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Probate Made Simple: The essential guide to saving money and getting the most out of your solicitor

Book Description

Dealing with probate comes at a difficult time when a stressful legal process is particularly unwelcome. Probate can certainly appear daunting in its complexity and can be expensive in solicitors' fees, but it is possible to simplify the process and minimise the cost by taking a logical approach. The essentials of probate work do not require special skill or expertise and it is therefore eminently feasible for most people without legal training to do the bulk of the work themselves. This means you can avoid paying expensive legal fees for select parts of the probate, making a saving of hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Probate Made Simple, written by a solicitor with over 15 years' experience in wills and probate, sets out the detailed and specific steps to follow in order to work on probate logically, ensuring that the reader completes everything in the the right order and at the right time and that no vital stages are overlooked. It also identifies areas of probate where the advice and indemnity cover of a solicitor is beneficial. Where the involvement of solicitors is necessary, essential inside information is provided to help the reader negotiate realistic legal fees, no matter the level of professional help required. Guidance on how to minimise and evaluate solicitors' quotes, and get the most out of legal professionals for less - with breakdowns of what typical probate tasks involve, and what charging methods solicitors employ - make the book an indispensable guide for getting fair legal services. In addition to this, over thirty template letters are provided as practical examples of the correct approach to follow when contacting banks, insurance firms, beneficiaries of the will, solicitors and others. Saving money on probate work in the simple ways outlined in this book could make a real difference to your inheritance and to the sums received by the other beneficiaries of a will. This is the book anyone going through this potentially expensive, stressful and opaque process needs to have to hand. Potential purchasers of the book are recommended to visit the author's website at to make use of the extensive free probate information (available as PDF downloads) provided by the author.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Publishing details
  3. Disclaimer
  4. Introduction
  5. 1. Understanding Probate – What Probate Means
  6. 2. Probate in a Nutshell
  7. 3. Work That Does Not Require the Input of a Solicitor
  8. 4. Work That May Require the Input of a Solicitor
  9. 5. Summary of Your Options
  10. 6. Pros and Cons of the Three Options
  11. 7. Recommendation on Which Option to Choose
  12. 8. Saving Money if You Choose Option 1 Giving Everything to a Solicitor
    1. 8.1 Outline of procedure
    2. 8.2 Choosing which solicitors to approach
    3. 8.3 Trade secrets – forewarned is forearmed
    4. 8.4 Detailed advice on obtaining quotes
    5. 8.5 Saving money by using Option 2
  13. 9. Saving Money if You Choose Option 2: Doing Some of the Work Yourself and Giving the Legally-Challenging Work to a Solicitor: a Step-by-Step Guide
    1. 9.1 First stage: work up to probate
    2. 9.2 Second Stage: Applying for Probate Via a Solicitor
    3. 9.3 Third Stage: Calling in the Assets
    4. 9.4 Fourth Stage: Paying the Creditors
    5. 9.5 Fifth Stage: Preparing Estate Accounts/Begin Distributing the Estate
    6. 9.6 Final Stage: Winding up the Estate
    7. 9.7 Other Matters to Consider
  14. 10. Saving Money if You Choose Option 3: Doing Everything Yourself
  15. Appendices
  16. Appendix 1: How to Estimate the Time it Will Take Your Solicitor to do the Work That You Instruct Him to Do
  17. Appendix 2: Bank of Precedent Letters
  18. Precedent letter 1 – to bank/building society to pay funeral bill
  19. Precedent letter 2 – to solicitors to obtain the will
  20. Precedent letter 3 – valuation letter to IFA / accountant / stockbroker etc
  21. Precedent letter 4 – valuation letter to bank/building society
  22. Precedent letter 5 – valuation letter to insurance company
  23. Precedent letter 6 – letter to registrars confirming shareholding
  24. Precedent letter 7 – letter to stockbrokers requesting valuation
  25. Precedent letter 8 – letter to stockbrokers requesting valuation and confirmation of shareholding
  26. Precedent letter 9 – valuation letter for DWP state pension
  27. Precedent letter 10 – valuation letter for company pension
  28. Precedent letter 11 – valuation letter for personal pension policy (pension not taken)
  29. Precedent letter 12 – valuation letter for annuity
  30. Precedent letter 13 – valuation letter for wages/salary
  31. Precedent letter 14 – letter to utility company
  32. Precedent letter 15 – letter to credit card company
  33. Precedent letter 16 – general letter to creditors
  34. Precedent letter 17 – letter to beneficiary due to receive a specific item of property from a will
  35. Precedent letter 18 – letter to beneficiary due to receive a specific sum of money from a will
  36. Precedent letter 19 – letter to beneficiary due to receive a share of the residue under a will
  37. Precedent letter 20 – letter to beneficiary due to receive a share of the estate where there is no will
  38. Precedent letter 21 – letter to solicitors requesting quote
  39. Precedent letter 22 – letter to solicitors instructing them to act
  40. Precedent letter 23 – account closure letter to bank/building society
  41. Precedent letter 24 – letter to insurance company to cash policy
  42. Precedent letter 25 – letter to stockbrokers to sell shares
  43. Precedent letter 26 – letter to stockbrokers to transfer shares
  44. Precedent letter 27 – letter to insurance company to cash pension policy
  45. Precedent letter 28 – letter to employer claiming arrears of wages/salary
  46. Precedent letter 29 – letter to pay creditor
  47. Precedent letter 30 – letter to beneficiary advising of six-month delay
  48. Precedent letter 31 – letter to beneficiary to pay a specific sum of money from a will
  49. Precedent letter 32 – letter circulating estate accounts to a residuary beneficiary
  50. Precedent letter 33 – letter to beneficiary to pay a share of residue
  51. Disclaimer
    1. Also from Harriman House and Andrew Komarnyckyj