As part of the probate process following the death of my brother, the official paperwork required has so far cost me the best part of £200. Whenever I have complained about this the company/bank/Government department are always very keen to point out that I can “claim this back from the estate” which is fine unless as is the case, there are no funds in the estate.
Next month I have to pay to travel over 100 miles to place the property on the market. I will have to stay in the city because I wont be able to sort it out in one day, meaning time off work and all the out of pocket expenses of being away from home. Again, all of this is coming out of my rapidly dwindling resources.
What with duplicate copies of everything, photocopying fees, oath swearing fees and all the postage (£2 a pop for a registered letter) the costs keep going up. And I have had to buy several files to keep the mountain of information in. You used to get one free Death Certificate. This is no longer the case and you need at least 5 of these to send out. Photocopies are never acceptable, unless you pay a solicitor to certify them as a true copy. If the companies who need to see them don’t return them you have to go and buy more, and the price goes up after they are initially generated.
TOP TIP: Always note at the foot of every letter you send that the estate will levy a £15 fee for every document not returned. This works.
This does not even take into account the amount of time I spend sorting out said paperwork. Of course the rules state that “lay people” ie, people who are not solicitors, “cannot claim for their time”, at present I would say I spend at least half to one full day writing letters, making phone calls and being hassled by people owed money who want it all sorted out last Tuesday. God alone knows how much a solicitor would charge for that lot.
To top the lot I have to place an ad in the London Gazette know as a Notice to Creditors or Trustee Act Notices. As stated in the Gazette information sheet:
The purpose of these notices is to protect the executor of an estate from responsibility for accusations of not making sufficient efforts to locate creditors prior to paying out the estate to beneficiaries. Notices in the London Gazette are used to alert utilities, banks, building societies and other financial institutions that there may be an issue with the outstanding debt so that they can contact the executor in good time.
Should a notice not be placed then an executor may have some personal liability for a disclosed debt. Get the price list!!