The growing trend for relatives to do their own probate is increasing the risk of tax fraud and the incorrect distribution of assets, a specialist probate research company has warned
Is this evidence of the market reacting to perceived lack of trust & value of current service offering?
How many firms doing probate work offer to do it on a fixed fee or a contingency? Predictability might make a significant difference to the willingness to instruct??
I am a trusts and estates practitioner. My field relies heavily on the prompt establishment of a strong solicitor- client relationship. Probates rarely deal with just administration but also tax mitigation, as well the emotional impact on the family. The current financial climate will encourage individuals to do it themselves but the standard imposed by the probate registry and HMRC are the same. Untrained executors will make mistakes. However with new HMRC penalty regulations in force those mistakes will be even costlier. Probate is one of the few areas that has not attracted client complaints against solicitors. The complexity of the speciality does not make it a natural fixed fee service; as it is only after detailed investigation do many of the contentious issues arise.
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