In a tough financial climate it may be tempting to try and save money by trying to take out a Grant of Probate in an estate without the assistance of a solicitor. Recent figures released from the High Court however suggest that this could be a false economy. Figures from the Chancery Division of the High Court show that claims against Executors for breach of duty increased by 300% in 2013 compared to 2012. The claims range from the Executors misinterpreting the will (either on purpose or by accident due to a lack of legal knowledge) to fraudulent distributions of assets and even theft.

Any litigation can be expensive however litigation involving estates are notoriously expensive. If an executor is found to be in breach of his duty towards the estate then the normal cost Order would be that the executor has to make payment of those costs personally. The danger to the beneficiaries of the estate is that if the executor does not have sufficient assets to meet the costs then effectively the costs will be borne by the estate. Such litigation can have a devastating effect on the value of the estate not to mention the relationship between the parties.

While obtaining probate as a lay person can be undertaken we would suggest that this is only done in the simplest of cases and the residuary beneficiaries should appreciate the risks involved.

Should you require assistance in relation to the administration of an estate please do not hesitate to contact us.

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