I have noticed that there are now “DIY Probate” and “DIY Letters of Administration” kits available on the internet (for a fee), which claim to show the buyer how to complete the estate administration process on their own. While I cannot stop people from using these kits, I strongly discourage it. This four part series will address the top four reasons why I believe you should not use a DIY Probate Kit or DIY Letters of Administration Kit, which are:
- The kits do not provide for unusual situations;
- The kits do not provide for mistakes made at the time the Will was drafted;
- The websites providing the kits do not provide you with legal advice; and
- The kits cannot assist you if your application to the Court is requisitioned in the same way a solicitor can.
The number one reason why I believe you should not use a DIY Probate Kit or DIY Letters of Administration Kit is that a kit cannot tell you if your application for Probate or Letters of Administration is out of the ordinary. Unusual situations I have come across in practice include:
- Where the deceased died overseas;
- Where the deceased had assets in different states, or in different countries;
- Where there are multiple versions of a deceased’s Will made in close proximity to each other;
- Where the deceased’s Will has been made informally, for example as a handwritten note;
- Where the Executor of the deceased’s Will is no longer capable of acting as the Executor, and there is no reserve Executor appointed;
- Where there is an issue relating to the validity of the Will
Without the assistance of a solicitor, it can be difficult to know for sure that your application for Probate or Letters of Administration does not involve any unusual characteristics. Estate administration solicitors specialise in this area of law and make it their business to keep up to date with cases, legislation and court processes so they are able to assist you no matter how unusual your situation may be.
Unfortunately, if you do notice that there is something out of the ordinary about your application, if you are using a DIY Probate Kit or DIY Letters of Administration Kit you are essentially on your own to work out what to do to ensure your application will be granted by the Court.
“Filling out forms”?
Although some DIY Probate Kit or DIY Letters of Administration Kit websites make it seem like obtaining a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration is simply a matter of “filling out forms”, Estate administration is a completely new process to most people, and can be complex.
If you complete your application for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and you are unaware of any unusual circumstances of your particular case, the Court may send your application back to you and charge you further fees to file it as many times as it takes for the application to be completed correctly (known as having your application “requisitioned” by the Court).
Using an experienced estate administration solicitor to complete your application for Probate or Letters of Administration can save you the money, time and inconvenience of having to submit your application again if it is requisitioned by the Court. Please contact me if you would like assistance with your application for Probate or Letters of Administration.