What is Probate?
Probate is the official process of administering the estate of a person who has died and ensuring its distribution to those who will inherit, after discharging any debts and liabilities whilst also ensuring that relevant taxes are calculated and paid. Some estates can be very complicated, in which case having a probate specialist to advise you and make sure that all matters are resolved in accordance with the law, is essential.
How our specialists at Barnes Roffe can help you work through Probate
When a family member or close friend dies, it is not only upsetting but can often become even more stressful when trying to deal with all the complex legal and administrative issues that require urgent attention. Should the deceased’s personal representatives (executors or administrators) decide they do not want the burden of undertaking the administration of the probate process they will need to engage the services of a suitably qualified professional such as Barnes Roffe.
As probate and inheritance tax go hand in hand, as accountants, Barnes Roffe is fully qualified and has the specialist knowledge and experience needed to tie up all probate matters as efficiently and painlessly as possible, whilst also advising on how best to minimise the Estate’s liability to taxes.
To sum up, we can help remove the stress and make this complex process simpler for you by:
- Applying for the Grant of Representation
- Researching and assessing the value of the deceased’s Estate
- Preparing the estate accounts;
- Taking care of all the legal paperwork;
- Calculating the tax position to the date of death and for the period of administration of the estate;
- Completing inheritance tax calculations and agreeing the inheritance tax liability with HMRC;
- Gathering assets and paying creditors
- Advising beneficiaries and executors of the tax implications connected with selling any assets
- Preparing tax returns for personal representatives
- Obtaining the Grant of Probate.
Applying for the Grant of Representation
There are 4 stages to the application process with which we can assist you:
- Complete an inheritance tax form – We will calculate how much the estate is worth including property, shares, goods and chattels etc. The outcome of this valuation decides how much tax is liable to be paid on the estate. The tax owed must be paid before you can apply for the Grant of Representation. HMRC will send a form to confirm this has happened which we will then send to the Probate Registry.
- Complete the Probate Application Form (form PA1)
- Send the application to the local Probate Registry including the PA1, relevant inheritance tax forms, original copy of the will plus codicils along with copies of the death certificate and current probate application fees.
- Swear the oath – the probate office will send you an oath to swear at your local probate office or the office of the commissioner for oaths. The Grant of Representation should arrive within the following 10 working days.
Administering the Estate – What happens now?
Once the Grant of Representation has been received, we will send a copy to the deceased’s asset holders, such as banks and building societies etc. and we can assist you in liquidating the deceased’s assets. This will provide funds to clear debts and pay any additional inheritance tax, income tax, or capital gains tax arising from the estate.
It is also important to give notice to potential creditors by placing an advert in the deceased’s local paper and in the London Gazette after which any further potential claimants have a fixed time of 2 months and one day to make a claim.
Preparing Estate Accounts – who gets what!
Once all claims on the estate have been investigated and all debts and taxes have been paid, we will help you distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries as identified in the will, or by state of the law if there isn’t a will. All beneficiaries should sign a discharge form to confirm receipt of their assets or funds. Residuary beneficiaries will normally sign the estate accounts, that we will prepare for you, to confirm that they are happy to accept the amount left to them once all other payments have been made and confirm that they have no further call on the estate.
Why Choose Barnes Roffe rather than a Probate Solicitor?
- For Existing Clients – a lot of the work is already done!
We will already know a considerable amount about our client’s financial circumstances. For instance, we may have prepared their annual accounts and/or tax returns; be aware of their business and financial affairs and have a good understanding of the family situation. All of this helps the probate process enormously.
Most importantly, we will already have details of some, if not all, of their finances, assets and business dealings. This will save lots of time and money when it comes to preparing the necessary paperwork for the Probate office and HMRC.
- Not an Existing Client?
Probate and estate administration is essentially an accounting and taxation exercise and as accountants experienced in probate, we have all the expertise to tie up all probate matters as efficiently and painlessly as possible, whilst also advising on ways to minimize the Estate’s liability to taxes. Whilst a probate solicitor would normally still need to utilise the services of an accountant.
- Competitive Pricing
Traditionally solicitors and banks charge a percentage of the value of the estate to carry out any probate work. This can be as high as 4%. Furthermore, the time it takes them to gather all the necessary financial and tax related information can prolong the process.
At Barnes Roffe we have the specialist financial knowledge which means that we can carry out probate quickly and succinctly, keeping costs down.
- We are Tax Specialists
At Barnes Roffe we specialise in tax, so you can be confident that you will pay only the minimum amount of tax that needs to be paid from the estate. We will look into the inheritance tax, income tax and capital taxes, calculate the overall tax liabilities of the estate and we can also work with the beneficiaries to set in place plans to minimise their future tax burdens.
- We offer a personal, confidential service
We understand what a difficult time this is for family and loved ones. You can be confident that we will be discreet and understanding and that you can trust us to take away the administrative burden from you as much as we can and complete the probate process as quickly and painlessly as possible.
For a free probate consultation, please call the office most convenient for you, or fill in the contact form and we will call you to discuss how best we can help.Talk to Barnes Roffe today Barnes Roffe has tried to ensure that the contents and information it provides in its website is accurate at the time of posting. Unfortunately it cannot guarantee the accuracy of contents or information contained in its pages and any person choosing to act on this information should contact a Barnes Roffe partner prior to taking any action