When you are grieving it can seem far too difficult to deal with tax and applying for probate (the process of dealing with the instructions left in a will).
Alliotts' partner Delia Orme, and associate Jane Thackstone, are qualified to advise you on the whole process. This is as a result of changes to regulations for legal work allowing specially qualified accountants to do this work.
As most of the information needed is a financial exercise (and we as accountants are experienced in gathering financial information, producing valuations, IHT calculations and related tax returns), undertaking probate work is a perfect fit for us.
Apart from her technical expertise, Delia has years of experience in dealing with sensitive matters at difficult times and is able to provide that objective point of view and welcome voice of reason, when things may appear far too complicated, particularly where there may be tricky relationships involved.
Delia offers a flexible service, either taking on the whole probate process on your behalf, or providing essential support and advice to you as and when needed, should you choose to apply for probate yourself.
Throughout the probate process we guarantee that:
We will explain everything to you in jargon-free, plain English
You will have personal direct contact with Delia and Jane
You will be kept regularly updated as matters progress
You will receive a service that is sensitive and responsive to your needs and those of your family
Delia offers a full range of services to support you though the whole probate process, alternatively you may decide that you need support and assistance at specific times.
We can assist you in the following areas:
Checking that the Will is valid and is the last Will made by the deceased
Assembling and checking of the deceased's financial information
Tracing and valuing assets
Identifying and paying all debts of the estate
Calculation of Inheritance Tax, Income Tax, and Capital Gains Tax due
The preparation and submission of HMRC tax forms
Tracing missing beneficiaries
Arranging matters for the sale of property
Preparing estate accounts showing the final position of the estate with all transactions reconciled to the probate valuations
The payment of legacies to beneficiaries including charities
Providing tax advice (IHT, CGT and Income tax) to the executors and beneficiaries helping them plan the structure of their inheritance
Trust planning and trustee services including advising on Nil Rate Band Trusts
Administering the estate of a person who died without a Will (intestate)
Indicative timescales and process
Obtaining Grant of Probate can take anywhere between eight weeks and nine months. Although if there any difficulties encountered with the validity of the Will or valuation of the estate assets, then it should take considerably longer.
Once grant of probate has been received we would assist with realising the value of the estate assets and paying off any liabilities, including all tax liabilities. This stage would take approximately two months, however this would be longer if there are properties to sell.
Interim accounts would then be prepared to show the value achieved (less costs and fees).
Then all specific legacies would be paid out followed by an interim distribution which would normally be made to each of the remaining beneficiaries.
After that a final set of accounts would be prepared including all income and expenditure since date of death, and distributions made to date.
Our final fees agreed with the executors and the balance due to the beneficiaries determined for final distribution.
Transparent fee structure
It is our policy to be transparent in our pricing structure and to agree the basis of our fees with clients in advance of starting work on an assignment. As an ICAEW accredited probate firm we are required to publish our fee structure for probate services.
Our fees for probate work are charged on a fixed fee for obtaining the grant of probate. We then offer assistance with the administration of the estate and this work is generally charged on a time spent basis, so that you only pay for the work that we do for you. Our fees are never charged on a percentage of the value of an estate.
We will first discuss your situation in detail in order to gain an accurate understanding of the service that you need from us. Before our engagement is confirmed we will set out our fixed fee for obtaining Grant of Probate including Probate Registry charges we also indicate the basis of charges for the administration of the estate.
Our service provision is tailored to a client’s particular situation, however, to help provide you with an indication of our fees, we outline three typical scenarios below and an estimate of our fees in each case based on previous experience.
The situation: Miss A is the sole executor of the will of her widower father (the last surviving parent). Father's uncontested will appears valid and there are no apparent complicating factors.
The estate: Bank accounts, Investments, total value estimated £500,000.
The scope of work: Assisting the client in obtaining a grant of probate. Completion of IHT forms. We are not required by the client to administer the estate.
Estimated fee range: £2,250 - £2,950 (plus VAT)
Summary of service provision: Obtaining a grant of probate. Low value estate, easily identifiable assets.
The situation: Mr B is the sole executor of the will of his widowed mother (the last surviving parent). There are two beneficiaries. Mother’s uncontested will appears valid and there are no apparent complicating factors.
The estate: High value assets totalling £1,200,000. Obtaining valuations has been straightforward.
The scope of work: Assisting the client in obtaining a grant of probate. Preparation of the Inheritance Tax Forms (IHT400). We are not required by the client to administer the estate.
Estimated fee range: £4,000 – £5,500 (plus VAT)
Summary of service provision: Calculating Inheritance Tax and completion of IHT forms including review of whether there is availability for transfer of unused IHT nil rate bands and residence nil rate band for a pre-deceased spouse. Obtaining a grant of probate. High value, easily identifiable assets. Simple will
The situation: Miss C is one of 4 joint executors, one of whom lives abroad. The will is of her widower father (the last surviving parent). Father’s uncontested will appears valid. Father inherited his spouse’s estate in its entirety 6 months previously.
The estate: Value of estate inherited from spouse is £1,800,000. Value of father’s own estate is £2,400,000. Total value is £4,200,000. The estate consists of cash, stock market investments, and a private pension; properties in the UK and a property overseas.
The scope of work: Advise on which executors would best act, then assist them in obtaining a grant of probate, completion of IHT400 forms and administer the estate.
Estimated fee range: £9,500 – £20,500 (plus VAT)
Summary of service provision: Full administration of estate including obtaining a grant of probate (complex). If required, we can refer to our international associates (legal and accountancy) for professional advice in overseas jurisdictions to assist as necessary.
Probate Application Fees payable to HMRC are £273. There is a small additional charge for extra copies of the Grant of Probate.
Bankruptcy search – £5 per beneficiary
Notification in The London Gazette and a local newspaper of the individual’s death to protect against claims from unknown creditors – £300 to £500.
For a discreet and confidential discussion about how we can help you through the probate process please contact Delia Orme or Jane Thackstone.
Click here to view the ICAEW register of accredited probate firms. Please note that all probate work is undertaken from our Guildford office.