Reliance on family impacts probate

Most solicitors rely on the information and knowledge of the family of the deceased to complete probate, according to research from probate experts, Exizent, even though most people die without ensuring their affairs are in order.

Exizent’s Probate Prospects report found that 40% of probate solicitors rely entirely on information from their clients to verify assets and liabilities, while a further 59% say they do to some extent; just 5% say they don’t.

However, despite an overwhelming reliance on the deceased to have left all the relevant information and instructions behind, the vast majority do not have their affairs in order.

When Exizent asked solicitors what proportion of their clients had their affairs in order, just one-in-ten said 75-100%; shockingly, seven-in-ten said that less than half of their clients had their affairs in order.

It is perhaps no surprise then that probate takes at least eight weeks in most cases and more than eight weeks in one in seven cases, with solicitors, executors and families struggling with the administration involved in trying to identify and access assets of the person that has passed away.

Nick Cousins, founder and CEO of Exizent, says that while encouraging people to get their affairs in order undoubtedly helps, technology that can automate and speed-up the probate process offers an equally important part of the solution.

“Our research shows that the probate process is simply not fit for purpose. This not helped by the fact that even though most people die with a will*, most don’t have their financial affairs in order. That is why we are tackling the problem from a different angle and using technology to provide a universal solution.

“We have created a platform which connects solicitors and financial institutions to enable professionals to complete the probate process without having to rely on the family of the deceased, many of whom are already suffering the emotional burden of a bereavement.

“We are also pushing for open banking to be the same for those who have passed as those who are alive, so that eventually asset discovery can be completed at the touch of a button.”

Today's Wills and Probate