The DIY (do it yourself) probate approach means taking on the full legal and financial responsibility to administer a loved one’s estate yourself.
This approach should be considered with caution as it’s a time-consuming option for Executors/Administrators who have never had to fulfil the responsibilities before. Below are a few risks that are worth considering about this approach:
Personal liability – The process requires you to deal with a great amount of legal paperwork and accurate information will be required. Executors and Administrators are financially and legally responsible for any errors that are made, regardless of whether they are entirely innocent or not.
Failing to identify or locate all assets and liabilities - If an additional asset is found once the Grant of Probate has been issued, you will need to have the new asset valued. This will then need to be added to the value of the estate, which was included in the application for the Grant of Probate in the first place, and a corrective amount notified to the Probate Registry.
Incorrect interpretation of a Will – This may result in Executors failing to provide beneficiaries with their rightful entitlement and could lead to a claim being made against the estate. This can be made increasingly difficult if there are amendments to the Will, such as Codicils, or when a beneficiary dies.
The risk of unexpected claims - With the increase in extended or blended families comes the greater risk for unexpected claims from unknown beneficiaries. It is advisable to publicly notify creditors of the death through appropriate newspaper adverts. Although this is not a strict legal requirement, it does provide important protection against unknown debts.
Article by The Kings Court Trust
29 September 2021
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