Let your accountant handle probate
Contributed by: Berley

Will and testament sealed with rope and wax stampWhen a loved one passes away, the process of handling their estate can seem bewildering. In the media this is often portrayed as a time of family conflict, where people argue over their inheritance, hire lawyers and take their issues to court. In reality, many families are happy to go along with the last will and testament of the person who passed away and do not intend to contest it. This is known as non-contentious probate. What you may not be aware of is that you don’t need a solicitor to handle this – since 2014, accountants have been allowed to carry out non-contentious probate services.

Top benefits of having your accountant do probate

Lawyers need to use an accountant anyway. Probate lawyers still need accountants to value the estate and submit the correct forms to HMRC. There are many elements to probate that are not done by lawyers, and the cost of getting advice from an accountancy firm is likely to be passed on to you.

Non-contentious probate is a financial issue. When probate proceeds on an uncontested basis, there is no need for a lawyer at all. If the deceased was a client of the accountant, they will already have all their financial information at hand which makes the process quick and efficient. If the deceased did not have an accountant, it is still easy for an accountant to retrieve this information.

Accountants are more cost-effective. Most law firms charge a percentage of the estate. Even if you think the estate is small, this could end up being a large sum of money once you factor in things like property and savings. In many cases the family members also don’t know the total value of the estate until the process of probate is done. Here at Berley Chartered Accountants, we charge on a time-basis when we handle probate, providing you a clear fee structure in advance.

Your accountant can keep your taxes in order. There are a number of tax concerns to sort out when someone passes away. You and the family members might have to pay income tax on the estate and fill in self-assessments. Capital Gains Tax may apply if you sell property or assets during probate, and if the estate is valued at over £325,000, Inheritance Tax will be due – which has to be paid within six months. If you already have an accountant handle your taxes, it’s usually best to let them handle probate too.

Berley’s probate service

Berley are London probate accountants and are licensed to carry out non-contentious probate in England and Wales. The probate experts at Berley Chartered Accountants know how to be efficient and understanding during a difficult time, and we will help you through all the way – ensuring that expenses, taxes and other liabilities are paid out of the estate before being distributed to those who are legally entitled to them. Law firms and banks may charge as much as 6% – that’s £6,000 to pay on a £100,000 estate. We work with a clear fee structure instead, so you know exactly what you are paying.

For more advice on how Berley London Chartered Accountants can help you with probate services, call us today on 020 7788 8261 or fill in our Online Contact Form.