Probate - putting the pro in probate

PUTTING THE PRO IN PROBATE

Consumers urged to become Probate Pros to avoid losing out

Britons are at risk of losing thousands of pounds from their inheritances due to low awareness about the potential cost of professional Probate according to SagaLegal.co.uk. Choosing a solicitor, bank or accountant is a popular choice in helping navigate the complexities of Probate, but one for which the public could be overpaying due to hidden or disproportionate costs, the over 50s legal services specialist is warning. In addition to a percentage fee for acting as Executor, professionals can also charge an hourly fee, meaning that the average UK inheritance of £180,000[1] could end up reduced by thousands of pounds.

Empowering consumers on this issue, SagaLegal.co.uk has released a Guide to Choosing Executors, which sets out the options available, ensuring people make the right decision for their circumstances. The guide, which is free to download from www.SagaLegal.co.uk, provides the expert advice needed to make an informed choice and to avoid leaving their next of kin out of pocket.

Paying a professional firm to act as your Executor can help to simplify the Probate process for loved ones, however some professional firms charge a set percentage fee based on the value of the Estate rather than on its complexity to deal with. This means an individual with largely uncomplicated legal affairs could end up unnecessarily losing hundreds or thousands of pounds from the ultimate value of their Estate.

Importantly, once a person has passed away, an appointed professional is under no obligation to renounce its role as Executor. According to SagaLegal.co.uk, people are increasingly seeking legal advice on this issue only to discover it’s too late and that the only recourse available is costly, stressful and time-consuming legal action.

Emma Myers, Head of Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning at SagaLegal.co.uk says:

“Most people don’t think about Probate until they need to and as a consequence, knowledge of the facts remains quite low– especially where costs are involved.. If you think this might affect you and your loved ones, it’s a good idea to review your Will and have it amended to avoid overpaying later. Whether you intend to use a Professional or a friend or family member, it’s a good idea to discuss your decision with your next of kin to fully explain your reasoning.”

Emma Myers’ Top Tips in choosing a Professional Probate Provider

  • Always agree a fixed price up front to avoid any nasty surprises later
  • Shop around to find the right deal. Remember to strike the right balance between price and getting the quality of service you require
  • Remember there are usually two options for Probate: Full Administration where the Professional will deal with everything on your behalf, and Grant Only, where the Professional prepares the legal paperwork for you only.
  • Ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel confident in what you are signing – if you have agreed a fee up front, you should not be charged extra to ask additional questions.
  • If using a professional, choose one that is regulated by a relevant governing body and which offers insurance should something go wrong, such as an incorrectly drafted Will accidentally missing out a Beneficiary
  • Whatever your decision, talk it through with your next of kin so they fully understand your reasoning as this will help to avoid potential disputes later on

For more information or to download a free copy of the guide, please visit www.SagaLegal.co.uk

About SagaLegal.co.uk

SagaLegal.co.uk provides a range of affordable and accessible legal products and services for over 50s at competitive fixed prices. Products include: Wills and Estate Planning, Probate and Conveyancing. For initial free advice or for more information, visit www.sagalegal.co.uk or call 0800 656 9927

[1]  Daily Mail, 3 December 2013

Content credited to:  SagaLegal March 2014 

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