WINTERBORNE LEGAL SERVICES
Do you need help with probate?
If you’ve just lost a friend or family member, need to deal with probate, it can make a difficult time a lot more stressful for you.
Misunderstandings over complex Inheritance Tax rules cause additional problems for families who find themselves under investigation with HM Revenue & Customs.
A Probate Solicitor can help you with this.
What is probate?
It is the process of getting the assets of the person who has died to the people entitled to receive them. If you are an executor, you may need to obtain a Grant of Probate to gain access to many of the assets in the estate of the person who has died, or to sell their house. We can help you deal with all the legal documents and forms which you need to complete to make an application for a Grant of Probate.
What is a Grant of Probate?
This document confirms that the executor named in the Will is entitled to deal with the assets of the deceased. Banks and other financial institutions can rely on the Grant as authority to release fund to you. You will need to obtain a Grant of Probate to sell or transfer any property owned by the deceased.
Where the person died without a Will, the Probate Registry will confirm the authority of the administrator by issung a Grant of Letters of Administration. If you are not certain who can make the application for a Grant of Letters of Administration, please give us a call on 01308 424808 for a free chat about the circumstances of the person who has died, and who is the appropriate person to make the application.
When is Inheritance Tax payable?
You may have to pay Inheritance Tax if the deceased persons’s estate was valued at £325,000. This is the present Inheritance Tax nil rate band.
Read more about Inheritance Tax here.
Administration of the estate.
This is a grand term for:
- dealing with the assets of the estate;
- paying the debts of the deceased;
- payng Inheritance Tax or Income Tax; and
- transferring their inheritance to the beneficiaries.
What are assets of the estate?
- shares and investments;
- personal possessions, household items and cars;
- the deceased’s half share of any jointly owned assets.
The term ‘estate’ means the assets belonging to the person who has died. The term ‘administering the estate’ includes paying the debts and liabilities of the deceased.
What needs to be dealt with?
The administration of the estate can often be complex and time consuming. This is so whether or not the person who has died left a Will or died intestate (without a Will) and you may not discover this until you have started dealing with the estate.
The usual things you will need to think about include:
- finding the balances of all the deceased bank accounts;
- paying outstanding bills and debts;
- valuing and selling shares and investments;
- selling the person’s house, household items and personal possessions;
- insuring the deceased’s empty house;
- making arrangements to pay any Inheritance Tax;
- completing the necessary tax forms and probate application forms;
- possibly rehoming pets and redirecting post.
Administering the estate can take a significant amount of time and many people find the process emotionally draining.
On top of this, if you decide to undertake the work yourself, you need to be aware that you are accepting personal liability for:
- the payment of the correct amount of tax;
- payment of their legacies (cash or personal items) to the beneficiaries;
- payments to all creditors
Personal liability means that your own money could be at risk if you get it wrong, so make sure you are clear about your duties.
If you need a Probate Solicitor, we are here to help you with obtaining a Grant of Probate and with the administration of the estate.
Probate can essentially be broken down into three stages:
- You will need to obtain details and values of the assets and liabilities of the estate, and make the application for the Grant of Probate .
- Using the Grant to collect in the assets of the estate and pay the liabilities;
- You make payment of the legacies and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries entitled to receive it.
The first stage typically takes around three months. The issue of the Grant has been affected by Covid-19 and you should expect this to take 6 – 8 weeks to be issued.
The second stage will depend upon the assets involved. If the estate contains a house which must be sold, this could take several months.
If you have sold shares, you have to wait for the sale proceeds to be received from the broker.
The third stage is usually the quickest. Make sure you have up to date contact details for the beneficiaries to avoid delays.
Inheritance Tax and deadlines
If Inheritance Tax is payable on the estate, you will need to be aware of two deadlines:
1. Inheritance Tax must be paid by the end of the sixth month following the death because HM Revenue & Customs charge interest for late payment.
2. You must submit the Inheritance Tax Account to HM Revenue & Customs within 12 months of the date of death. Again, HM Revenue & Customs are able to charge penalties for late submission of the IHT Account.
If you are a beneficiary, you may be able to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable by redirecting 10% of the assets in the estate to charity. A link to HM Revenue & Customs Inheritance Tax reduced rate calculator can be found here.
Acting as executor
If you are the executor and are not the sole beneficiary of the estate, you should make sure you understand the personal risks you are accepting.
Taking on the role of Executor exposes you to personal risk if you do not take the proper steps to protect yourself.
For more details about the potential risks, please download our Free Guide To Probate – How To Avoid The 3 Hidden Dangers of Acting as Executor – using the form at the bottom of this page.
Executors can be at personal risk if they get things wrong. Contact me to see what steps you need to take to avoid creating a problem for yourself. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call me on 01308 424 808 or complete the Free Online Enquiry form below.