There is no need for personal representatives to do all of the work themselves, and there are several different ways to help reduce the workload.
Employing professionals to administer the estate
It is possible to appoint professionals to act on your behalf to manage the estate. There are a number of different kinds of organisation available to choose from including solicitors and banks or building societies. The main difference between these providers is in their payment structures. Solicitors tend to be paid based on the time it takes to administer the estate. Banks and building societies offering a probate service (applying for and completing probate on your behalf) typically charge a fixed fee based on the value of the estate - usually between 3 and 4% of the total value.
If personal representatives are administering the estate themselves, it is still possible to make use of agents. Agents are people who are employed to perform a specific task, such as estate agents or stockbrokers. Provided the agent was employed in good faith the personal representative will not be personally liable for their mistakes.
Delegation by power of attorney
Personal representatives can also use a power of attorney to enable another person to act on their behalf. It is usually used where a temporary issue means that the personal representative is not available to deal with a specific element of administration. It is only possible to grant powers in this way for a maximum of twelve months.
This is often referred to as an ‘ordinary power of attorney’, and is different to a Lasting Power of Attorney, which is a power exercised on behalf of people who are alive but whose mental capacity prevents them from acting on their own. If the deceased had granted a Lasting Power of Attorney, it comes to an end on death, and the person holding it is not automatically entitled to act in the administration of the estate.