It has been revealed that people are being conned out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by probate fraudsters who are claiming they are entitled to a large inheritance.

The story, published in The Times, outlines how scammers are cold-calling victims and claiming they can act on their behalf to help them receive their entitlement, before they then charge astounding fees.

When someone dies without having made a will, it is referred to as ‘intestate’. Property and funds of people who die intestate go onto a public list called Bona Vacantia which can be found by anyone online. Probate fraudsters try to track down an heir to the inheritance and offer their services; acting as a middleman to deal with the entire process for them.

The fraudsters will cold-call someone and explain that a relative has died intestate and that they are entitled to make a large claim on the will. The large inheritance either turns out to be totally false or the fraudsters charge fees that are larger than the actual sum in question.

Sadly, the probate services industry is unregulated – despite handling more than £1 billion of assets each year – so it is open to this kind of malpractice. People should be wary if they receive a random call with a ‘promise’ of a big inheritance; it may be too good to be true.

Deal with a professional Accountant

When someone dies, a family member is often named as an executor of the will. It is up to an executor whether they want to deal with the matter of probate themselves.

Many executors do not want to deal with the probate themselves because they find it too complicated or they are just too busy. Instead, they appoint someone to deal with it on their behalf. If you are going to do this, we would urge you to deal with a professional and regulated probate practitioner.

Get Probate Ltd are authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.

We offer a professional, friendly and affordable probate service – for both our Grant of Probate and our Full Probate services.

Contact us (on 0161 907 4044 or [email protected]) if you would like more information about our Grant of Probate or Full Probate services.