DEALING with the legal issues surrounding a death is difficult. When it comes to probate, unless you have first-hand experience or expertise, the average person has no idea what the process involves or how to execute it effectively.
Solicitors are often the first point of call for many, to help work through the process of probate, however, using a solicitor is costly and it can add significant delay as they generally carry large caseloads.
Designed as a middle-ground solution, online platform My Probate Partner was designed to help individuals maintain control of the process by providing guidance and support when necessary, at a fraction of the cost of using a solicitor.
Here, Founder and Edinburgh based entrepreneur Mike Davis provides insight into the development of My Probate Partner and shares the importance of this service for the Scottish public.
Can you tell me about the inspiration that led to the creation of My Probate Partner?
Whilst working in my father’s small legal auditing firm, I saw thousands of cases related to dealing with a deceased person’s estate [probate]. I started to realise that the majority of these cases were relatively straightforward, but people were still paying thousands of pounds for a solicitor to complete a lot of admin work that they could do themselves. I realised that there needed to be a simpler, easier-to-use service for probate.
I officially launched My Probate Partner in 2020 as an alternative, cost-effective way to do probate in Scotland. Using our online platform and personalised advice, My Probate Partner enables you to keep full control of the process, getting you to a successful outcome in the quickest possible time for a reasonable fixed fee.
How does it work?
We help people navigate the administrative process of dealing with someone’s financial, legal and tax affairs after they die, without using expensive solicitors. I realised quite early on that a lot of the administrative side of probate could be completed by anyone. Our platform enables users to work through the paperwork with expert support provided along the way.
Our paid-for services help people with the court application which is required in around 50% of deaths and is almost impossible to do without professional help. We have a 100% success rate, with over 97% on the first attempt. We give you very similar value in terms of knowledge and experience, for a fraction of the cost of a lawyer.
What is the difference between probate in the UK and Scotland?
In Scotland, probate is referred to as ‘Confirmation’ and is processed by the local Sheriff Court. There are a few technical differences, but in reality, they have the same function: to give the person named in a Will the authority to deal with certain assets (or the next of kin where there is no Will). The English process was updated in 2019 to include a new and relatively easy-to-use online platform, however, the Scottish process remains paper-based and requires antiquated language and specific formatting that is not made clear to the applicant.
How long does probate take to complete in Scotland?
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to this. The Sheriff’s Court will process your application anywhere between 2 hours and 12 weeks, depending on which court you use.
You must use the court that is local to where the person who died last lived – so it’s a bit of postcode lottery – Edinburgh and Glasgow are renowned as the slowest. If the person who died didn’t live in Scotland at the time of their death, normally you’ll have to use Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
In short, the whole probate process could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, in extreme cases.
What should the Scottish public be aware of when it comes to probate?
Solicitors are not the only solution. Shop around for services that are required after someone dies. Funeral directors and solicitors have had a captive market for hundreds of years, which shows in their uncompetitive and old-fashioned business models, often with eye-watering prices and poor service due to a lack of competition. There are a host of newer companies out there trying to do things differently that offer more choices to consumers to deal with the aftermath of someone’s death. My Probate Partner is currently the leading alternative probate service provider in Scotland.
What are your plans/ambitions for the future?
We want to become the go-to provider for probate information and services in Scotland. Our aim is to position My Probate Partner as a ‘Money Saving Expert’ type platform specifically for probate in Scotland, making the process as transparent as possible and allowing people to make informed decisions about what is best for them and their families at one of the most difficult times in their lives.
To find out more, visit www.myprobatepartner.co.uk