5 Common Probate Concerns Explained
Author: Janet Collins (FCCA), LHP Director & Probate Specialist
As a specialist accountancy firm licensed for probate, LHP deals with all aspects of probate and estate administration. We research and assess the value of estates, prepare inheritance tax accounts, deal with income and capital gains tax liabilities, gather assets and pay creditors. We also advise beneficiaries on tax implications connected with selling assets and prepare tax returns and final estate accounts on a client’s behalf.
Our probate team is keen to help you navigate through this difficult phase with the least amount of stress and with as much support as you require. Here are five common probate concerns explained.
1. Should I use a probate accountant or probate solicitor?
This is a common question we can easily answer. Because your accountant has inheritance tax knowledge and if you are already a client of LHP we will have dealt with your affairs such as property, savings and pensions. A qualified probate accountant is in the excellent position of carrying out your probate while ensuring you get the best reliefs and exemptions possible.
2. What does ‘Grant of Probate’ mean?
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that may be required to administer the estate of someone who has died. Once this document has been obtained, the executors can then deal with the legal, tax and administrative duties involved in estate administration – something we handle as a one-stop-shop at LHP.
When someone dies and they have a legally valid will, the will should name one or more executors who can handle affairs. Without a will, inheritance law will determine the appropriate person to administer the estate, usually next of kin. This person is then called the administrator and instead of a Grant of Probate they may need to obtain a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is similar to obtaining a Grant of Probate.
3. How long does probate take?
In Wales, it can take 9-12 months to obtain the Grant of Probate and to complete the estate administration process, regardless of a will or not. There can be delays for example if a sale of property is involved and there are hold-ups on the sale.
4. Can I get fixed price fee?
A common question is one around obtaining a fixed price quote. And yes, we don’t believe in smoke and mirrors and provide Probate Fees on our website starting from £1,600. We offer four packages, one of which will best suit your needs based on the scope of service you require. If you require us for example to do your calculations on the estate value, help you pay all known debts and liabilities of the estate, legacies, finalise estate tax and distribute the estate – that will fit under the higher tier package.
If you simply require us to do the Registry of Grant Representation and receipt of Grant of Probate, that is the basic package. There are other packages between involving help with death certificates, valuations of estate, assets and liabilities, calculation of inheritance tax and so on.
At LHP we will help you find the right fit and charge no more than you require in a setting you prefer at your convenience.
5. How long after probate until you can expect to get inheritance money?
A common question and the answer is, it depends. It could take as little as 3 months for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. The majority of estates in Wales are more complex than this though. Typically, 6-9 months to start receiving inheritance – but it can be longer if the estate is really complex.
Factors that can affect complexity and up wait times to years rather than months vary. The Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration once obtained, need to be sent out to all banks and financial institutions that have asked to see it.
Generally, admin involved in collecting bank monies etc. amounts to 3-6 weeks. However, shareholdings, property and some other assets can be time-consuming to arrange. At LHP we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with all the legal, tax, property and estate administration affairs.
Issues that can delay inheritance include selling shares, property, and foreign assets, finding missing beneficiaries, potential creditors coming forward, and an investigation by the Department for Work and Pensions into potential overpaid benefits of the deceased. Also claiming on a life insurance policy.
All of this can be very stressful. It’s important you chose a probate specialist who can lead on this as your trusted advisor and even take all of it off your hands if you wish.
Your next move is to speak to a trusted probate specialist as soon as possible. At LHP we’re experienced in managing a deceased’s financial affairs – from researching and assessing value of estates to inheritance tax accounts, capital gains tax liabilities and final estate accounts.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today. We are based across South Wales, with offices in Carmarthen, Cross Hands near Swansea, Haverfordwest, Tenby and Lampeter.