Probate and administration of estates can be a daunting process, with executors having a considerable number of responsibilities as well as dealing with a particularly difficult time in life.
Did you know that your accountant is far better equipped to deal with probate work than your solicitor?
We can now support our clients, their families and contacts through bereavement and deal with the process of obtaining probate, as Warr & Co have become one of the first accountancy practices in the UK to be licensed by the ICAEW to carry out non–contentious probate work.
We offer competitively-priced probate and estate administration services. You can choose to pass the entire process to us or we can help in those areas you need most support. In summary the full service will include:
- Dealing with grant of probate
- Valuation of assets
- Completion of HMRC returns
- Agreeing inheritance tax liability with HMRC
- Payments of liabilities
- Distribution of the estate in accordance with the will
- Preparing final estate accounts
For more information about our probate services please click below and book in for a free consultation with our team.
Working With A Probate Accountant
at Warr & Co Chartered Accountants
You may be going through probate for the first time. If so, we understand that it can be quite an overwhelming situation. Our experienced probate accountants will guide you through the process using transparent, plain English, and fight for the best outcome for you.
‘Probate’ is a legal term generally used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs (called ‘administering the estate’). Different terms are used in practice, depending on whether or not the deceased person left a will.
We can guide you through the whole process and provide you with all of the advice and support you will need.
Further background guidance can be found on the government’s website.
What To Do When Someone Passes Away
There are three things that must be done in a timely manner:
- Get a medical certificate from a GP or hospital doctor. You’ll need this to register the death.
- Register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral.
- Arrange the funeral – you can use a funeral director or arrange it yourself.
Our fees are based on time involved, not based on the value of the estate, which means we offer a competitively-priced probate and estate administration service.
Warr & Co are licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal service of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.
Estates Under £5,000
If an estate is less than typically £5,000 then there is no legal requirement to apply for probate and there will be no fees involved. All you will need are copies of the death certificate and to arrange an appointment with the deceased person’s bank.
If a person dies without leaving a will or the will that is left is invalid, they are said to have died “intestate”.
For deaths on or after 1 October 2014, if an individual is survived by a spouse or civil partner but no children or remoter issue, the entire estate will go to the surviving spouse or civil partner. What happens to the deceased person’s estate depends on who that individual is survived by.
If the deceased individual is survived by spouse/civil partner and children or remoter issue, the surviving spouse or civil partner will receive the first £250,000 and half of the excess over £250,000. The children will receive the other half of the excess equally between them.
Other rules determine who will inherit if there is no surviving spouse or children, it is therefore important to take professional advice.
Who Inherits If There Is No Will
Use this tool provided by the Government to discover who inherits a deceased person’s estate if there has been no will left.
If you believe you should be a beneficiary there is also guidance provided by the Government on making a claim on the estate.
While it used to be the case that probate was handled by a solicitor, since 2014 accountants have been able to legally assist with uncontested probate (the vast majority of cases). While you can still use a solicitor for probate, it makes more sense to turn to your accountant for probate, as the solicitor involved would usually have to consult an accountant in the process anyway.
Solicitors and accountants often operate on a time-spent business model, so if all of the information is at the fingertips of the deceased person’s accountant then time is used more efficiently, fewer enquires need to be made, and the whole process becomes more simple and cost-effective. Some solicitors actually charge on % of the estate, so in those cases their services may be very costly.
Finally, hiring a probate solicitor will often mean you’ll need to engage both a solicitor and an accountancy firm to help you deal with probate, as a solicitor can only deal with part of an uncontested probate, whereas an accountant can deal with all tasks for you.
Why You Should Hire A Probate Accountant
Hiring a probate accountant is the most often recommended solution:
- Licensed probate accountants can deal with all aspects of probate
- Accountants have good working relationships with HMRC and are in a better position to negotiate for you
- The deceased person’s accountant will already have most of the figures they require and will need to find out about beneficiaries’ financial situations only
- Your accountant will already have most of your information as a beneficiary and may only need details of the deceased person’s assets
- Probate accountants are more cost-competitive
The only time we would recommend engaging a solicitor in addition to our services would be in a contested probate situation.