We understand that when you find yourself needing information on Estate Administration, you are probably suffering the loss of a loved one or dear friend. We want to make the legal process of handling that person’s estate as hassle free and painless for you as possible.
Fogwill and Jones can complete all the necessary forms (of which there are many), keep in contact with all the Government offices, life offices, banks, building societies and anyone else needed to complete the estate details on your behalf. Our experienced staff will, in short, take the worry out of the whole process of probate for you.
It may be that a Grant of Probate is not required and in order to establish this at the outset we would initially need to know:
- If there is a Will – Who are the Executors and Trustees?
- If there is no Will – Who is the next of kin?
If there is no Will, the next of kin will become what is known as the Personal Representatives and the estate will come under the laws of intestacy, however the process is the same as obtaining a grant of probate.
Our staff will help establish whether the estate is straightforward and if probate can be dealt with by you or whether the Executors/ Personal Representatives need help or indeed for us to do it on their behalf.
Obtaining probate is a legal requirement
The Inland Revenue requires an estate to be formally administered for many reasons, the main one is to collect any outstanding tax liabilities for example:
- Income Tax
- Capital Gains Tax
- Inheritance Tax
Of the above, Inheritance Tax is the one that probably concerns us the most due to the 40% Tax rate on all assets above the ‘nil rate sum’, which currently is £25,000. In many cases obtaining probate is a very straightforward matter which some individuals will attempt themselves to save legal costs. Very often, such savings are false savings.
There are various reliefs and allowances available for Inheritance Tax calculation purposes that most executors are unaware of which include:
- Loss Relief
- Quick Succession Relief
- Business Asset Relief
- Posthumously varying an estate
All the above can lead to a large saving in Inheritance Tax, some or all of which may be missed by a private Executor.
Obtaining probate or letters of administration (where there is no Will) is now effectively a Self-Assessment type system – there is one main form that is completed for all estates and seventeen supplementary forms. The supplementary forms that will be required will depend on the deceased’s assets, e.g. a farmer with other business interests, personal and commercial property as well as a large range of investments could need all seventeen! The Capital Taxes Office of the Inland Revenue, that oversees this self-assessment and the collection of Inheritance Tax, is taking far more interest in an estate where tax is due. One reason for this is often due to their desire for a District Valuer to look at property to ensure it is not being undervalued for tax purposes.
It is estimated that over £1.3* billion was paid in unnecessary Inheritance Tax last year alone. Don’t add to it! Professional Administration of a deceased’s estate can often mean a saving in Inheritance Tax, sometimes a very large saving. Any saving leaves more of the estate value to the beneficiaries and not the Inland Revenue. Let our professional Probate Administrators and Tax experts take away the stress and complicated form filling for you. Our charges are on an hourly rate basis and in addition, unlike some Solicitors, we do not charge a percentage of the estate value on top of this hourly rate.
Note: The Financial Services Authority does not regulate Trusts, Tax advice or Legal advice.
* Unbiased.com, 2011