Probate & Estate Administration services
Taking on the role as executor of a deceased estate can be a daunting prospect, especially when so many tasks are time critical and those executors who are family or friends of the deceased are grieving the loss of their loved one.
The wealth of information available online, the importance of gathering evidence to support the Inheritance Tax forms, the need to get the Inheritance Tax position correct and the importance of ensuring the estate is distributed in accordance with the deceased’s wishes can strike fear into many executors. Rest assured for any executors in this position help is at hand.
Our Probate specialists at Griffin Stone Moscrop & Co (GSM) are licensed by the ICAEW to carry out non-contentious probate. They can assist the Executors in preparing and applying for probate as well as supporting them with the Estate administration duties. This helps to take away the stress and concern for executors and makes for a simpler process for the executors, who can take comfort that they are safe in the hands of the experts.
We are also able to provide the role of Executor should this be required when drafting your will which means your estate is in the hands of the professionals and your loved ones can relax knowing a trusted professional will be able to assist your loved ones should the worst happen.
Outline of the Probate process
- In the first instance we will check to see if the deceased had a valid will and identify the executors to ensure we are communicating with the right individuals. If there is no valid will we can still deal with an intestate case as long as it is non-contentious and we will advise the next of kin of the position under intestate rules.
- We will discuss with the executors/next of kin the various services we can provide and then decide with them the level of involvement we will have. There is no one size fits all approach as each Estate case will differ widely and some executors prefer to be more involved in the process than others.
- We will review the deceased’s personal tax affairs and prepare any outstanding tax returns declaring income and gains of the deceased to the date of death. We will then submit such tax returns, once approved by the executors/next of kin, to HM Revenue & Customs.
- We will work with the Executors/next of kin to identify all of the assets and liabilities held by the deceased, including joint assets.
- At the same time we will agree a strategy to obtain valuations for all assets held at the date of death as well as determine the extent of liabilities. This if often the most time consuming part of the Probate process as it relies heavily on correspondence with many third parties including banks, investment houses, pension providers and estate agents to name but a few. Typically this can take between one and six months, depending on the complexity of the deceased’s affairs.
- If the deceased owned shares in a private company and/or has a business interest we can also assist in the valuation of the business for the purpose of probate.
- We prepare the Inheritance Tax forms relevant to the type of Estate, calculate any inheritance tax due and agree the liability with HMRC.
- We will also prepare an application for letters of administration (if the deceased did not have a will) or grant of probate (if there was a valid will). This application will be submitted to the Probate office once the Inheritance Tax form has been submitted to HMRC. Following submission to the Probate office the grant should take between 4 to 12 weeks depending on the timescales currently been worked on by the Probate office.
- Upon receipt of the grant of probate/letters of administration we can assist the executors/next of kin in collecting in the assets of the estate, using a designated client account, settling outstanding liabilities of the estate and paying any specific legacies requested in the deceased’s will.
- We can also prepare the Estate tax returns for the period of administration, declaring income and gains of the Estate and calculating the Income Tax and Capital Tax liabilities.
- We can prepare the final Estate accounts and distribute all remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
Our charging structure
Whilst the more traditional method of charging for Probate services by banks and solicitors was a fixed percentage fee of the estate value, being central London accountants we made a conscious decision to charge based on time spent at our hourly charge out rates. Given an individual’s highest value asset is usually their home and property values in London and the surrounding areas continue to rise rapidly, we felt this was a much fairer and transparent approach to take.
Our 2022 hourly charge rates, which are updated annually, are as follows:
Tax Manager £210*
Tax Assistant £76*
*All rates quoted are subject to VAT. In addition any disbursements paid such as probate registration fees, postage and other costs would also be charged on the account.
Every probate case will vary in relation to the time taken to complete the process as it depends on a wide variety of factors including nature and complexity of assets, correspondence with third parties, the need to undertake valuations for specific assets, complications in the process with HMRC or the Probate office and locating beneficiaries to name but a few. However we firmly believe that as accountants with extensive tax and probate knowledge we are best placed to prepare probate work in a quick efficient manner thus helping to keep the overall costs down.
Whilst we cannot give specific quotes for reasons mentioned above, we have provided some illustrations of our charges based on previous probate cases and our experience. Please bear in mind these charges are just an indication and each case will differ depending on the complexity of each estate:
- If the executors/next of kin gather all information for the deceased estate and prepare the Inheritance Tax form along with the probate application form then would like our firm to review the schedule of assets, relevant forms and IHT calculations
Our fees would usually be in the range of £1,000 to £2,000 + vat;
- If the executors/next of kin gather all information for the deceased estate and would like our firm to review the schedule of assets, prepare the Inheritance Tax form along with the probate application form, calculate Inheritance Tax liability and submit the returns to HMRC & the Probate office
Our fees would usually be in the range of £2,500 to £5,000 + vat;
- If the executors/next of kin would like our firm to gather all information for the deceased estate, prepare the schedule of assets along with Inheritance Tax form and the probate application form, calculate Inheritance Tax liability and submit the returns to HMRC & the Probate office
Our fees would usually be in the range of £5,000 to £10,000 + vat;
- If the executors/next of kin would like the full suite of services including everything in 3. above along with Estate administration including the collection of assets, payment of liabilities and distributions to beneficiaries
Our fees would usually be in the range of £8,000 to £18,000 + vat;
If the estate is deemed a complex estate with multiple assets, complicated issues and multiple beneficiaries our fees could be in excess of £20,000 + vat. In the instance we are dealing with a complex estate this is likely to be known from the outset and we will advise you of this as soon as we can.
We will endeavour to treat every probate case in a sympathetic and efficient manner providing guidance and support to the executors at every stage thus giving them peace of mind that the deceased’s affairs are in good hands.
We do not deal with contentious probate cases but we can refer you to a solicitor who will be able to assist you in such cases.
If you require more information on our probate services please contact our probate specialists by completing the contact us form or by calling our office now.
To view our licence with ICAEW (reference number C005302274) please visit https://www.icaew.com/regulation/probate-services and click on ICAEW probate register.
We aim to provide all our clients with an exceptional level of service. However in the event you are dissatisfied with the service we are providing to you please contact our Head of Legal Practice Jennifer Tolmie who will endeavour to handle your complaint in a timely fashion and to your satisfaction.
In the unlikely event that she is not able to satisfy your complaint you can ask our Senior partner Christopher Brecht to look into your complaint, you can make a complaint to ICAEW https://www.icaew.com/regulation/complaints-process/make-a-complaint or you can make a formal complaint to the Legal Ombudsman https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complaint/
Our firm has professional indemnity insurance in place in accordance with the requirements of ICAEW and details of our cover will be provided in our standard terms of engagement. In addition the ICAEW has a Probate compensation scheme https://www.icaew.com/regulation/probate-services/information-for-consumers/probate-compensation-scheme-arrangements