Professional advice can prevent costly delays and unnecessary tax payments when dealing with an estate of a loved one that has passed away
16th October 2023
The administration of an estate can be a daunting process, particularly when families are at their most vulnerable and failing to seek legal advice can cause additional distress.
Whilst applying for Probate is a process individuals can undertake themselves, it is one which can be complex often resulting in families facing unnecessary delays or inheritance tax bills which, with the help of professional advice, could be avoided.
Applying for a Grant of Probate may not be as straightforward as would first appear, and we would urge people to seek advice so they are not unnecessarily exposed.
There are a number of rules which need to be followed in order to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. For example, sometimes when applying for a Grant of Probate a tax declaration needs to first be submitted to HMRC detailing all financial assets – a complicated task in itself as it requires all bank accounts, shares, pensions, property, assets to all be collated in advance of the declaration being submitted.
In certain circumstances the application for the Grant of Probate cannot be submitted for 20 days from the date the Inheritance Tax papers are submitted to HMRC. However, given there is currently a four month wait in Probate being granted there is no room for error because if there are any clerical errors in the application, the form will be returned for correction and will fall to the back of the queue when resubmitted. This is particularly critical if a property or bank accounts are in the sole name of the deceased and his/her beneficiaries are reliant on funds being released through the liquidation of accounts or a property sale in order to meet any liabilities.
All too often individuals get into difficulties due to not being aware, for example, of how to best use the deceased’s nil rate band for inheritance tax purposes or simply make clerical errors on the application form resulting in significant repercussions.
And with over 40% of estates now being liable for inheritance tax more and more families are finding themselves in a difficult situation.
Our compassionate and highly experienced Private Client Team are regularly called upon to assist with all matters arising in the administration of an estate, however this is frequently once an application has already been submitted and issues have occurred.
Flexible in our approach, we are willing to either advise our clients on an hourly basis to set them on the right track, obtain a Grant of Representation on their behalf or provide a comprehensive administration of estate service to ensure that everything is dealt with in a timely and effective manner.