Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Sign of the times

I had an appointment in the city (Manchester, not that London) this morning at 9.30 to attend a "probate interview."

That was annoying enough in itself. To manage an estate you need a Grant of Probate. A certificate, effectively, that officially states to anyone who needs to know "this person is allowed to handle all the affairs of this other, dead, person."

There are two ways to get one of these. You can engage the services of a solicitor, who fills in the form for you and pays the fee, and everything goes through on the nod. Because solicitors are trustworthy people aren't they? And if they sign something, then it's right and proper and true. This alternative, you won't be surprised to hear, is expensive.

Alternatively you can fill the form in yourself. It's not complicated. Because you're not a solicitor you'll have to pay an inflated fee - roughly double what the solicitor would have paid (or, more accurately, what you would have paid through your solicitor) - but the really galling part is that you then have to attend a meeting with a representative of the Courts & Tribunals Service to make a formal declaration that what you put in the form is the truth. Because let's face it, since you're not a solicitor you can't be trusted and have probably made it all up. Despite having proven who you are, and being the person named IN THE WILL as the one the deceased chose to handle their affairs.

Still, all that is not what this post is about. I just got carried away a bit. Sorry.

Since the Probate Registry offices in Manchester are in the Civil Justice Centre (an imposing steel building in the Spinningfields area) I parked in one of the central car parks. One of those with a "pay before you leave" machine. Returning to the car after the brief meeting (I was in there a total of five minutes) I was urged by the machine to "Please insert your ticket."

And the second language the machine gave this prompt in?



Tvor said...

Polish? Odd. I might have expected Arabic.

Blythe said...

Polski polski polski c: