Probate and estate administration – we are here to help
Losing a loved one can be one of the most stressful and emotional times of your life. It therefore seems unfair that during this time you may have the additional responsibilities of overseeing the legal and financial aspects of the deceased’s estate.
You can undertake this process yourself. However, at Apple Tree Accountancy we can take this extra burden away from you.
We were one of the first accountancy firms in Oxfordshire to be licensed to carry out probate work, following a major change in the law which previously only allowed solicitors or banks to carry out this work.
We are fully qualified and experienced to handle the probate and estate administration process for you, as well as giving you guidance on inheritance tax planning and executorships.
Probate and estate administration is the financial and legal process which takes place after someone has died. The purpose is to make sure all relevant taxes are collected, money owing to creditors is paid, debts owed to the deceased are collected and the remaining assets from the estate are distributed to the relevant beneficiaries.
The probate process can be very time consuming and involves complicated legislation and financial information, which can be very daunting if you’re not used to dealing with such matters. Typically, the process involves:
1) Finding the will:
a. Going through the deceased’s paperwork, or requesting a copy from his or her solicitor or bank, or;
b. if there isn’t a will, identifying the next of kin who can take on the role of administering the estate.
2) Applying for the grant of representation:
a. Completing the probate application form, or making an on-line application.
b. Filling in the inheritance tax forms for HMRC including giving valuations of all the deceased’s assets and calculating how much tax there may be to pay.
c. Submitting the above forms and relevant fees to the Probate Office.
d. Signing a statement of truth that all the information provided is correct to the best of your knowledge, that you are entitled to take out the grant and that you will administer the estate in accordance with the law.
3) Administering the estate:
a. Sending copies of the grant of representation to the deceased’s bank and other asset holders.
b. Advertising for creditors to come forward with any outstanding debts the deceased owed them.
c. Identifying and liquidating the assets to provide funds to pay debts, taxes and the beneficiaries of the estate.
4) Preparing estate accounts:
a. Drawing up financial accounts which show all the transactions coming into and going out of the deceased’s estate.
b. Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries as highlighted in the will, or as deemed by law if there isn’t a will.
However, don’t worry, we can carry out some or all of these actions on your behalf and take the stress out of what is already a distressing time.
- An existing client? A lot of the work’s done!
If the deceased was a client of ours you can be assured that we knew a lot about his or her financial circumstances. Our relationship may have involved: preparing annual accounts and / or completing tax returns; meeting up on a regular basis to discuss business and financial affairs; and developing an understanding of his or her background and family. This is all vital information when going through the probate process.
Furthermore, we can simplify the process as we are likely to have the details of their finances, assets and business dealings. This can save you lots of time and money when it comes to preparing the necessary paperwork for the Probate Office and HMRC.
- Not an existing client?
Many of our probate clients are new to us and we are used to getting up to speed on their affairs very quickly.
- Competitive pricing
Traditionally, banks and solicitors have charged a percentage of the value of the estate to carry out any probate work. In some cases this has been as high as 4% for even the most simple of estates to administer. Also, in some cases, the time it takes them to gather all the necessary financial and tax related information can prolong the process.
At Apple Tree Accountancy our understanding of financial documents, particularly when it comes to calculating inheritance tax, income tax and capital taxes, means that can we carry out the procedure quickly and succinctly. This is especially relevant where the deceased was a client of ours. This means we spend less time gathering all the relevant information, therefore keeping the costs to a minimum.
- Tax specialists, helping to keep your tax liability to a minimum
As Chartered Accountants you can be confident that we have the specialist knowledge required to handle the tax affairs of the deceased. Not only can we steer you through the path of inheritance tax, income tax and capital taxes, our experience may also help you and the beneficiaries to minimise the amount of tax that needs to be paid from the estate.
We can also work with any of the beneficiaries receiving large sums, helping them to minimise their future tax burdens.
- A confidential, personal service
Last, and by no means least, you can be assured of a discreet and compassionate service. We fully appreciate how difficult this time is for the family and friends of the deceased so we take as much of the administrative burden away from you as possible.
By using Apple Tree we aim to:
- Complete the probate process as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
- Keep the amount of tax the deceased’s estate has to pay to a minimum.
- Keep the costs of administrating the estate as low as possible.
- Maximise the amount of money available to the beneficiaries.
For a free probate consultation, please contact Victoria Gould : 01235 869142 or firstname.lastname@example.org