Applying for Probate is a time consuming, stressful and expensive task to handle at an already difficult time. Estate Planning Solutions are here to provide you with probate support. We support many of our clients through the probate process.
We offer a wealth of professional advice and guidance. Aiming to make applying for probate as stress-free as possible and helping to put your mind at ease.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die. You should not make any financial plans or put property on the market until you have been granted probate.
The executor(s) named in a person’s Will, is responsible for Probate. An executor(s) is usually a family member or friend. However, some people appoint professional executors to carry out the process on their behalf. Even if you have appointed family members or friends, they can get professional help if needed. By delegating some or all of the work associated with Probate to an experienced and qualified probate provider.
If you need help, the team at Estate Planning Solutions can guide you through the Probate process. Probate is something most people, are thankfully, only asked to do once in their lifetime. It can be a very difficult process, taking on average 12 to 18 months and is something you are not prepared for. Also there is serious personal financial responsibility for any errors or mistakes in relation to tax returns and liabilities. For these reasons many people decide to get help from an experienced Probate practitioner.
We offer Probate and estate administration services through our preferred partner law firm, Acer Prime Law. They offer a free telephone consultation service and are a compassionate, efficient and cost effective probate provider. Accessing this free service gives you help, guidance and advice on dealing with probate.
As part of our ongoing client support package and working alongside Acer Prime Law, we have negotiated a 10% discount on assistance with probate. This is for full estate administration services and is available to subscribers of our Client Care PLUS service. We have also negotiated a 2% cap and fixed fees. Some banks charge as much as 4-5% of the estate value for probate and with the average cost of probate being around £9000, this saving can be substantial.
There is also a 10% discount on Probate Assist. This is a reduced probate service, providing help and support to your named executor(s). The service helps them deal with initial matters and the completion of complex Inheritance Tax returns. These are needed to obtain a Grant of Probate.
What is the Probate Process?
Probate takes at least a few months to complete. In most cases, the entire Probate administration process will take around 12 to 18 months. The Probate process involves three main stages:
1. Apply for a Grant of Probate
You need to complete the application for a Grant of Probate, the legal document giving you authority to deal with the estate. This involves collecting in current values of all assets and liabilities and notifying a number of organisations. Once you have gathered all the necessary information you can apply for the Grant. Extensive guidance notes are available on the government website.
Executors are personally responsible and financially liable for any errors or omissions in completing the application. In addition they are also responsible for any subsequent tax returns for Income Tax and Inheritance Tax. Most importantly, any paperwork must be completed accurately and correctly.
2. Dealing with financial responsibilities
Once the Grant of Probate has been issued, you will need to:
- Collect any assets
- Complete tax returns and pay any relevant taxes
- Pay any debts remaining on the estate
Other beneficiaries who are waiting for their inheritances will need to be kept advised. Any work should be done quickly, efficiently and professionally. Non-professional executors can charge for out-of-pocket expenses but normally there is no provision for any fees to be paid.
3. Paying the beneficiaries
Once all the deceased’s debts and tax liabilities are paid, a full set of estate accounts is prepared. You can then distribute the estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the deceased’s Will. This includes setting up any relevant trust arrangement, either at Land Registry or through a trustee bank account or trustee investment.
Alternatively, you may ask a professional to do some or all of the work for you, for a fixed fee. This way you know you won’t have to pay any more than the fee quoted. Avoid open-ended ‘time fees’ as these are based on hourly rates, typically ranging from £200 to £400 per hour. There will be no limit on the amount of time charged.
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