Probate

Probate work may entail the following, depending upon the complexity of the respective estate

  • Identifying the assets
  • Calculation of any Inheritance Tax liability
  • Prepare and obtain the Grant of Probate
  • Administering and collecting in the estate assets
  • Selling assets, payment of professional fees and other estate expenses. Making distributions to beneficiaries.
  • Preparing interim and final estate accounts

Time and fees

The time taken to complete the work required to deal with an estate will vary significantly depending on a number of factors. On this basis it is not possible to provide a general price for the work. We charge on the basis of the complexity of the work and time taken to resolve issues.

For an understanding of the scope of work that we undertake and the possible costs associated with this please see “Illustrations”.

It is also difficult to provide a timetable for the provision of probate services and the ultimate completion of the associated work, as there are many factors that can affect the process. We strive to co-ordinate with executors and keep them informed of progress on a regular basis so that they are aware of the status of each case.

Illustrations

Illustration 1

Assisting executors with Inheritance Tax compliance and filing for probate.

We have acted for estates where there is a liability to Inheritance Tax and the assets are both easy to identify and to value (for example, listed investments and bank accounts). The will is straightforward, with only a handful of beneficiaries.

We notified the relevant parties of death and requested probate valuations of the assets.

Preparation and filing of the IHT Account (Form IHT400 and supporting schedules).

Preparing the probate application on behalf of the executors.

The executors dealt with the administration but we assisted them by opening a client account to collect in the assets and make distributions. We also provided them with support to sell listed investments.

Total fees between £2,500 and £7,500 (including VAT)

 

Illustration 2

Acting on behalf of executors.

We often get asked to provide a full service of all matters in connection with the estate.

Identifying assets, notifying third parties and collating valuations on behalf of the executors (including liaison with other professional parties, for example surveyors, auctioneers, directors of private companies and solicitors).

Inheritance Tax compliance and applying for Probate (either on behalf of the executors or under a power of attorney).

Administering and collecting in the estate assets. Provision of full client account services for the executors. Selling assets, payment of professional fees and other estate expenses. Making distributions to beneficiaries.

Registering the estate for income and capital gains tax and filing all necessary tax returns. Providing beneficiaries with R185 forms.

Preparing interim and final estate accounts.

Total fees between £10,000 and £25,000 (including VAT)

 

Illustration 3

Acting on behalf of executors (complex estates).

We have acted for complex estates with property in multiple jurisdictions. The valuation of estate assets is not straightforward and issues have arisen in respect of the probate application (non-contentious).

Identifying the assets and obtaining valuations. Where required, we have prepared valuations of unquoted shareholdings and considered complex issues with regard to business / agricultural property reliefs.

We have dealt with complex domicile issues and achieved favourable outcomes for our clients.

Obtaining probate in overseas jurisdictions. This most often requires us to engage professionals in foreign jurisdictions and liaise with them to obtain probate locally. Where required, we have also engaged with other overseas professionals, for example estate agents, to market and sell property. We have good professional contacts in many overseas jurisdictions.

Dealing with high value, and sometimes unusual assets (for example, arranging collection of personal possessions stored in safety deposit boxes).

Applying for probate and dealing with other complex matters which have arisen (for example, obtaining additional affidavits where a will was not fully executed or where the probate registry raised doubt over the testators capacity to execute the will. We had to trace witnesses and obtain further affidavits from them to secure probate).

Fully administering the estate assets, estate accounting and filing of estate tax returns.

Total fees between £25,000 and £50,000 (including VAT)

Regulatory

Licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.

Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at icaew.com/probate under reference number OC403503.

Rawlinson & Hunter LLP recognises the benefits of, and is committed to, equality in the workplace. We monitor diversity within our workforce and take action where possible to ensure that we can attract, retain and develop the best people, regardless of their background.  Our most recent survey is available from Susan Carthew, HR Director (susan.carthew@rawlinson–hunter.com)

Compensation Scheme

In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Compensation Scheme.  Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware of the loss.  Further information about the scheme, and the circumstances in which grants may be made, is available on ICAEW’s website: www.icaew.com/probate.

Complaints

We always seek to provide clients with the highest levels of service. If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our probate service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting the Head of Legal Practice /probate contact partner, Toby Crooks.  We will consider carefully any complaint that you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and do all we can to explain the position to you.

If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction or you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter up with our Senior Partner, our professional body (ICAEW), and the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the act or omission or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue, and in either case within six months of our written response to your complaint to us.  The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:

Letter: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ,
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Telephone: 0300 555 0333.