Since 2014, some accountants have been able to offer probate services previously only carried out by solicitors. Dean Howard & Co is regulated by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants to carry out non contentious probate services in England and Wales. There are several advantages to using us for probate services because we have detailed knowledge of clients’ finances and assets. It is cost effective to use accountants due to their knowledge of the clients’ tax and financial affairs and it’s expertise in completing the necessary tax forms.
We understand how difficult it can be to handle a deceased’s legal and financial affairs, particularly at a time when you are likely to be coming to terms with the death of someone close. We are here to help you every step of the way.
We provide advice and assistance in connection with the whole probate process and can act as professional executors and administrators of the estate. We deal with the administration of a deceased person’s estate from registering the death to negotiating any final settlements of tax with HMRC and distribution of assets.
The application for grant of probate/letter of administration involves:
- Obtaining valuations for the deceased’s assets and establishing all debts
- Preparing the appropriate HMRC inheritance tax accounts
- Applying for the grant of representation (a grant of probate where the deceased left a valid will or if not, a grant of letters of administration)
- Administering the estate (gathering in the assets and settling the debts of the deceased)
- Paying legacies/ transferring property
- Dealing with Income and Capital Gains Tax liabilities of the estate
- Preparing the estate accounts
- Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
Probate is not always required in every case. If the deceased had assets below £15,000 most banks will release assets subject to the completion of a small estates form. Assets held in joint names will also not need probate.
You will definitely need probate in the following circumstances :-
- To sell or transfer land or property
- To collect shares
- To make a claim on behalf of an estate eg medical negligence
- To claim under a life insurance policy
- To collect assets in a bank account if £15,000 or more
We can act as professional executors or work with the named executors in your will.
Getting a professional to draft your Will is would ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes and not under the rules of intestacy which would otherwise apply. If you die without a Will, then the government will decide who will inherit your estate in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy and may differ from your wishes.
If you do not make provision for young children, then the authorities will decide who is best placed to look after them, which you may not like. It can also mean that your partner (if you are not married) does not automatically become guardian of young children.
It is also essential that Inheritance Tax is considered as the provisions of your Will can affect the future tax liability of your estate. We offer a personal service which is tailored to your own individual circumstances.
If you already have a Will, it is recommended that you review it every 2 to 5 years. Sometimes your wishes may not have changed, but the value of your assets and the law may have. As such it is very important to ensure that your Will does exactly what you want it to do; that it protects your assets and investments, and most importantly that you have taken advantage of various areas of flexibility within the law of estate planning.
Trusts have been used in estate planning as a way in which to protect and manage family wealth and to reduce the inheritance tax liability. We can advising on the establishment of trusts both in lifetime or by your Will. We can assist with all your associated requirements such as financial accounts, tax returns, day to day administration and ongoing advice for trustees, including tax advice. We can also, where appropriate, act as professional trustees.
We can help you determine which types of trust are suited to your purposes, prepare the necessary documentation, and advise on appropriate trustees.
This is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone you trust (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions for you should you lose capacity in future to make such decisions yourself. There are two types of LPAs namely: Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare.
Property and Financial Affairs LPA
This LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions which relate to your property and affairs, so this could be paying bills, collecting benefits or other income, or even selling the Donor’s house if you need to go into care (subject to conditions).
Health & Welfare LPA
This LPA allows the Attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your personal welfare. This could include making decisions about where you live, giving or refusing consent to life sustaining treatment, together with more day to day decisions relating to diet, daily routine or dress. It can only be used if you do not have the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself.
If you are 18 or over and have mental capacity (the ability to make your own decisions) when you make your LPA, we register the documents with the Office of the Public Guardian.
You can revoke the LPA at any time, so long as you have the mental capacity to do so.