The financial and emotional problems created by people who chose to apply for Grants of Probate themselves throughout the Covid pandemic are now being felt by grieving relatives, a Midlands solicitor has revealed.
Specialist Ellie Newman, from law firm mfg solicitors, is warning about the pitfalls of people wanting to save money on legal fees after seeing an increase in cases where relatives are forced to pay for the legal expertise needed to clear up an array of mistakes.
Miss Newman, a solicitor in the firm’s Private Client department, said the financial implications of those applying personally for probate grants has led to a rise in errors which can lead to drawn out legal battles and reductions in the final sums beneficiaries receive – with pitfalls including wrongly distributed assets, wrongly identifying assets and overlooking tax implications.
She said: “Over the past 12 months, and back as far as the start of the pandemic, I have sadly seen a variety of problems caused by the increase of people trying to save money and going through the probate application process without any advice.
“Attempting to apply on the cheap can leave a toxic legacy, make the grieving process even harder and cause arguments and rifts between relatives and beneficiaries.
“It has been extremely sad to see those who were looking to save money come to us when they have attempted to complete the application themselves and something has gone badly wrong. On top of the pandemic that has been difficult to watch but it has also been good to help take the weight off people’s shoulders. I would much prefer helping people get it right from the start instead of having to help those who have seen unnecessary complications.
Ellie specialises in advising around applications for Grant of Probate, the administration of estates and advising and preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney. Readers can email her through email@example.com