What is Probate?
Probate and estate administration is a legal and financial process which happens after someone has died. It can be a very complicated and lengthy procedure to complete.
As licensed practitioners for probate related work and specialists in all aspects of taxation, accounts preparation and Estate Planning, Butler & Co are best placed to take care of your probate and estate administration work.
We understand how difficult it can be to handle someone’s legal and financial affairs, particularly at a time when you are likely to be coming to terms with the death of someone close.
Our close relationships with our clients give us a detailed knowledge of their income and assets. We may have also undertaken Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning so that we know what their wishes are when it comes to the distribution of their estates.
We recognise that the death of a loved one often means important changes in family life and that different family dynamics can create tensions at a difficult time.
Our aim is to reduce the worry by holding your hands through the process, giving as much support as you need and if required, dealing with the authorities, passing assets to the beneficiaries, and making the necessary returns to HMRC.
Applying for Probate
Whether you choose to carry out the probate and estate administration process yourself, or you instruct us to do the work for you, the application for probate is still the same and involves:
- Finding the Will.
- Preparing and submitting the appropriate HMRC Inheritance Tax Return forms.
- Applying for the grant of representation.
- Administering the estate.
- Preparing the estate accounts.
- Distributing the assets to the beneficiaries of the estate.
What can we do to help?
- Meet with you to discuss the probate process, review the Will and estimated estate, and provide an action plan. The initial consultation is free of charge, following which we will give you an indication of our costs and the basis on which charges are made.
- Review the deceased’s papers and identify those that are relevant and if necessary additional information that will be required.
- Identify any trusts, gifts and beneficiaries that arise in the Will.
- If there is no Will, we will assist in identifying who will inherit the estate under the intestacy rules and who is eligible to apply for the Grant of Letters of Administration.
- Notify the various asset holders of the death and obtain official probate valuations of the assets and liabilities at the date of death.
- Analyse any significant lifetime gifts made by the deceased in the seven years before their death and the tax implications of such gifts.
- Notify the authorities and other relevant third parties to obtain further valuations and income tax information.
- Where relevant prepare the deceased’s self-assessment return for the period to the date of death to determine any income tax or capital gains tax liabilities at the date of death.
- Collate records and data for the purposes of completing the inheritance tax return.
- Calculate the inheritance tax liability of the estate.
- Review assets to ensure any qualifying reliefs, allowances and exemptions are claimed.
- Complete the inheritance tax returns and supporting schedules and submit to HMRC on your behalf.
- Prepare the online probate application and submit to HMCTS on your behalf, providing the supporting documentation as required.
- Place statutory notices in the local newspapers and London Gazette to allow possible creditors to come forward.
- Correspondence, advice, and meetings to keep you informed of progress.
The timescale from date of death to applying for probate can take two to three months depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
The level of service and support that you require from Butler & Co can be agreed at the outset. This is flexible and you can choose for us to assist in all areas or to focus in those areas where you need most help.