The Pitfalls of DIY Probate

Aug 28, 2015

For most of us, the thought of completing the Probate process strikes fear in our hearts, yet many of us are named as an executor in someone’s Will – but what is the reality of the probate process and what are some of the issues if you do decide to do it yourself?


  • You are legally responsible – this is probably one of the most important pitfalls if you are considering completing probate yourself. As an executor you are responsible for ensuring that the valuation of the estate is correct, the amount on inheritance tax payable is correct the Will is executed properly and everyone gets what they should according to the Will. If something goes wrong, you will be responsible. A solicitor in these circumstances has professional indemnity insurance to protect himself, but you will be personally liable.


  • Complexities – second marriages, trusts and business ownerships can result in complicated probate applications.


  • Time – this is a lengthy process to undertake on your own. There are paperwork, applications and processes to follow and this could take anywhere between 6 months to over a year. You should think about whether you have the time to take on a full probate administration along with all of your other commitments.


  • Cost – whilst you may save money by not instructing a solicitor, the court fees when dealing with probate is more expensive as a layperson, probably as the Court has to take on more administrative responsibilities. You may also fail to identify which parts of the estate qualify for inheritance tax relief. Therefore by trying to save money, you may actually do the opposite.


  • Delays – trying to complete probate with a full-time job whilst managing your other responsibilities can result in delays in the process. The inheritance tax bill has to be paid within six months of a death


Using a solicitor to complete probate will ensure that the entire process is as pain-free as possible whilst ensuring that all of the legal issues are addressed. To find out how we can help, please call our probate department at 01264 353411 or email

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