Burden of settling probate puts unnecessary strain on brits

35% of over 40s don’t know what the term probate means
Over two thirds (68%) admit they wouldn’t know where to start
42% don’t understand that executors need to settle debts
One in ten people appointing executors admit to offering incentives including allocating a greater part of their will


New research from QualitySolicitors, a network of over 100 locations nationwide, highlights confusion amongst Brits if they are asked to become an executor of a will.

It reveals that more than a third (35%) of the over 40s, the likeliest age group to be appointed as an executor, don’t know what the term probate means, with 14% thinking it is the trial period you go through when starting a new job. 

The survey of 1,000 people aged 40 plus across the UK, shows that more than two fifths (42%) have been appointed as an executor – the person in charge of sorting out an estate  – yet one in five (21%) weren’t aware of the extent of the role before they accepted and two thirds (68%) wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

This lack of knowledge is putting additional strain on those taking on the role of an executor for the first time.  One fifth said they found the experience to be emotional and stressful and 19% said it was incredibly time consuming. The research found that one in ten people now feel obliged to offer an incentive to a future executor, such as promising them a greater proportion of their estate, to help persuade them to take on the burden.

Gill Bowskill, Probate expert at QualitySolicitors comments: “Settling probate and being appointed as an executor of a will does not have to be as daunting as it first seems.  There are simple steps you can take, which, alongside expert advice, can help ensure the best possible outcome in terms of the emotional and time commitment.  One of these involves not ‘putting one’s head in the sand’ once being appointed, but spending time with the person who appointed you to manage their affairs to ensure that their wishes are followed to the letter. At QualitySolicitors, we offer free initial assessment, so would urge anyone who is unsure of anything, to give us a call to find out how we can help you.” 

QualitySolicitors has produced some advice to help guide people through the probate process and give tips on what to be if you are appointed someone’s executor, available here: www.QualitySolicitors.com/wills-and-probate.

About QualitySolicitors:

  • Launched in 2010, QualitySolicitors is a group of law firms across the country working as part of the QualitySolicitors brand. Only one firm per local area is selected to become a QualitySolicitors partner. Customer feedback forms an integral part of the selection process.
  • QualitySolicitors’ national network of lawyers consists of over 100 branches across England and Wales.
  • QualitySolicitors lawyers are experts in their fields dealing with both consumer and SME legal matters. QualitySolicitors offers a personal, local service but with the assurance of a recognised national brand.
  • QualitySolicitors’ website address is www.qualitysolicitors.com
  • In 2011 QualitySolicitors secured equity investment from Palamon Capital Partners, a private equity house with a £700m fund.

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