#YODO – The Risks of ‘DIY’ Probate

With the internet at our fingertips, executors are increasingly attempting ‘DIY’ (‘do it yourself’) probate.  Whilst this may be appropriate in some circumstances, it can be problematic for lay executors who are often unaware of the complexities involved in administering a deceased’s estate.

An executor has a very important role.  They are responsible for administering the estate in accordance with the Will (or the Intestacy Rules, if the deceased died without a Will). This involves ensuring that all assets are collected in, all debts are discharged and all beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to.

Executors who do not administer estates correctly can be held personally liable to creditors.   They must also ensure that any tax due to HMRC is paid, any this may stretch beyond just Inheritance Tax. Executors must also be cautious when realising assets, as they could be held personally accountable to beneficiaries who suffer as a result of poor administration (for example if a property has been sold at an undervalue).

Wills can be difficult to administer.  Many Wills contain trusts which involve complex legal provisions and can be daunting to a lay executor.  Nevertheless, executors have a legal duty to ensure that the trust is dealt with properly and these provisions cannot simply be ignored; the deceased will, no doubt, have included it in their Will for a reason.   Even if the executors consider that the trust is not needed at the date of death, it must be wound up and this needs to be formally documented.

9-15 May 2016 is Dying Matters Awareness Week.   None of us like to talk about death, but Dying Matters #BigConversation and #YODO (you only die once) seeks to encourage us to talk more openly about dying and later life.

Our Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts team can give professional advice to executors, to ensure that the estate is administered correctly and to remove the stress of dealing with Probate. Should you require any further information, please contact Lorraine Wilson in our Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts Department on freephone 0800 975 2643 or send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online contact form.


This entry was posted in Wills, Tax, Trusts and Probate.