A brief guide to the process of probate
A Grant of Probate is required when the assets of the deceased are of a sufficient value for the Probate form to be required by financial institutions or for the sale of property.
After the death of a loved one, there is much paperwork to be administered. This involves calculating the assets of the deceased and communicating with the various financial institutions for valuations, including bank, savings accounts and pensions.
Some estates will have no Inheritance Tax liability and the Probate application can, in most instances then be completed online which is a relatively straightforward procedure.
These are estates where the value of the estate is below £325,000 for a single person or £650,000 for the second person of a couple to die. Other estates where the bulk of the estate is transferred to the remaining spouse may also be eligible for the simplified application.
In theory, but not always in practice, if an application can be submitted online with no Inheritance Tax payable, the Grant of Probate should be produced within the targeted 16 week timetable.
For estates where Inheritance Tax is payable the timetable is significantly longer and the work much more detailed. When all valuations are known, an Inheritance Tax form IHT400 needs to be completed, along with various schedules detailing savings, property etc
This needs to be sent to the Inheritance tax office, which takes an estimated 25 working days to process and once the Inheritance Tax figures are agreed and paid, details are then sent to the Probate office via form IHT421. The Grant of Probate application is submitted at the same time. If it can be submitted electronically there is a reasonable chance of the Grant of Probate office reaching their 16 week target.
If. for whatever reason, the Grant of Probate application cannot be submitted online, significant delays are likely for the issuing of the Grant of Probate, often 3-6 months or more.
Accountant Huw's Probate office is in Whitchurch, Cardiff, Wales.
Huw uses Zoom meetings frequently with new clients. Family members may live hundreds of miles apart and far from Cardiff, but with modern technology constructive discussions can be had on a face to face basis whilst all individuals remain in the comfort of their own homes.
Some clients will seek assistance to complete the whole process of Probate. Other clients wish to administer the first part of the process themselves, obtaining valuations of all assets and requiring professional advice for the completion of the Probate application form and the Inheritance Tax form.
Matters dealt with on behalf of Probate Clients
Probate work constantly brings new and unexpected challenges. The following are examples of the type of work carried out on behalf of clients:
- Submission of Grant of Probate applications.
- Submission of basic Inheritance Tax form 205 and the detailed Inheritance Tax form 400 with accompanying schedules.
- Preparing the final income tax returns of the deceased.
- Transfer of unused allowances between spouses.
- Application for the Residence Nil Rate Band and the transfer of unused allowances from the spouse.
- Listing of Gifts for the deceased.
- Assisting with house valuations and the selling of houses through estate agents.
- Assisting with valuations of savings and the selling of investments.
- Selling works of art / antique furniture.
- Dealing with banks, building societies and National Savings.
- Arranging the direct payment of Inheritance Tax from client bank and savings accounts.
- Communication with pension and life insurance companies.
- Maturing crypto currency investments.
- Claims for business relief and agricultural relief.
- Assisting with the sale of foreign property / assisting with the submission of Grant of Probate applications in foreign countries, liaising with a local foreign solicitor / payment of foreign utility bills.
- Assisting and agreeing payment of the debts of the deceased / credit cards / mortgages.
- Arranging property repairs / payment of utility bills on empty properties.
- Tracing missing persons with the assistance of specialist genealogists.
- Distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.
- Arranging the burial of ashes and the ordering of a memorial stone.
Huw Roberts is authorised 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.