Julie Draper, Director and Founder of The Probate Network tells the story behind the creation of the business.

Like so many businesses there is a personal story behind the launch of a new venture. For me, The Probate Network was motivated by a tragic occurrence in my life, the death of my much-loved father.

It was not my Dad’s death that triggered the idea per se, it was the paperwork that followed. My family had to finalise his affairs, a very necessary but tough job to do. Tough because it is emotionally draining but also because some of the paperwork and ‘red tape’ was complex. Mum, Dad’s wife, is still very much alive. Most of their property and some bank accounts were in joint names and was relatively simple to sort, but there were shares and investments that were in Dad’s sole name. Mum wanted to take on the task of dealing with the paperwork and most of it, pensions, joint bank accounts, the family home, were completed without the need for probate. Even the stocks and shares were eventually transferred by using a Small Estates Form but there was still some doubt as to whether probate was required to make everything ‘official’.

The Inspiration behind the Network

My mum rang some local solicitors and the response she got was alarming. When she said, “I want to talk to someone to see if I need probate”, three out of four times she was simply told, “You’ll need to book an appointment. It’s £XXX per hour.” The £XXX ranging from £230 per hour to £270 per hour. No pleasantries, no justification for the rate or explanation of what could be expected from the hour, and absolutely no opportunity to meet or assess the experience of the probate solicitor.

I can assure you that not every law firm operates like this. My professional background is in legal marketing and I deal with many firms of lawyers. The scenario I describe above would not happen with my clients’ firms but, as in any sector, there are firms that understand good client care and those that simply do not care unless the money is rolling in.

What ‘The Probate Network’ aims to achieve

Our family did not need Probate for Dad’s estate. If mum had taken that appointment, she would have spent £270 to be congratulated on the job she had completed herself. We did however need to organise a trust which was specified in Dad’s will and we took advice from a lovely solicitor who took the time to talk to mum before the ‘meter’ started running.

The Probate Network was launched to provide people needing probate advice with an option to talk to a local probate solicitor (for free) to ask some initial questions. After the free consultation they may find, like mum, that they can complete the paperwork and possibility the probate process without professional assistance. It may be that professional probate help is required but at the end of the free 20 minute consultation the recipient of the free advice will be armed with three crucial pieces of information; an initial assessment of needs based on their specific circumstances, an idea of likely costs of professional probate assistance and the chance to assess if the lawyer on the end of the phone is someone they feel comfortable with. Probate can be an emotional journey and it is important to have a professional rapport with your lawyer.

We strive to maintain a quality service

Members of the network have all agreed to offer a free 20 minute telephone consultation when booked via this website. Legal firms that join the Network are required to be Members of the Law Society and regulated by the SRA. In addition, following a free consultation we seek feedback from our clients to ensure that the lawyers are delivering a quality service that meets with expectations. The Probate Network aims to make the process of finding a professional, knowledgeable yet personable lawyer a little bit easier.

I know my Dad would be proud!

Our Reviews

Based on 18 reviews
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Andy BAndy B
11:10 03 Sep 23
I used the 20 minute free service. The call I received was punctual and my three questions were answered fully and clearly. There was no pressure to progress to 'paid for' services. On that basis, if I do need further help with probate, I think I'd be happy to try them out.
Really really helpful at such a difficult and vulnerable time.He went through everything clearly and supportively
Robert BrownRobert Brown
18:58 02 Aug 23
My appointment was scheduled and the subsequent call was on time. I had an excellent discussion with Keisha. She provided a detailed answer to my query and gave me a clear way forward.
Lorraine PrangnellLorraine Prangnell
18:50 23 Jul 23
I can't thank Lesley at Awakened Law enough for the invaluable advice she provides with regards the my late fathers estate. She was kind, sympathetic and answered all my questions.There was no 'hard sell' to employ her services, which, I have to confess, had been a concern.Thanks again to Lesley and The Probate Network.
Tim GuyTim Guy
09:44 26 Apr 23
An excellent service which has helped enormously in my quest for sound legal advice and representation. Thank you so very much JulieWith best wishes,Tim
17:54 10 Apr 23
I needed some advice on completing probate inheritance tax forms. I thought this may be a sales pitch but it wasn't. The guy I spoke with gave me some really useful advice which helped me to complete the all the forms which HMRC seem to be happy with. Great service, highly recommended.
Nancy SmithNancy Smith
06:39 02 Apr 23
Whilst I did get some useful advice this arena is more focused on selling the services of the solicitor who you meet with, and I felt the advice was not definitive because of that. My call was a WhatsApp video call which I wasn’t expecting. If you’re ready and presentable it’s probably better!
Fred SharpFred Sharp
16:50 13 Dec 22
The agent was very patient in dealing with the multiplicity of detail that I supplied, and with the numerous questions that I asked. I sense that this patience caused the consultation to go beyond the allotted time, and that was especially appreciated.
Vera TaylorVera Taylor
12:38 07 Jul 21
Holly was fantastic. She contacted me prior to the appointment to ensure that the time was still convenient. During the consultation she was objective and informative. Excellent information, advice and guidance. The offer to answer further questions was also offered. An amazing service that really helped me when I needed it massively. Thank you and would recommend this to anyone needing support with regards to being left sorting out an estate, with or without a will. Thank you Holly
a Ba B
09:47 17 May 21
Often ‘free consultation’ means vague information and a hard sell so I was sceptical about this service. How wrong I was! They were absolutely brilliant! They listened, they gave me good advice discussing options and made sure I was clear about the legal position before finishing the call. There was no ‘sell’ and no pressure. Based on this experience they come acidosis open, transparent and honest and so, if things don’t work out, I’d be inclined to go back to The Probate Network. Superb!
jude eejude ee
13:58 26 Dec 20
Booked a 20 minute free consultation as desperate for advice - had no expectation of it actually happening or being useful but it turned out to be exactly what was promised - free, professional advice (and very useful) at the time slot I chose. Am v grateful - thanks.