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Why should I use a Solicitor to help manage an estate? – DIY Disasters
For many people, they will hopefully only deal with estate management on one or two occasions. Often, this can include handling a significant amount of paperwork.
It can be helpful to hand everything to a solicitor to manage on your behalf to relieve you of this burden, so that you are able to focus on grieving without the added administrative burden.
Rebecca Tribble, Solicitor in WSP Solicitors Wills, Trusts and Probate team has written a 2-part blog about the best way to tackle your will and estate, looking at the dangers of DIY and the importance of using a solicitor for Wills and Estate Management.
Handing the whole estate to a solicitor to deal with on your behalf can save you many hours of work and worry.
What does it mean to be the executor of an estate?
As the executor or administrator, responsibility for administering the estate correctly rests with you.
This means dealing with payment of liabilities, the tax affairs, and distributing the estate to the correct beneficiaries. You are personally liable to deal with everything properly, and can be sued if things go wrong.
How can a Solicitor help with administering an estate?
If you choose to instruct a solicitor to administer the estate on your behalf, you can be reassured that they are dealing with everything properly and are protecting your position as their client. Solicitors also have indemnity insurance for protection, in the unlikely event that something does go wrong.
Many people are uncomfortable completing tax forms and liaising with HMRC. A solicitor will deal with those aspects of the estate administration for you. They deal with estate administration every day, so are unlikely to come across a new situation, and will be best placed to progress things in the most efficient way.
Depending on your relationship with the beneficiaries of the estate, it can cause stress to have ongoing regular contact with them. As the executor of the estate, they may look to you for updates, and pressure you to make payments to them. When a solicitor handles the estate, the beneficiaries are likely to contact the solicitor directly, which can remove this pressure from you.
Is it expensive to hire a Solicitor to administer an estate?
Many people are worried about the costs of instructing a solicitor. However, at WSP Solicitors there are different ways we are able to act for you to ensure that the estate is administered cost effectively.
In straightforward estates with no Inheritance Tax to pay we are often able to offer a ‘Grant Only’ service, where we deal with applying for Probate on your behalf but leave the rest of the administration to you.
This can be suitable where the assets are straightforward and you are one of few beneficiaries, but are uncomfortable about completing the application alone.
In other situations, such as where there are complexities arising from the tax affairs, nature of the assets, or number and relationship of the beneficiaries, we would act as administrator from end to end. Everything from notifying the asset and liability holders of the death, to preparing the final Estate Accounts and paying the last pennies out to the beneficiaries would be our responsibility.
In these situations, we have an initial meeting with the executor to find out more information about the estate. We are then able to give a clear and accurate estimate of costs to help you make an informed decision about your next steps.
Our expert Wills, Trusts and Probate Team is here to help you with anything related to your will or estate. You can contact Rebecca directly here or in the sidebar of this page. Alternatively, you can call us on 01453 847200