Probate services

Taking care of your family finances through difficult times

Probate services are carried out by HH Accounting & Tax Services Limited, part of the Hillier Hopkins family.

Our experienced probate team are licenced by the ICAEW to carry out non-contentious probate work. We help to reduce your burden during a time of grief by handling the entire probate process along with any tax returns that are necessary following the death of a family member.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process you need to go through to deal with someone’s property, money or possessions when they die. It can feel daunting to face the probate process following the death of a loved one. You may feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that’s required at what can be a sad and distressing time for the family.

Our probate specialists offer comfort by taking care of the whole procedure from start to finish, handling all of the administration and taxes in a smooth and efficient manner. Throughout the entire process, we are on hand offer advice and help guide you through with ease.

What does the probate process entail?

  • Notifying all of the financial institutions where the deceased held assets.
  • Take care of the legal paperwork.
  • Valuation of all the money, property and possessions in the estate.
  • Preparing accounts for the estate and calculating any estate taxes that are due.
  • Calculating inheritance tax and reliefs and submitting IHT returns.
  • Applying for grant of probate in order to administer the estate.
  • Acting as executor of the will if you require.
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the will.

HH Accounting & Tax Services Limited can take on some or all of this process depending on whether executors named in the will wish to deal with some aspects themselves.

What if there is no will?

Unfortunately, there are occasions when a person dies without a will. This can sometimes be when the death has occurred suddenly or unexpectedly. If you are the closest living relative, our team can handle the probate process on your behalf, taking the strain and giving you peace of mind that everything is dealt with in accordance with the law.

Why choose an accountant to deal with probate?

Accountants and tax advisers are uniquely placed to be able to deal effectively with the whole probate process as long as they are licenced to do so. Our understanding of complex financial arrangements, family finances and trusts along with our inheritance tax expertise mean that we can minimise the tax impact on the estate and its beneficiaries. Where we advise families over many years, our thorough understanding of their financial arrangements removes much of the work that another probate adviser would have to do, and makes for a much more efficient and smooth process.

What do probate services cost?

Charges for probate services can vary across advisers, sometimes probate providers will charge a percentage which can be up to 5% of the value of the estate. At HH Accounting & Tax Services Limited, we will quote a fixed fee for our services and agree these with you before we start any work. As each client has different requirements it is difficult to provide an exact price here, however the following outlines some typical scenarios with estimated fees and time scales. Please contact Meeten Nathwani for an accurate quote for your particular situation.

Example probate costs for an estate worth approximately £2m with fairly straightforward arrangements.

  • £3,500 +VAT Probate application and inheritance tax service (Preparing and submitting the IHT return and probate application on your behalf)
  • £2,500 +VAT Estate valuation service (Contacting financial institutions on your behalf and obtaining valuations of property, shares and possessions)
  • £3,000 +VAT Estate administration service (Collect and realise assets, prepare estate accounts and tax returns, settle creditors and pay beneficiaries)
  • Any probate office fees incurred by us will be recoverable from the estate. For more information on probate office fees visit the government’s probate office page https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate/fees

How long does the probate process take?

Preparing IHT returns and submitting the probate application typically takes around 4 weeks, however, in our experience it can take a further 3 months for the courts and HMRC to process these.

Contacting financial institutions and obtaining valuations can be a fairly lengthy process and can add up to 3 months to the process.

The process of collecting and disposing of (or selling) assets and distributing these to beneficiaries is more difficult to predict, particularly if there is a property sale involved which can take many months. However, we would typically say between 3 to 6 months for this stage of the process.

What to do if you have a complaint

We try to ensure that your affairs are handled by us in the most efficient way possible. If you are dissatisfied with any part of our service please tell us. If you have a complaint about any aspect of our service, which cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, the circumstances of your complaint should be brought to the attention of Meeten Nathwani, Head of Legal Practice, HH Accounting & Tax Services Limited, Radius House, 51 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1HP. Telephone 01923 232938.

We undertake to look into any complaint carefully and promptly and to do all we can to explain the position to you. If we do not answer your complaint to your satisfaction, you may take up the matter with our professional body, the ICAEW, at Metropolitan House, 321 Avebury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 2FZ or the Legal Ombudsman.

The ICAEW has a compensation scheme in respect of probate work, please visit ICAEW Probate Compensation Scheme for more information on the arrangements.

Probate services are carried out by HH Accounting & Tax Services Limited which is licenced to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Professional Indemnity Insurance covering claims of up to £30 million is held.

View the ICAEW register of accredited probate firms.

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