Probate & Estate Administration

Maidenhead probate

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 Anavrin we can take this extra burden away from you.

We are one of the few accountancy firms in Maidenhead to be licensed to carry out probate work, following a major change in the law in 2014 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 as estate planning, inheritance tax planning, wealth management, financial planning & trusts etc.

What is probate?

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.

An overview of the process:

  1. Register the death and start to gather information.
  1. Find out if there is a valid will. If so, review it carefully. If not, follow intestacy rules.
  1. Safeguard and protect the estate. Secure and insure assets & property.
  1. Identify all assets and liabilities to value the estate.
  1. Open estate bank account. Maintain financial records and notify organisations.
  1. Calculate and pay any inheritance tax due. Apply for grant of probate.
  1. Collect assets. Pay debts and expenses.
  1. Prepare estate accounts.
  1. Pay the estate to the beneficiaries.

It can be a very complex procedure and with this in mind we have created “A Guide to Probate” including a “A Glossary of Probate and Estate Administration Terms” to help explain what’s involved and the terminology that is used. You can view the guide here.

Why choose Anavrin?

An existing client? A lot of the work is already done!

If the deceased was a client of ours, you can be assured that we know 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?

We are happy to work with the deceased’s existing accountancy firm, if they are not licensed to provide probate services, to extract the necessary financial and legal information required. Probate and estate administration is largely an accounting and taxation exercise, which of course is what we do all the time.

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 simplest 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 Anavrin 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 accurately. 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.

Our hourly rates are lower than banks and solicitors and we don’t charge a percentage of the value of the estate. In straightforward cases we can usually offer a fixed price in advance for our work.

Our Services & fees

We offer a range of probate and estate administration services as further explained below.

  • 1 HOUR FREE CONSULTATION
    • In all cases we offer a free, no-obligation, 1 hour consultation to ascertain the level of service that will be required.

Probate only

We can help you through this difficult time, by obtaining the grant of probate for you. We can complete and submit the probate application form and any relevant inheritance tax (IHT) form.

We ask that you provide us with all the relevant information, and you remain responsible for the collection of any assets, the payment of any liabilities and inheritance tax due and finally distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.

We offer two options:

  • FIXED FEE OPTION (PROBATE ONLY)
    • We offer a fixed fee option for non-complex cases where we apply for the grant of probate and complete a short tax form if necessary (IHT205) but you administer the estate yourself.
    • Our fixed fee inc. vat is £825
    • Probate court fee £155 (due to increase to £273 in 2022)
    • Total inc. vat & probate court fee £980
  • FEE QUOTE (PROBATE ONLY)
    • For more complex or higher value cases where a full tax account (IHT400) is required we will provide a fee quote. This is also for probate only and doesn’t include administering the estate.
    • Our fees depend on each case but will usually range from £1,500 to £2,400 inc. vat
    • Probate court fee £155 (due to increase to £273 in 2022)
    • Total inc. vat & probate court fee £1,655 to £2,555

These are the things that we would do as part of our probate only service:

  • Identify the type of probate application you will need
  • Complete the probate form and any relevant IHT forms
  • Complete the legal statement (statement of truth) in respect of the application by you
  • Apply online to HM Courts & Tribunals Service for the grant of probate
  • Send the grant to you when it is received

Probate and Estate Administration

This is our full estate administration service, under which we will apply for the grant by completing the probate application form and any relevant inheritance tax form (e.g. IHT205 or IHT400).

We will also take responsibility for the collection and valuation of any assets, the payment of any liabilities and inheritance tax due and finally the distribution of the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.

We offer an hourly rate option for our full probate & estate administration service which includes applying for the grant of probate and the full administration of the estate. Our hourly rate is £150 plus vat. This compares very favourably with rates charged by solicitors which are often £250-£300 per hour plus a % of the estate on top.

We charge for the time taken to perform the work. We do not charge an extra % fee based on the value of the estate as some firms do. We don’t understand the rationale for charging on that basis and believe it to be unnecessary, unfair and old-fashioned.

Every case is different and depends on such things as:

  • The existence and validity of any Will
  • The value, type and number of assets
  • Asset location - are any assets located overseas?
  • Any asset valuations needed
  • The number of beneficiaries
  • Any existing or potential disputes
  • The level of lifetime gifts made

Here are some examples of our costs in different scenarios:

  • Gross assets up to £3 million but with no tax due
    • We estimate that this will take 10 to 20 hours and therefore the costs would be £1,500 to £3,000 plus vat and disbursements.
  • Gross assets over £3 million or with inheritance tax due, one property, UK based assets
    • We estimate that this will take 15 to 30 hours and therefore the costs would be £2,250 to £4,500 plus vat and disbursements.
  • Gross assets over £3 million, inheritance tax due, 2 properties, multiple bank accounts
    • We estimate that this will take 25 to 50 hours and therefore the costs would be £3,750 to £7,500 plus vat and disbursements.
  • Gross assets over £5 million, inheritance tax due, 2+ properties, multiple bank accounts, foreign assets, investment portfolio, business interests etc
    • We estimate that this will take 50 to 100 hours and therefore the costs would be £7,500 to £15,000 plus vat and disbursements.

Ultimately these are just estimates and every case is different. The larger and more complex the estate is, the more time will be needed to provide a professional service to administer it and therefore the fees will be commensurately higher.

These are the things that we would do as part of our full estate administration service:

  • Register the death and start to gather the relevant information.
  • Find out if there is a valid will. If so, review it carefully. If not, follow the intestacy rules.
  • Clearly communicate the position to you.
  • Safeguard and protect the estate. Secure and insure the assets & property.
  • Identify all assets and liabilities to value the estate.
  • Open an estate bank account to collect estate funds.
  • Maintain financial records and notify organisations.
  • Calculate and pay any inheritance tax due.
  • Apply for the appropriate grant of probate.
  • Collect all estate assets.
  • Pay all debts and expenses.
  • Ensure any income tax matters are settled with HMRC.
  • Prepare estate accounts.
  • Distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

 How long will it take?

This will depend on the complexities of each case; however, most estates are completed within 6 to 9 months. It typically takes 10-12 weeks to obtain the grant of probate and the rest of the time to administer the estate. Timescales are often dependant on third parties such as the Probate Office and Financial Institutions.

Disbursements

Through the course of our engagement, we may incur additional costs on your behalf such as travel, accommodation, and other expenses. We will invoice you for these costs and for other costs payable to a third parties such as: -

  • Copies of additional death certificates if required, £11 in England and Wales
  • Copies of additional grants if required, £1.50 each
  • Notices in local newspapers to protect against unexpected claims, est. £100
  • Notice in the London Gazette to protect against unexpected claims, est. £100
  • Property valuation, if there is a property to be sold or transferred, est. £500 on average, based on location and the size of property

Service Levels

If you would like to provide any feedback on our services, we would be very happy to hear from you. If you would like to discuss how our service could be improved, or if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Rob Griffiths (rob.griffiths@anavrin.co.uk). We undertake to investigate any complaint carefully and promptly and do all we can to explain matters to you.

If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction, you may take up the matter with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, by contacting them at www.icaew.com/compliants.

If required, we can also provide you with the details of how and when you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

ICAEW Compensation Fund

ICAEW administers a Probate Compensation Scheme to accord with the requirements of the Legal Services Act 2007.

The scheme is available for clients of firms accredited for probate by ICAEW, who can apply for compensation if they have suffered a loss that was in consequence of:

  • fraud or other dishonesty on the part of an accredited probate firm or of any principal or employee of an accredited probate firm, in connection with their activities in the course of authorised work; or
  • a failure to account for money which was received by an accredited probate firm, or the principal or employee of an accredited probate firm, in connection with their activities in the course of authorised work.

Each case will be considered on its merits and ICAEW’s Probate Committee has an absolute discretion to decide whether to make a grant under the scheme and on such terms it deems appropriate. No person has a legally enforceable right to a grant. It is a fund of last resort and the applicant should have explored other ways to recover the loss, for example making an insurance claim or taking court action. A grant will be refused if the Probate Committee considers the loss is capable of being made good by other means.

Limits

There are certain limits on how much can be paid out and in what circumstances, which are set out fully in the Probate Compensation Scheme Regulations. These include but are not limited to:

  • A maximum grant of £500,000 in connection with a single estate.
  • Claims must usually be made within 12 months.
  • Notice should also be given to the accredited probate firm.
  • Grants will not be made if the applicant is a body corporate or registered charity with an annual turnover of or exceeding £1m.
  • Certain losses are not covered, for example trading debts or liabilities of the accredited probate firm (see regulation 5.1 for further details).

How to apply

You should contact ICAEW as soon as possible if you are considering making an application for a grant.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (“PI”)

As a firm we have PI cover in place and always meet the level of indemnity as required by the ICAEW.

Tax specialists, helping to keep your tax liability to a minimum

As Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisers 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.

As well as calculating the taxable liabilities of the deceased’s estate, we can also work with you and any of the beneficiaries to set in place plans 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 you, your family and your loved ones, so we take as much of the administrative burden away from you as possible.

In summary

By using Anavrin 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.

Contact us

For a free probate consultation, please contact Rob Griffiths on:

Tel: 07881 637328

Email: rob.griffiths@anavrin.co.uk

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Address

Anavrin Limited, 113 Altwood Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 4QD

Contact us today!

01628 671867 - info@anavrin.co.uk

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