What is probate?
When someone dies, the executors or personal representatives take on the role of collecting the deceased’s assets, paying their liabilities, and distributing the estate according to their wishes set out in the will. This can be an emotional time, as executors are often close family members who are still coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.
For many people, the role of executor may only arise once or twice in their lifetime and so taking good, professional advice is required to ensure that the administration runs smoothly and efficiently, for all concerned.
The probate team at haysmacintyre aims to provide simple and clear advice to ease the administrative burden following your bereavement.
Haysmacintyre LLP is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.
Our probate service
In addition to our services in obtaining the grant of probate, other services that the executors might require could include:
- Calculating the deceased’s tax position prior to death
- Company, partnership, or business valuations
- Valuation of any properties owned by the deceased
- Dealing with agricultural or business property relief claims
- The future administration of trusts created via the will
- Tax arising during the estate administration period (e.g. on rental properties owned by the estate prior to the distribution to beneficiaries)
- Planning advice to family members following the receipt of their inheritance
The services above are not included within any of our fees quoted to you but we can provide a fee estimate on request.
In addition to guiding you through the probate application process, we can also assist with:
- Lifetime estate and Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning
- Trust administration
- Personal tax compliance
- Tax planning involving income and Capital Gains Tax
Who should apply for probate?
A grant of probate gives someone the legal authority to deal with a person’s assets after they have passed away. Who can request probate also depends on if there is a will in place or not. Find out who should apply for probate.
What needs to be valued for probate and Inheritance Tax reporting?
The entire estate of someone who has recently died must be valued to complete the probate application and to establish if Inheritance Tax (IHT) is owed. The estate includes property, possessions, and money - basically everything the deceased individual owned, including debts.
Inheritance Tax and Probate Briefing
Read our dedicated Briefing on Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning options to optimise the ways in which you can pass on your wealth.
Probate & Estate Administration Service
All estates are different and we aim to provide a tailored service to meet each estate’s specific requirements. The time taken to apply for probate and complete the administration of the estate will vary depending on the nature of the assets and the complexity of the will.
A basic application for probate will usually take between three and five months to complete, including the time taken by HMRC and the Probate Registry to process the relevant applications. More complex estates will take longer to process, particularly those involving valuations or complex relief claims or exemptions.
Inheritance tax is due for payment approximately six months after death and the application for probate can only be submitted once the tax is paid. Therefore a more complicated administration may take more than six months of preparation before the application for the grant of probate can be submitted.
We will always keep you regularly updated on progress.
Our fees are based on time spent and work undertaken in dealing with the estate’s affairs.
We offer a no-fee initial meeting with you to discuss what services we can provide and how we can assist you. The purpose of this meeting is to clarify the services you need and ensure that we can meet your requirements.
Because our fees are based on the time spent and work we have undertaken, we do not charge a percentage of the estate or any responsibility fee.
These are costs we pay to third parties on behalf of the executors. The most common will be the probate application fee and the number of copies of the grant of probate required, but others might include professional fees in obtaining asset valuations and the cost of publishing a notice for creditors if required.
The cost of any disbursements will be agreed with the executors before they are incurred.
A basic estate is one where the affairs are relatively simply to administer, including no more than 2 residential properties, some bank accounts, small investment portfolios etc. In this scenario, the deceased would have prepared a valid will, there would be no overseas assets, no trusts or business interests requiring valuation and no significant pre-death gifting or gifts with reservation of benefit.
Our services would include an initial meeting with the executors to take instruction and advise on the necessary actions. The executors would be expected to gather all required documents and collate all assets and liabilities. We would then prepare the inheritance tax calculation and in due course complete and submit the application for the grant of probate. We would include a finalisation meeting to sign documents.
We would expect our fees to be between £3,000 and £6,000 plus VAT not including disbursements.
An estate that is more complicated than a simple estate, perhaps including one of the following asset categories: overseas assets, a property portfolio, business interests requiring valuation (for example a small private company or a partnership), a life interest trust or significant gifts with reservation of benefit or potentially exempt transfers to review.
Our services would be similar to those of a simple estate, but we appreciate that the executors would require more interaction with and advice from our team, including further meetings to discuss progress.
We would expect our fees to be between £5,000 and £9,000 plus VAT not including disbursements or any additional services listed below.
A very complex estate will be one with multiple asset categories including overseas assets, a property portfolio, business interests requiring valuation (for example a small private company or a partnership), a life interest trust, significant gifts with reservation of benefit and/or potentially exempt transfers to review.
We understand that executors of complex estates may require more direct involvement with our team for advice on how to value, administer and ultimately distribute the assets including issues around the exemptions and allowances that might be available to the estate.
Our fees for a very complex estate will start from £10,000 plus VAT not including disbursements or any additional services listed below.
We want to provide you with the best possible service. However, if there are circumstances where you are not happy with us, you should contact us immediately and we will do our best to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Our Head of Legal Practice, Mark Pattenden, is responsible for the overall quality of our probate & estate administration service.
If you would like to make a formal complaint, we would ask that you email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our probate services are defined as a legal service by the ICAEW, therefore, if we cannot resolve the problem to your satisfaction, you have the right to have your complaint reviewed independently by the Legal Ombudsman.
Before they can accept and investigate your complaint, the Legal Ombudsman will expect you to have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, and are not satisfied with the outcome, then the Legal Ombudsman can investigate further, providing your complaint is:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and
- No more than one year from the date of the act/omission that gave rise to the complaint; or
- No more than one year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
If you would like more details, you can use the contact details below:
- Post: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333
- Email: email@example.com
Probate Compensation Scheme
In the unlikely event that we cannot meet any obligation to you, you may be able to seek a grant from the ICAEW’s Probate Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to the ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have become aware, of any loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on the ICAEW’s website at http://www.icaew.com/probate.
Reserved Legal Services
Haysmacintyre LLP is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.
Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at www.icaew.com/probate under the reference number C006489278.
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