents have no idea how long probate can take and give such false impressions. In the case you mention it’s impossible to comment without knowing all the details. I can only say that anyone believing they have grounds to dispute a will (as to which a solicitor would advise) would be well advised to lodge a notice with the Probate Registry to prevent probate being granted until the dispute is settled.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 17:24:09

Hello Chewbacca, That is correct, but I think I have to pay upfront and then claim from the estate.

Solicitor's and Estate Agent's fees would drain away anything that might be left after paying all the debts.

I have already run up a large telephone bill while having to hang on to get through to the various call centres

One person I spoke to after I had explained I was the Executor actually asked to speak to Mr ---- . I said I have just told you he has died. no apology was given.