Our Disputed Probate department is warning that a new online probate service could result in unnecessary legal costs and potential unexpected bills.
The courts service has announced the roll out of a new online probate application system, which in practice, means fewer people will now have to use a solicitor to administer the estate of a deceased relative.
Whilst moves to simplify the legal system are broadly welcomed by FBC Manby Bowdler, Katherine Lloyd, a solicitor with the firm’s Disputed Probate team, has warned against potential pitfalls.
She said: “The new DIY online probate system has been set up as part of a £1bn court reform programme which has also seen divorce and money claims move online.
“For many people named as executors in a will, the system will prove very useful and straightforward, particularly when it comes to administering small estates.
“We would however, urge people to be cautious of using the system when it comes to administering more complex estates. It can be a very complicated process and not everyone is aware that they can find themselves personally liable for any mistakes which are made.
“This can lead to unnecessary legal costs and potential unexpected tax bills during a time which for many, is already stressful and difficult.
“We would therefore encourage people who are in any doubt about using the online system or if an estate becomes contentious to seek expert legal advice to make sure the estate is administered properly.”
Katherine works to advise clients on all aspects of contentious trusts and probate disputes together with disputes governed by the Court of Protection.
To contact a member of the firm’s Disputed Probate team for advice call 01902 578079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.