JS. Wills, Trusts & Probate
Probate & Estate Administration
How does the process work?
All relevant Government departments, banks, and financial institutions need to be made aware of the death, so the assets can be frozen and protected. Importantly, to protect any property, insurers need to be informed and chattels need to be secured.
Utility companies, pension providers, and phone providers need to be informed. Passports and driving licences will also need to be cancelled.
We will establish values for the assets of the estate including all property, savings, and possessions, taking into account any debts that need to be paid.
Any gifts made within the seven years before death will need to be established and accounted for.
We will ensure that all appropriate reliefs and exemptions are claimed and advise of any opportunities for beneficial post-death variations.
We will calculate the amount of any Inheritance Tax payable and ensure the correct forms and payments are sent to HMRC on time.
4. Obtain Grant
If a valid Will is in place, the executors will apply for a Grant of Probate.
Where the deceased left no Will (they died ‘intestate’), or the executors named in the Will cannot or do not wish to apply, the next of kin must apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Our probate experts will be able to guide you through either process.
Where appropriate, the assets of the estate are liquidated and turned into cash.
All debts and expenses of the estate are then paid, including any Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax owed to HMRC.
The executors can choose to open an executors’ bank account for this purpose or use our client account to pay in funds.
A final net amount is calculated on preparation of the estate accounts and agreed upon by the executors.
Specific legacies are paid, before dividing the remaining value in accordance with the Will, either by payment of money or transfer of assets in kind.
Where the deceased did not leave a Will, the assets are divided up between specific relatives in accordance with the rules of intestacy.
How our work is priced
The time taken to undertake the work necessary will vary significantly, depending on a number of factors. As such, it is not possible to provide a general price for this type of work. However, our fees are based on the complexity of the work and the time which it is necessary for us to spend, rather than on the value of the estate in question.
We can either agree and work to a fixed fee or charge on a time basis. If the latter, we will provide you with an estimate upfront before we start our work and keep you updated as things progress. Should we identify anything that is likely to significantly alter the fee for the work, we will bring this to your attention as soon as possible.
For an idea of the scope of work involved, based on various different scenarios, and the potential costs associated, please see our case studies below.
Case Study 1 - Obtaining a grant of probate
Easily identifiable assets, no Inheritance Tax
Case Study 2 - Calculating Inheritance Tax and obtaining a grant of probate
Simple Will, high-value assets but easily identifiable
Case Study 3 - Acting on behalf of executors to administer estate
Good information provided, assets not complex
We are licensed to carry out the reserved activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at www.icaew.com/probate under reference number C001037870.
If, for any reason, we are unable to run our practice, we have made arrangements for the completion of any unfinished probate or estate administration work for our clients.
ICAEW Probate Compensation Scheme
In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Probate Compensation Scheme.
Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you became aware, or reasonably ought to have become aware, of the loss. Our professional indemnity insurance (PII) complies with the ICAEW’s PII regulations having a minimum level of indemnity of £500,000 per claim.
Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website, www.icaew.com/probate.
JS Complaints Procedure
We always look to provide our clients with a high level of service but if you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting our office managing partner Diane Brennan. For more information about our full complaints procedure and how to get in touch, click here.