Hi KenMy understanding of Probate is the 'granting of Probate'. The passing of responsibility [to named persons] for settling the deceased Estate and distributions in accordance with any Will or, in the absence of a Will, to those related who are entitled to benefit. It is not usual for the deceased to appoint two [or more] such persons in order that their wishes are truly met.
I, myself, have acted in such a role to a close relative. It can actually be quite easy. Speaking current day, there is an online HMRC declaration to be made. Then an appointment made to be 'sworn' as an Executor. Mine was in the old Lewis's building. Very relaxed.
Then, some weeks later, a document arrives, the 'Granting of Probate'. Then, together with the original Will, off one toddles to a Bank. Which one is unimportant. Banks, generally, have a requirement to assist inadministering Probate. I chose my local Branch of the Bank where the deceased's funds were held.
Then there was the Land Registry. They couldn't have been more helpful. Send off the necessary documents and the Title to the property was changed.
As far as I am concerned, appointing a Solicitor to act as an Executor is [for them] is a Licence to 'print money' with their exhorbitant charges for what are essentially, just 'administrative' functions.
I once saw an advert for the sale of a Solicitor's practice and, one of the key selling points was the 'number of Wills held'!
I'm digressing here but some years ago, when I wanted to 'clear' my Mortgage, I asked a settlement figure, which was given, plus a £75 Legal Dept fee to remove their 'charge' on the property. I think it was with the Halifax.
One day, passing the offices of a Solicitor, I walked in and asked what they would charge [for the same service]. £35 - but then added that I could do it myself with a form from the Land Registry. I then spoke to the Land Registry. Again, very helpful. Downloaded and completed their Form.
Covering letter, cheque, and Land Registry form, stapled together, were then sent off to the Halifax. They cashed the cheque but then denied that they had received the Land Registry form. Robdogs!
I persisted and eventually, a second Land Registry form was returned endorsed accordingly.
Enjoyed your report on probate of English wills. Here in Canada lawyers are often involved as appointed executors and of course they charge fees for their expertise. fees. If you appoint a relative or trusted colleague, they can also charge 5 percent of the inheritance amount. Will settlement, even simple ones, takes forever with all the red tape and the ultimate wills tax which goes to the government.