Wormald and Partners – Probate Services
Probate refers to the proving of a Will before a probate court and can be obtained by the deceased’s Personal Representatives who can be family members, friends or professional persons.
Personal Representatives are usually the executors detailed within the Will or can be those determined by the rules governing the situation where someone dies without leaving a valid Will, under the rules of Intestacy.
What exactly is Probate?
In essence, Probate is the process of obtaining a grant of representation by the deceased’s executors so that they can administer the Estate and deal with the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries under the Will.
There are two types of grant of representation and these are:
- A grant of probate which is applied for by the executors where there is a Will
- Letters of administration provided in cases where there is no Will
Is a grant of probate always required?
There are some exceptions when it is not required to obtain probate and, typically, relate to the following situations:
- The deceased’s assets are worth less than £5,000
- Where all of the assets pass directly to a joint owner – usually a spouse
It is important to check with a professional adviser in order to confirm whether probate is required in any particular case.
How long does it take to obtain probate?
The length of time taken to obtain probate can vary considerably between estates depending upon the complexity of each estate. Typically, however, it takes between 6 and 12 months – and sometimes longer – to obtain probate.
Accountants can now apply for probate
Traditionally, we have been able to assist with the preparation of the application for probate and in calculating the Inheritance Tax liability of an estate.
However, under new regulations now in force, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has become an approved regulator for probate services and this means that an approved Chartered Accountant and ICAEW member can provide a full probate service.
As a leading professional firm, Wormald and Partners is now amongst the members of the ICAEW to be licensed to provide non-contentious probate services. In order to become licensed, we have satisfied the ICAEW that we have the necessary experience – and qualified personnel – to provide such services to a high standard and that those standards will be maintained into the future. This process is referred to as “accreditation”.
Wormald and Partners are licensed by ICAEW 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 C005700139.
Wormald’s Probate Team
The probate team is led by partner Neil Dando who is ably supported by experienced members of the accountancy and tax staff of the firm.
In addition to those services associated with the obtaining of probate, we offer a full range of services relating to Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning, advising on Will planning and related services such as in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney. In conjunction with legal advisers, we also provide support in connection with tax-efficient methods of minimising the IHT liabilities of estates including Deeds of Arrangement where relevant.
In relation to probate and estate administration services, we include the following services (non- exhaustive) :
- Establishing the value of the estate
- Calculating the IHT liability of the estate and determining the process required to obtain probate, if required
- As necessary, completing the forms needed for submission to H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in order to agree the IHT liability
- Completing the application for the grant of probate and receiving the grant of probate in due course
- Collecting the assets of the estate and accounting for such assets as part of the process of distributing the assets to the beneficiaries under the Will
- As part of the above, advising the Trustees of the estate on related tax reporting obligations and assisting in the execution of the Trustees’ duties in this respect