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  1. Hi. Thanks for this. I will do exactly that. The losses to me are almost negligible - well, around 2k in interest etc... It's the extra stamp duty that the poor buyers of my uncle's property are going to have to stomach if this doesn't get sorted shortly, that is the big financial loss.
  2. Well, I'm not having that luck. A quick google shows that I'm not the only one either. It's very hit and miss it seems. Currently, I'm looking for some recourse, as this is eating my and my sister's inheritance up in interest and government fees, when it should have been a cut and shut case.
  3. I started by doing it myself. Did exactly the same (aside from the forms were actually online - they complete the same paper forms and you get a PDF that looks the same as if you had filled them in physically). Did the inventory, and then the tax forms etc... everything was fine until they lost the will (which was sent by the most recorded/tracked/guaranteed service as well - apparently didn't get there). Before I sent the will, I made copies (there was a copy already, stamped COPY), and I took a video of every page to prove it hadn't been tampered with in case it was lost. I must have had a premonition or something, as it was lost, but they sent me an email saying that they had received it, so I thought no more of it. I've taken the whole thing back once already, and then passed it to the solicitor (actually the firm that has been linked above). If I do it again, that will be the fourth time (one application, one lost will questionnaire and subsequent application, and the application from the solicitor). I don't think it will speed things up at all. I think the probate office/service has collapsed due to the "streamlining" and the shutting of sub-offices (in the middle of a pandemic - smart!). It's no longer fit for purpose, but nobody seems to be able to do anything about it. My MP is as helpful as a chocolate teapot, the ombudsman is just as slow and has already said that delays are not worth looking into. Over 98% of probate solicitors surveyed by the Public Services Union, say the on-line application process isn't fit for purpose, and 57% have said that they have seen house sales fall through due to delays since 2019. There has to be someone in government that wants to sort this out.
  4. That's my issue. I have no clue where we are and neither does my solicitor. It's like a black hole. I had to get a solicitor as dealing with the probate office (or rather the outsourced call centre) is hell on earth and I was not in a mental state to be able to deal with the incompetence any longer. I simply couldn't take the 2 hour queues coupled with the idiots on the other end when you finally got through. One even answered with "S'up blud?" on one occasion. Another told me to send documents to the wrong address and then another berated me for doing so. It was time to pass the baton to someone used to dealing with them. We're now 7 months down the line, which is considerably longer than the 8 weeks, or even the 3-4 months stated elsewhere. There appears to be nobody that can be contacted. I even wrote to my MP who said that he can't get involved, although to start with simply said "get a solicitor". There's a waiting period of something like 3 months for the ombudsman etc... so it seems that they can simply throw wills in the bin, ignore applications and just take the money and run...with impunity.
  5. Cheers. Yes. When we applied, it was supposed to be delays of 8 weeks. That's now changed, but this seems somewhat excessive for a very simple application. There's no tax to pay, no other descendants, nobody contesting, and my sister and I are the natural beneficiaries in any case, "lost" will or not.
  6. ...or it would be if it were funny. Sadly, my uncle died in July of last year, at which time we applied for probate. I enlisted 3 estate agents to value his property so as to find a value for the inheritance tax forms, and was told by one of them to put it on the market as soon as possible as it takes as long to get a completion date as it does a grant of probate. Having never been through this before, I believed him (and to be fair, I believe he thought he was telling the truth). In any case, the property sold within hours of going on the market (Sold, subject to probate). I then saw a flat for sale close to where I live now, and asked the estate agent if I could put an offer in "subject to probate" - she agreed that this was quite common, and so I did. The offer was accepted. We then, after 8 weeks (the probate office refuse to talk to you until 8 weeks has passed) and much faffing around with hours and hours spent in phone queues, discovered that the email they send a few days after applying that says "we have received your supporting documents" actually means "We have your electronic application". I took the former to mean that they had received my uncle's will - which they hadn't. Someone, somewhere had lost it. The post office blamed them, they blamed the post office, yada yada yada... The short and curlies of it was that meant we had to them complete a "lost will" questionnaire, which we did, and then posted it special delivery (as we had the original will) to the address they had given. Another 8 weeks passed, and finally I was able to talk to someone...who informed me that they had given me the incorrect address and that I need to send a copy to Manchester, and also to withdraw my initial application as we no longer had a copy of the will. At this point, I gave up and enlisted a probate solicitor. They told me to withdraw my application, which I did, both in writing and then followed up by a phone call to make sure they had it (was in the phone queue for 2 hours and 16 minutes). Then, 12 weeks later, I am chasing my solicitor for an update (they had since changed the "Won't talk to you for 8 weeks" to "Won't talk to anyone at all until 12 weeks has passed"). At that point they were informed that they hadn't actually withdrawn my initial application, and that they were sorry. Sorry. Yes. So, every week since then, I have been asking my solicitor for an update as the buyers of my uncle's house, quite understandably want to complete before the stamp duty holiday, and it transpires that the probate office hadn't even made a start on our application. All the while, my uncle's estate is being eaten up in interest on a "equity release" loan that is still running. In the small print it says that they will apply for something or other to take control of the house if probate is not issued within 12 months of the policy holder dying. I thought at the time that 12 months was ample time for such a simple application, but it seems I was wrong. Our application has now been to the London office, then Manchester. I discovered that was in Newcastle, and today I received an email telling that it's on it's way to Cardiff, and nobody knows why. To top it off, the seller of the flat has since died, and his brother is now having to apply for probate in order to sell the flat to me. I realise that the probate office is under a lot of pressure, they claim to have in excess of 500 extra applications a week, but this level of incompetence seems criminal to me. Does anyone know what my options are?
  7. Yes. Given how slowly every company and/or govt. institution moves lately, I felt it prudent to acknowledge the claim for fear of it tipping over the edge of the 14 days.
  8. I've acknowledged the claim online, and have sent a copy to the insurer. My guess is that they've been phoned by some ambulance chaser, "Have you been involved in an accident in the last 2 years?" - they've said "yes, I have", and now they're clutching at straws to milk it for every last penny. I mean, the bike was a 15 year old 250cc Honda. The amount this claim is for, is for more than the bike is worth (which has already been paid out) - I am assuming it's for the helmet and leathers, which I know were claimed for, but no receipts were ever forthcoming, so I'm guessing that the insurance didn't pay for them, and as such they're coming after me. There's not a lot of point me uploading the claim - once the amounts and personal information have been removed, all that's left is "We want £x.xx plus interest as allowed under s69..." That's it. No breakdown of what is being claimed for. Just an amount.
  9. Hi. I was involved in a car accident back in May. I pulled out of a side road and a motorcycle came around the corner, lost control of the bike and the bike slid onto my side of the road (I had crossed the road and the manoeuvre was effectively over - the bike was going too fast, he panicked, pulled the front brake and the bike went down then slid into my car, hitting it head on - the passenger, thankfully, had continued to slide down his side of the road avoiding any traffic and any injury). The police arrived and agreed that I was not at fault. The insurance company, however, took a different view, and decided that it was cheaper not to fight the claim and simply say that it was my fault. Both parties were paid out by the insurance companies. This morning, I received a claim form from the legal representative of the motorcycle rider, informing me that he is suing me for £700.39 plus costs, equalling £830.39. There is no mention of what these costs are, just that I will be furnished with them after 14 days. They are claiming interest from the day of the accident - which I find odd, as this is the first I have heard of this. Even if I considered that I was at fault and decided to pay up - I may have chosen to pay up on that day, so adding interest for the past 7 months seems extremely unfair/not lawful. Can anyone advise what I should do next please?
  10. In all honesty, I'm not all that worried about it - it's not really my fault, although I could have continued to badger them for a bill I suppose - so, I don't really see anything to get wound up about. It it goes to court and I lose, then so be it. I have no problem with paying them for the water I've used, I'm just a bit miffed about the way they have gone about it, when it could have been avoided in the first place due to them simply sending me a bill to start with. I think I will defend on the grounds that the amount claimed is in dispute due to not having been billed and therefore not being afforded the many payment options in their code of practice. I'm sure they can 'prove' that they have sent bills over the years so I don't really expect that defence to stand up sadly, despite it being the truth. I'm not sure what I would say about ignoring the debt collection agencies letters though. I ignored them as they looked dodgy...I'm not sure how a court would see that.
  11. I can't pay the £1800 currently. The interest amounts to just over £15 so it's not that big a deal. Like I say, I can't wholeheartedly claim they have the wrong address (at least until I receive the details of a SAR and see exactly what it is they have for this address), as I have never received anything from them - I have, however, received this summons - at the correct address (although this differs from the address on the electoral role), and had a couple of debt collection agencies letters to the same address that did arrive that I ignored as they had differing amounts in them and one even had the wrong name (it was my name, but spelled wrong and differed from the other one), so I didn't take them seriously as perhaps I should have. In their terms of service (thanks for the link), it states that I can arrange to pay monthly or twice a year - both of these options have effectively been denied to me by them not contacting me and claiming that I was not a customer of theirs when I originally contacted them.
  12. Fair play (regarding the water act). It was just a thought - as they told me that I wasn't a customer. It's made me think though...what if when I phoned them, they told me that because they did have the address wrong, and I obviously gave them the correct address, and therefore they couldn't find me?
  13. I don't know if they are or not. The address on the claim is correct (although it's different to the address at the electoral role), but as I've never received any bills from them directly, I don't know if they have sent any bills or they have the wrong address. It's simply that the postcode is for a different road...my neighbours all have a different postcode to me. This has in the past been a problem, and I was throwing it out there in case they have sent bills it's just that I never received them...although, I think this is unlikely.
  14. I'm afraid I don't. It was some years ago now and was entirely over the phone. I was thinking along the lines of the fact that I have never had a contract with them. I haven't ever signed anything as they told me that I wasn't a customer of theirs and have never received any bills for them. To be fair, the same was true of BT as well, but when I phoned them, we flipped to paperless billing and that solved the problem of not getting anything in the post from them. The address is a bit odd - the postcode for this house is actually for a different road and I have had problems in the past with letters/parcels/takeaways(!) not arriving. However, that seems unlikely for this length of time.
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