In my third instalment of this series, I would like to address why it is important to obtain legal advice when completing the administration of an Estate, and why a DIY Probate Kit or DIY Letters of Administration Kit (DIY Estate administration kit) cannot match the service provided by an experienced Estate administration lawyer.
Why do I even need legal advice for estate administration? Isn’t it fairly straight forward?
It would be great to think that the administration of every Estate will go smoothly. Unfortunately, you can never predict whether there is a mistake in the Will or an unusual situation which will require immediate attention.
It is also more common now than ever before for Wills to be contested, so if you are using a DIY Probate Kit or DIY Letters of Administration Kit, you may not be fully prepared for how to deal with someone contesting the Will and any application to the Court for a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Problems can also arise if the deceased died without a Will and you are using a DIY Letters of Administration Kit. If you have not received legal advice about who has priority to apply for Letters of Administration, you may waste your time and money. If someone else comes forward and they have a better right to administer the Estate than you, they can challenge your application, which may mean you incur further costs.
How easy is Estate administration? Will it take up much of my time?
Estate administration can be a full time job in addition to your current work, family, social and other commitments. Most of the entities you will need to communicate with are only open during business hours, which may be inconvenient if you are too busy during the day to make the necessary calls. You may find it less stressful and time consuming to use an experienced Estate administration lawyer.
But I want to save money – is it expensive to use an Estate administration lawyer?
You can use an Estate administration lawyer for as much or as little of the Estate administration as you like. It is important to know that an Estate administration lawyer’s fees are paid from the Estate of the deceased; they are not costs you personally pay. You should be able to reach an agreement with your lawyer early on to limit their scope of works, and manage your costs. For example you can instruct your lawyer to only obtain a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration on your behalf. You can then handle the rest of the Estate administration yourself.
I’ve decided I need help; what should I do?
If you have already bought and started using a DIY Probate Kit or a DIY Letters of Administration Kit, and have found that something has gone wrong or you are stuck and unsure what to do, it is not too late to retain an Estate administration lawyer.
If you have any questions or need assistance with a DIY Estate administration kit, please contact me.