Solicitors halt slide in probate work and "should now target DIY applicants"

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

9 May 2012


Probate: most applications come from private individuals

The number of solicitor applications for a grant of probate has steadied after four years of decline and the profession should now target helping those who do it themselves, it was claimed yesterday.

Statistics released by the Probate Service to people tracing firm and probate specialists Title Research also reveal that around 5% of wills failed to appoint an executor or the executor was unable or unwilling to administer the estate.

The figures show that solicitor applications for a grant in England and Wales in 2011 increased marginally, having dropped 30% between 2006 and 2010. But they only represent 44% of all grants of probate.

The comfort private individuals feel in dealing with the probate process themselves was demonstrated by a recent Legal Services Board (LSB) survey, which found that 46% of people facing the situation had handled the probate and estate personally, while nearly half of the 36% who paid for assistance sought help with only some of the process, doing the rest themselves. Most of those who took the DIY route said they would do so again if required.

Last month the LSB announced its intention to in addition to the existing probate reservation.

Kevin Cole, head of research at Title Research, said: “The LSB’s plans to regulate estate administration will not affect the vast majority of people who don’t use a probate service provider to administer an estate. The risks of mistakes will remain with complex DIY probate such as undervaluing the estate, under-paying tax or missing out entitled heirs.

“Lawyers have succeeded in halting the decline in probates handled by them. The opportunity for lawyers now lies with making inroads into DIY probates.”

Some 15,503 wills failed to appoint an executor or the executor was unable or unwilling to administer the estate, which Mr Cole said highlighted the need for will-writing to be regulated.

The Probate Service figures also revealed that 19% of probates involved estates where the deceased did not leave a will, a fall from 23% in 2010.

 

Tags: , , ,



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

The ethics of the SRA’s social media warning notice

Mena Ruparel

Social media portals are regularly used by firms and those who work for law firms in both professional and personal capacities. Their informal nature and the fast pace of use makes it all too easy for regulated people to get carried away with online discussions or comments which can fall foul of the regulator. This is more likely to happen on social media platforms as these are virtual, accessed in the solicitor’s own time and space. It can be easy to forget that solicitors are regulated just the same at 11pm on their home computer as they are at 3pm in the office or at court.

September 15th, 2017