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Prepaid Probate Plans to Save on Future Probate Costs

Prepaid Probate Plans to Save on Future Probate Costs

Pre-paying for your probate with a prepaid probate plan can have many advantages but it is not right for everyone. It is important that you understand what your plan includes, excludes, and if the value of your estate makes it worthwhile for you to consider.

Likened to Funeral Plans pre-paid probate plans allow you to organise and pay in advance, securing costs at today’s prices. Some of the criticisms of Funeral Plans have been levelled at the probate market too, in some cases rightly so. Any unregulated market can lead to unscrupulous marketing and selling tactics.

Prepaid Probate is here to dispel some myths, inform you of what you should be looking out for, questions to ask and ultimately inform you to make the right decision for you and your loved ones.

Below are some of the questions our customers ask. We are happy to discuss any queries or reservations you may have and help reassure you if a probate plan and prepaid probate is right for you and your family.

I’ve been offered a cheap or free Will but the company insists they must be stated as executor.

You should never have a Will written by someone that only offers you a cheap or free Will because they tie you into additional services. Free or low cost Wills are widely available but should never be used as a loss leader for other products or services. PPP advises that this is bad practice and you should never feel obligated to take additional services unless you want to and it makes sense to do so.

Aren’t prepaid probate packages being mis-sold by misleading claims about estate administration charges? If current probate fees can be found at 1.5%-2% why am I being told 4% is usual? Is this a scare tactic if probate can be found much cheaper?

It is true that some companies may charge as much as 4% for estate administration, most likely to be a bank acting as executor but it is not commonplace. If you are being advised that a typical probate fee is based on 4% of estate value then you may be a victim of exaggeration or mis-selling.

Prepaid Probate – How We Combat This

Our illustrations are based on typical fees of 2% stated by Which?. Which? are committed to consumer rights, raising standards and providing unbiased advice. We will not over-exaggerate or try to scare any of our customers with unrealistic numbers.

I heard that the money I have paid is not set aside and my estate might have to pay more in the long run. Future increases won’t be covered if you do not set aside enough, or indeed any, funds to protect against future increases.

A reputable prepaid probate company should offer you a fixed fee with no future increases. Your money should be protected and with future increases and inflation in mind.

Not all pre-paid probate plans work in the same way. You should feel 100% confident that your money is protected, that the money is set aside and irrespective of future price increases no additional money will need to be drawn from your estate. It is imperative that you ask the question about how your money is protected. Do not be afraid to ask, it is your money and the estate residue for your beneficiaries is at stake.

If you are not entirely happy with the answer then you should not proceed with a plan. A company with good morals and their client’s best interest in mind should instil reassurance that all necessary protections are in place.

Prepaid Probate – How We Combat This

Our probate packages are a fixed fee. Your estate will not be asked for additional funds to pay for the probate process, however we do have some exclusions. Our fee does not include the grant of probate registration fee which is currently £155 or £215 if you apply yourself. There are some other typical exclusions which we are happy to share in advance in our terms and conditions.
The cost of delivering probate and estate administration in all of our plans is set aside from the outset and held in trust. Our chosen trust company has offices worldwide and holds billions of pounds of assets on behalf of beneficiaries.
We nominate one of our lawyers to your probate case, who has contractually pre-agreed to the prices.
By placing the money in trust it can only be drawn down on production of a death certificate. In the unlikely event that your nominated lawyer ceases to trade before probate is required our trustees are empowered to organise and nominate a new one under the same contractual conditions.

Surely my loved ones as executors are best placed to get the best price for probate work. They will want to reduce probate costs in order to ensure the maximum estate value is maintained. I trust my family and loved ones to want to keep the costs to the minimum.

If probate was needed right now then loved ones as executors might be best placed to get a good price for probate. What this doesn’t take into account is that probate will hopefully not be needed for quite some years to come. The costs that an executor can secure probate at now might simply not be available in the future and it assumes that probate costs won’t rise in the coming years. If we only consider inflation then costs will increase over time. Potential future probate price rises and inflation must be considered.

Let’s assume you have an estate worth £400,000 today and the potential for probate cost rises in the future based on,

  1. The average cost of probate increases.
    Based on probate costs being 2% today and rising to 3% in the future fees on a £400,000 estate would be:
    2% + vat = £9,600
    3% + vat = £12,240
    An increase of £2640 if average fees rise simply by 1%.
  2. Your estate value increases. What could your estate be worth in the future?
    Your estate value is very likely to increase in value over the coming years. Remember probate is charged on the estate value at the time of death and not today’s value. Costs on a rising estate value could look like this,
    £400,000 = £9,600
    £500,000 = £12,000
    Executors may still be able to secure probate at 2% of estate value in the future, the above costs assume they can. If they cannot, then fees could be higher again.

Probate based on estate value is more expensive than a fixed fee, unless the estate is very small. In which case you probably wouldn’t use professional services and we wouldn’t advocate the use of prepaid probate packages.

I don’t understand the advantages of using a prepaid probate scheme.

Why Our Prepaid Probate Plan Differs

  1. Transparent, Fixed Fee. No additional fees will be taken from your estate. As mentioned above the grant of probate registration fee is not included and there are typical exclusions which we will talk you through in great detail before you agree to your plan. It is important to us that you fully understand what you are getting.
  2. Peace of Mind. Many people want the peace of mind knowing everything is organised and paid for.
  3. Finances are Sorted. Probate won’t need to be funded from your estate. Your beneficiaries will receive all estate residue after any debts are paid.
  4. No Burden for your loved ones. Probate can be a drawn out and lengthy process, at a time of grief and upset.
  5. In the illustration above probate costs are based on a percentage of estate and are staggering numbers. Our plans start at £2750 fixed fee, significantly cheaper than paying a percentage of your estate.
  6. No pressure, ever. You will never be pressurised or under any obligation to proceed if you do not wish to do so. Our probate experts are happy to discuss the benefits, any questions or concerns you may have and put your mind at ease. You are fully within your rights to decide that a probate plan is not for you.

If you want your executors to apply for probate at the time and without a prepaid plan then we recommend you discuss this with them in advance. Who will be your executors? Many people don’t even ask their loved ones if they are happy to be an executor. Perhaps you’d prefer them to undertake probate without professional help to save money, they certainly can do this. But be sure that when the time comes they won’t simply be overwhelmed by the scale of the probate process and decide to hand it over to a legal professional charging a percentage at the time. This is when they stand to pay a lot of money in probate fees. Having this conversation now can save thousands on probate later on.

If you have any questions about purchasing a probate plan we’re here to offer friendly advice. You won’t ever be asked to pay for the advice and you are under no obligation to commit to a plan. We look forward to helping you soon.