Probate & Will Services
We provide expert advice to deal with all aspects of the administration of an Estate following someone’s death.
“What is Probate?”
Probate is essentially a numerical exercise, i.e a balance sheet of the deceased’s assets (property, possessions, personal funds) and liabilities (debts) on death.
As Chartered Certified Accountants, Adrian & Co have extensive experience of accounts, taxation and the administration of an Estate following someone’s death.
The company has the expertise to tie up all Probate matters quickly, efficiently and as painlessly as possible and will advise on ways to minimise the Estate’s liability to taxes as much as possible.
We pride ourselves on acting with discretion and a sympathetic approach at all times; we will ensure you are allocated a senior staff member of the company who is an expert advisor and will oversee your case throughout the process.
The steps involved in probate.
As probate accountants, we will deal with all aspects of Probate and Estate Administration, including:
- Research and asses the value of the deceased’s Estate
- Prepare Inheritance Tax accounts
- Deal with Income and Capital Gains Tax liabilities of the Estate
- Gather assets and pay creditors
- Advise beneficiaries and executors of the tax implications connected with selling any assets
- Prepare tax returns for personal representatives
- Provide final Estate accounts
Our fees are calculated on a time basis dependent on the complexity of the work involved. However the fee will be capped at 1.5% of the gross value of the Estate (2% in the case of foreign assets). This ‘fee capping’ lets you know the absolute maximum that the job will cost and gives us an incentive to ensure that the work is carried out efficiently with Probate obtained and the assets of the Estate distributed as soon as possible.
Stage 1 – Obtaining the grant of Probate
This is an information-gathering exercise to prepare the Inheritance Tax Account and the Executor’s Oath. This stage follows immediately after the death of the testator so it may be a time of stress for the immediate family and the overall picture of the Estate may not yet be clear. Nevertheless, important decisions may have to be taken and we will advise and guide you through these.
Stage 2 – After Probate is Granted
This is an active period during which the Grant of Probate is registered with all the asset holders, debts are paid and assets may be collected in or sold. There can be queries from the Capital Taxes Office about the value of the Estate. If the assets are clearly sufficient, the Executors will authorise the payment of legacies, and where possible a payment on account (“Interim Distribution”) is made to each of the beneficiaries. One or more of the beneficiaries may consider altering the Will (or the effect of the intestacy rules) by means of a Deed of Variation.
Stage 3 – Review
This may be the most protracted part of the Administration. There may be lengthy negotiations with the Capital Taxes Office over the valuation of assets in the Estate and the calculation of Inheritance Tax. If the Beneficiaries have decided to enter into a Deed of Variation it is prepared at this stage.
Stage 4 – Accounting and Final Distribution
The value of all the assets and debts will have finally been settled with the Capital Taxes Office. Inheritance Tax will have been paid and an application for a Clearance Certificate made. Accounts can then be drawn up to show money received and paid by the Executors and what funds are due to the Beneficiaries. The Probate Practice will then make final payments and generally tie up all loose ends and finalise all matters to complete the administration.
We can also arrange for professional valuations to be carried out on property, jewellery and works of art. This is an area where Probate is often held up, however, we will ensure that the valuations are carried out quickly and do not hold up the process in any way.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The death of a loved one can be very overwhelming and so we have included some frequently asked questions to help you quickly find the information that you need:
What is Probate?
Probate is the term used in England and Wales for applying for the right to deal with someone who is deceased’s Estate which is often also referred to as administering the Estate. Different terms are used depending on whether or not the person in question left a will.
What do I do when someone dies?
How long does it take to get money from a Will after someone dies?
This can vary according to the complexity of each Estate. We will endeavour to make this process as quick and efficient as possible. An average case takes between 3 – 6 months
What happens if I am owed money by someone who has died?
Personal debts can be repaid from the Estate of the deceased if the loan was put in writing. Dealing with business debts can be complicated and it is best to seek advice from us on this matter
What are the legal requirements to ensure that a Will is valid?
- It must be made by a person who is 18 years old or over
- It must be made voluntarily and without pressure from any other person
- It must be made by a person who is of sound mind meaning the person is fully aware of the nature of the document and aware of all the assets stipulated and the identity of the people who will inherit these assets
- It must be signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign the Will (witnesses must not be beneficiaries)
Although a Will is legally valid even if it is not dated, it is advisable to ensure that the will also includes the date on which it is signed. As soon as the Will is signed and witnessed, it is complete.
Why should I use Adrian & Co to deal with Probate?
The Probate Practice is managed by a experienced Chartered Certified Accountants who understand probate requirements well.
Glossary of Probate Terms
The language of Probate can often be confusing, so in order to assist with this, we have outlined some common terms to help better understand what the various terms mean:
Assets passing by survivorship
Where assets are held in joint names they will pass to the survivor automatically rather than through the Will and are excluded from the value of assets for Probate purposes.
Beneficiary or Beneficiaries
The person who is the recipient of money or other assets as assigned in a person’s Will.
This is a legal document that amends (rather than replaces) a previousl Will. These may add or replace small provisions (e.g. a change in Executor) or may completely change the majority of the Will. It must conform to the same legal requirements as the original Will (such as the signature of the testator) and have two witnesses who do not benefit from the Will in any way.
Deed of Variation
This is a legal document that allows the Beneficiaries to change the terms of a Will, even after the person’s death
Grant of Probate
This is the legal process of administering the Estate of a deceased person by resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under the valid Will
A written statement sworn by Executors or Administrators of an Estate which accompanies an application for a Grant of Representation
All of one’s property and possessions including stocks and shares etc
Executor / Executrix (f)
The person appointed in the Will to administer the Estate of a person who has died
This refers to the process through which a person’s assets (property, bank accounts, stocks and shares for example) are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes
Grant of Representation
This is a document issued by the Court which enables the person or people named in it to deal with all assets of a deceased person (ie their Estate). It allows money to be collected from any bank or building society accounts, property to be sold or transferred and for debts to be paid. There are three types of Grant of Representation and the Probate Practice can advise on these.
Gross Value of Estate
The total value of the deceased’s property before deducting liabilities.
A person who has died and not left a legally valid will (see our blog piece on this)
The situation whereby someone has died without leaving a legally valid Will
An amount of money or property left to someone in a Will
Letter of Administration
This is the documentation given by the Registrar to appoint people to handle a person’s Estate in cases where there are no Executors appointed, still living or willing to carry out the Executor’s duties. It should be noted that it is courteous to ask a person if they are happy to be an Executor, before naming them in a Will.
Net Value of Estate
The value after deducting liabilities.
The term used in England and Wales for applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s Estate which is often also referred to as administering the Estate. Different terms are used depending on whether or not the person in question left a will
Testator / testatrix (f)
A testator is a person who has written and executed a last will and testament that is in effect at the time of his/her death
The legal documentation that allows a person to make decisions on how his / her Estate will be managed and distributed after his death.