Anyone who has been through a bereavement can tell you about the ambush of paperwork that arrives insensitively soon after a death; banks, lenders, HMRC – all writing to you, seemingly oblivious to your grief and exhaustion. Some of them imposing deadlines – to pay tax, to file a form – as if time hasn’t just stood still.
Sometimes, probate professionals can seem equally insensitive, like they are just adding to the stress. What will they cost? Will they do the job properly? Couldn’t I just have done it all myself?
But, a really great probate professional will make you feel like they understand that your world has stopped. Everything they do will reduce your stress, and shield you from institutional insensitivity.
To help you know the difference, I have gathered together my 5 insider hallmarks of a great probate professional (I have distilled these from over 12 years working in the probate industry, both in various solicitors’ firms and in my own company). Make sure you can check them all off before you make your hire:
- Free initial meeting, providing honest advice, including telling you when you don’t need to pay a professional (i.e. where the estate is so simple it can all be explained during that first meeting).
- Consistent, expert–only point of contact. The trusted professional you are hiring will be your main point of contact for the whole matter, will update you regularly, and will not delegate critical work (e.g. tax returns) to a junior or external probate processing centre.
- Fair, fixed fees. You get a fixed fee quote with no hidden costs, rather than a moveable fee estimate, or ‘percentage of the estate’ fee.
- Demonstrable expertise. Look for several years of practical experience doing probate work, and, ideally, full membership of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the gold-standard membership organisation for estate work.
- Guarantee. A proper guarantee, involving a promise of money, that you can actually call upon if you are not satisfied with the service given.
I set up Isla Law to provide a really great probate service, with all 5 of these hallmarks. To find out more or to book your free initial meeting contact: Ruth Pannell on 01622 239766