Probate refers to those who are charged with the administration of a person’s estate when they die. That means a family member, friend, accountant or other professional can become a personal representative.
What is Probate?
These representatives are either the executors, as detailed in the will, or those determined by the rules governing the situation where someone dies without leaving a valid will (intestate).
In order to have the authority to administer the deceased’s estate and distribute the assets, the personal representatives needs to apply to the probate registry, for a grant of representation. There are two types of grant:
- A grant of probate, applied for by the executors where there is a will
- Letters of administration, provided in cases where there is no will
Probate, is in essence, the process of obtaining a grant of representation by a deceased's executors so that they can administer the estate and deal with the affairs of the deceased.
Is a grant of Probate always required?
There are some exceptions when typically it is not required to obtain probate:
- The deceased assets are worth less than £5,000
- All of the assets pass directly to a joint owner, e.g. spouse. (NB: property owned as 'tenants in common' do not pass directly via survivorship, but pass via the estate)
These are two of the more typical exceptions, it is however best to check with your professional adviser before assuming that probate is not required.
How long does it take?
The timescale for applying for probate varies greatly from one estate to another and depends on the complexity of the estate. As a general guide the process takes between three and twelve months.
Now your accountant or tax adviser can file for probate
As trusted advisers, we have traditionally been able to assist with preparing the grant of probate and particularly the Inheritance Tax Return. However, we have not been able to file for the grant of probate itself as this is a reserved legal service and has previously only be able to be provided by solicitors.
Since December 2014, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has become an approved regulator for probate services. This means that, once licenced, an approved Chartered Accountant and ICAEW member can now provide clients with a full probate service, whether this service is provided as a standalone one or in conjunction with fellow professionals from within the legal profession.
Streets, as a leading accountancy and tax practice, is amongst the members of the ICAEW to be licensed to provide probate services*.
The Streets Probate Team is headed up by Partner Linda Lord who, as a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), is experienced in both estates and trusts, as well as dealing with the tax and broader financial affairs affecting clients and their families. Linda is supported by the members of the firm’s tax practice who are well-versed in inheritance tax, wills, trusts and estate planning.
Streets Chartered Accountants' Probate Service includes:
- Advice and support with Inheritance Tax Planning and will preparation
- Advice and support in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Advice, support and assistance with estate administration; completing probate forms and applying/filing for grant of probate; including, obtaining Grant of Probate, Collection of Assets, dealing with property and distribution of assets
- General advice and support on the role of the estate executor/administrator
- Acting as executor and/or trustee for those clients wishing to retain a professional Executor to assist the family in dealing with probate and estate administration
- Advice on the use of Trusts for tax and succession planning
The benefits of using Streets Chartered Accountants’ Probate Service
It is often the case that over the course of our client relationships we are amongst the few outside close family who have a real appreciation of the financial and tax affairs of our clients.
This knowledge can be extremely helpful in assisting and advising on probate, not least because we have a real appreciation of the deceased's intentions. It is also not untypical for us to already be working with other family members.
This relationship is helpful at such a time of loss and grief, helping to relieve the pressure and stress of dealing with probate.
*Licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal service of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.
Details of our probate accreditation can be viewed at www.icaew.com/probate under reference number C001224050.
Probate Services – Streets Tax LLP
Diversity Survey Evaluation
Streets Tax LLP has conducted a diversity survey, the purpose being to gather evidence to encourage a strong, independent, diverse and effective profession.
In 2016 73% of the staff members were female and 27% were male. In 2015 80% were female and 20% were male.
For further information on Streets’ Probate Service and/or advice on dealing with an estate please use the contact form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org