Some people mistakenly believe that having a Will means they won’t need Probate. This is not the case. Having a Will means that the ‘Court of Intestacy’ does not get involved. Probate, however, would still be required to ensure that everything is in order, i.e. that taxes are paid, debts settled and the remaining assets distributed in accordance with the Will. Intestacy is much worse than Probate because it requires that the courts and solicitors be involved firstly to work out the distributions, before going to Probate, which involves settling debts and making distributions to the beneficiaries.
If a person dies intestate (without a Will) then the Court of Intestacy and solicitors for each party will work out how to distribute the assets you leave behind (your Estate). This takes considerable time and is often fraught with problems. The costs of this legal process will be deducted from your Estate. After the Court of Intestacy determines who the rightful beneficiaries are and in what shares they are to inherit, Probate will then be required. Probate ensures that taxes and legal fees are paid, all other debts settled, and the remainder distributed according to the Court’s decisions – not your decisions.
Anyone who owns property or has assets of more than just a few thousand pounds in their sole name will have their assets frozen upon their demise and these will remain frozen until a Grant of Probate is obtained. (If you have no property or assets then Probate will not be required as there is nothing to withhold for tax purposes). Historically it was your Solicitor (or your Bank’s Solicitor) named in the Will who acted as Executor, but that was a very costly process as their legal fees could add up to 5% of the total value of your Estate (including the value of your house).
Nowadays, the surviving spouse and/or other family member(s) named as Executor(s) in the Will have the right to obtain Probate and they may choose to do so without a Solicitor. Unfortunately, most Executors won’t know the legal procedures required to obtain Probate and often initially call a Solicitor just for advice. The Executor(s) will then attend their free appointment and in their distress and confusion may leave the seemingly complex matter in the Solicitor’s hands. This means they may lose up to 5% of your Estate in legal fees. You don’t have to let this happen; our Probate Guidance Service can assist your Executor(s) to obtain Probate themselves and avoid the high legal fees Solicitors charge for Probate.
Our Probate Guidance Service enables you and your Executors to obtain Probate yourselves, making this the most practical and cost-effective solution available. Paragon’s Probate Guidance Service is backed by the Society of Will Writers Trust Corporation (our regulatory body) and also by independent Probate Specialists Kings Court Trust Corporation plc. and IWC Probate Services. Effectively, our Probate Services provide your Executors with everything they need to obtain Probate themselves, with support from us and from either one of our three national Probate partners. This service can provide very affordable peace of mind for you, your Executors, your beneficiaries and your spouse or partner, in effect saving a great deal of time and many thousands of pounds in legal fees. This option is flexible in that, if you choose not to use the service, it is fully refundable.
If your Executors decide that they don’t want to use our Probate Guidance Service but instead prefer for us to obtain probate on their behalf, we will refund your Estate the cost of our Probate Guidance Service in full. We do offer a complete Probate Service and this is capped at half the amount a solicitor’s fees are capped at. Our guarantee is backed by The Society of Will Writers Trust Corporation, Kings Court Trust Corporation plc and IWC Probate Services, thereby ensuring that you are provided with a cost-effective, flexible and practical solution to obtaining probate.
Our consultants can explain our Probate Guidance Service in detail during your home visit, if you wish.