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Probate anyone applied themselves?

(58 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.

welbeck Fri 22-Apr-22 17:24:28

OP, you say you are the only beneficiary and there are lots of creditors.
are you sure that there will be anything for you to actually inherit at the end of it all.
if not, why bother ?
i also agree, you need to get a solicitor to deal with it. the strain on you is not worth it, and possible financial penalties through delay.
the solicitor is paid out of the estate.
don't wear yourself down with trying to sort it all out.
what would happen if you walk away.
are you expecting an inheritance.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 17:41:49

Wellbeck, I have been told as an Executor I am not allowed to simply walk away.

GSM. Thank you for your knowledgeable words of expericence.

welbeck Fri 22-Apr-22 18:13:28

well then, i would say that you certainly need to hand it all over to a solicitor to deal with.
don't waste any more of your time, money, emotional energy. it will grind you down.
all the best.

Oldbat1 Fri 22-Apr-22 18:26:03

We’ve just done probate for mil. It was all done on line. She died in Sep 2021 and probate granted Apr 2022. We had sold her house 4yrs ago to pay care home fees so no property involved. Good luck as yours sounds more complex.

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 22-Apr-22 18:46:13

You can walk away utterbliss. Whoever told you that you couldn't is wrong, trust me.
My advice to you is to get a piece of paper and write down all the debts. Then write down the value of all the assets - what an estate agent advises the property can be sold for in its present condition once cleared (you are not under any obligation to instruct the estate agent to sell it and don't be embarrassed by the state it's in now, you're not responsible for that), car, anything in bank accounts or investments. Add them up. Include the ongoing utility bills. If the value of the assets exceeds the debts (bearing in mind that the interest on the equity release and car loan will continue to mount up) then just walk away. You have no obligation to obtain probate or pay the bills. If there looks like being an excess of assets over debts then ask a local solicitor what they would charge to obtain probate and sell the house. If there's likely to be little or nothing left, walk away. The equity release company will have power to sell the property. My only concern is fr you having to deal direct with people wanting money and maybe becoming threatening. You are not the executor until probate has been granted and have no liability for the debts. Even when probate has been granted you are only liable to the extent that the estate can meet the debts after any inheritance tax has been paid. Please don't feel under any personal obligation to deal with this mess. If it looks as though there won't be much, if anything, left then leave the equity release company to administer the estate - there is a process for this. After all debts have been paid you will receive what may be left. You do not have to clear up this mess by yourself.

Germanshepherdsmum Fri 22-Apr-22 18:47:47

Apologies, meant if the amount of the debts exceeds the value of the assets walk away ...

OakDryad Fri 22-Apr-22 19:02:35

Thank you for your advice too, GSM. There is something odd here. The major beneficiary insists that probate has not been granted but I have just checked on the probate search service and it was granted in January. I was worried for the people buying the house as they haved incurred expenses for a survey but with probate granted hopefully the conveyancing will go smoothly for them.

utterbliss Fri 22-Apr-22 21:02:03

GSM You have made it much clearer for me. I have already paid for the funeral. I hope there will be enough to cover that.

Do you know if the equity release company and car finance people can claim the debt to them before I could claim the amount I paid for the funeral?

In other words do they have more power than I as the only beneficiary of the will?

Shandy57 Fri 22-Apr-22 21:30:03

Have you got the paperwork for the Equity lease utterbliss? Perhaps it deals with what happens upon death of the person in there?

Shandy57 Fri 22-Apr-22 21:32:54

This info is useful utterbliss if you haven't looked already smile

Shandy57 Fri 22-Apr-22 21:36:59

This is also useful

welbeck Sat 23-Apr-22 01:12:57

i have taken funeral bills to the person's bank, along with death cert if not already notified.
they write a banker's draft from the deceased's account in favour of the funeral directors.
i have not been asked anything about if any debts are owing.

welbeck Sat 23-Apr-22 01:15:43

OakDryad, is it poss that the major beneficiary did not quite understand what probate being granted actually means. maybe they thought it meant when they received their inheritance ?

icanhandthemback Sat 23-Apr-22 01:37:12

I have done Probate a couple of times now and the notes that come with the form are well explained. If you take it to a solicitor to do, they ask you for the information so that they can fill the form in. I just cut out the middle man!

OakDryad Sat 23-Apr-22 03:05:03


OakDryad, is it poss that the major beneficiary did not quite understand what probate being granted actually means. maybe they thought it meant when they received their inheritance ?

I don't know welbeck. Could be. She insists that various family members are still contesting the will and that nothing has been settled about who gets what. It's not my business. As I said upthread, I was worried for the buyers of the house.

utterbliss Sat 23-Apr-22 09:05:58

This was the first time I had asked a question on Gransnet. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to send me very useful information.

GSM thanks for your special knowledge.

I have always loved German shepherd dogs.

karmalady Sat 23-Apr-22 09:17:34

utterbliss, reading your posts following my last post. It is a messy estate, I would most definitely involve a solicitor and withdraw from all the stress. Leave it in their hands and you will not at all be out of pocket. My understanding is that all costs will come from the estate

karmalady Sat 23-Apr-22 09:19:07

utterbliss, GSM hasn`t said but she knows what she is talking about from a professional point of view. I would 100% follow her advice

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 23-Apr-22 09:20:26


GSM You have made it much clearer for me. I have already paid for the funeral. I hope there will be enough to cover that.

Do you know if the equity release company and car finance people can claim the debt to them before I could claim the amount I paid for the funeral?

In other words do they have more power than I as the only beneficiary of the will?

I’m afraid the equity release company has first call on the estate. After that come funeral expenses and the costs of getting probate. The car loan company comes after this, assuming that the loan wasn’t secured on the house. If it was then their position in the pecking order jumps up ahead of funeral expenses.
I hope this helps. Have you been able to go through his post and papers yet to see if there are other debts? Loans, overdraft, unpaid utility and tax bills? Any money owed to the tax man has to be paid ahead of things like the car loan.
If an estate is insolvent (debts exceed assets) it’s vital to pay the debts in the right order or the executor is personally liable for getting it wrong and the debts which should have been paid ahead of others, but weren’t, can be claimed from the executor. However you aren’t an executor until probate has been granted so until then you have no liability to anyone.
As you can see this is a potential minefield so I urge you again to see a solicitor for your own protection. If you obtain probate yourself you will be personally responsible if you don’t repay the debts in the right order. I can only say that I wouldn’t take that risk.

Dorsetcupcake61 Sat 23-Apr-22 09:31:49

Hi utterbliss. Not much to add to other knowledgeable advice above. I did the probate for my
father in 2016. His estate was simple-just his house which he owned outright and a small amount of savings. Due to its simplicity his solicitor advised I did the probate rather than pay her fees.
Your case sounds so much more complex time consuming and stressful I would definitely hand it over to the solicitor.
It may be that there is little or nothing left as a beneficiary, that would also mean you would have put yourself under a lot of stress for nothing.
With regards to the house. My parents house had a lot of stuff but nowhere near hoarders and I was able to clear with the help of friends. If the house you were clearing is a true hoarders house rather than just very full you could be facing structural damage or even health risks. I wish you well.

Chewbacca Sat 23-Apr-22 09:35:51

You've been an absolute star Germanshepherdsmum, your clear and easy to digest advice to utterbliss, and anyone else who's recently bereaved, has been invaluable. Thank you flowers

utterbliss Sat 23-Apr-22 09:41:30

GSM. Your explanations are clear and precise, and fill me with confidence.
I would appreciate any further advice you may have about choosing a solicitor and estate agent.

Ramblingrose22 Sat 23-Apr-22 09:44:05

utterbliss - you can resign from being an executor. I don't know the process but it exists so don't carry on if it is getting too much for you.

A few years ago my late FIL was the sole executor for his aunt's will because the aunt's daughter went to live abroad as she never got on with her mother. The daughter was the sole beneficiary.

FIL found it all too complicated and had the daughter pestering him every day about the "delay" so FIL wanted DH to help him. DH was in a very stressful and busy job and didn't have the time to help so we looked up whether you could give up the role and found out that FIL could give it up.

As it happens, FIL was very stubborn and liked being "in control" of things and knowing other people's business so he refused to give it up so DH told him he'd just have to got on with it on his own.

I am not saying that this is why you are doing it but just remember - you have a choice.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 23-Apr-22 10:18:18

Thanks so much Chew and utterbliss. That’s very kind. ??
I’m so relieved that you’re thinking about a solicitor utterbliss. There are times you can easily do things yourself as people here have shown, and there are times when things are just too complicated. Not only are you protecting yourself, you can leave the solicitor to deal with the equity release company and the car loan company and anyone else who is owed money so you won’t be bothered with them. Do your best to go through the paperwork at the house so you can give the solicitor the best possible picture of how things are.
As for finding a local solicitor, most firms do probate work. You might have dealt with a local firm in the past or a friend might be able to recommend someone, otherwise the Law Society have details online (I wish I knew how to do links!) of solicitors doing certain types of work in each area. None of this will be difficult for a solicitor who does probate work so you don’t need a glossy top notch outfit. There are times I say to people Don’t go to Joe on the High Street because something is complicated. For this, Joe will be fine.
As regards estate agents, you’re not ready to sell just yet and the property will have to be valued for probate. The solicitor will know local agents who can do this. When it comes to selling I would just let the solicitor instruct an estate agent for you. It will make the whole process much easier for you. I hope that there’s a nice sum for you at the end of all this.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 23-Apr-22 10:31:29

ramblingrose, yes an executor can renounce their appointment and I did this many times before an application for probate was made as it was not unusual for someone making a will to appoint all the partners in my firm at the time they died to be their executors but when the time came only two applied for probate with all the rest renouncing their appointment.

I would never advise anyone to obtain probate on the basis that they can get out of it if it all gets too much. It isn’t that simple once probate has been granted, especially if you are the sole executor. This is an estate which potentially carries the risk of personal liability if the executor doesn’t apply the assets in the correct order. Definitely not a case of just signing a form and relinquishing your responsibilities after you’ve obtained probate.