Online Probate and Administrating the Estate yourself
When it comes to administering an estate it is important to remember that the Personal Representatives in charge of dealing with matters are held personally responsible for making sure the estate is dealt with properly. This means that if any errors are made when completing tax returns, or if any individuals or organisations do not receive the full, correct amount of any monies/assets they are owed, then you are financially liable to pay these yourself.
Given this liability, we recommend that you instruct a specialist solicitor on all but the smallest, most straightforward estates, where there are few assets, limited debts (if any at all), and only a small number of people and organisations to pay monies to. Not only can the solicitor ensure that all assets are distributed appropriately and through the proper channels, but they also become the ones who are ultimately responsible for the administration of the estate, removing any liability from yourself.
If the deceased passed away without leaving a Will, then the estate is subject to the ‘Laws of Intestacy’, whereby the Law will decide how the estate should be divided. The various rules are quite complex and as such it is highly advisable to instruct a Solicitor to assist you in these cases.
If you are confident in your abilities however, and have the time to set aside to handle the administration (whilst every estate is different, an average time-frame of one year from start-to-finish is a good rule of thumb), then you are free to handle all matters yourself directly.