Specialist Probate Services
We understand that it can be very hard to cope when a loved one dies and sometimes the paperwork can be overwhelming. It may be that it is all in a muddle or hard to find. In other cases you may well have been dealing with an older relative’s paperwork for some time so have everything sorted. Whatever your situation, our specialist Probate Services can help right from the start. Browse the various Probate Services below, or read our case study to find out more. You can also contact us to discuss your probate requirements with a member of our specialist Probate Team.
Most estates will take a number of months to complete. Some can take a lot longer, partly because of the time to collect all the information and partly for legal reasons. We will provide you with a monthly update on how the case is progressing so you always feel in the loop.
We will calculate the correct amount of IHT due on the estate and on any lifetime capital gifts within the previous seven years, as well as complete and file all the relevant IHT forms with HMRC. We will also explain how to use the deceased’s bank accounts or investments to pay the IHT. Unlike many solicitors, we can also ask our Banking and Finance team to help arrange a loan to fund any IHT due if necessary.
We will sort out the income tax position to the date of death and file any outstanding tax returns, including capital gains. In many cases where someone dies part way through a tax year there is tax overpaid under PAYE and we can reclaim any tax refunds for you.
Once probate has been obtained it is possible to close bank accounts, sell investments and properties and transfer assets or cash to beneficiaries. We prepare detailed estate accounts for every case so you know exactly what has been collected and where it has been distributed. Our service also includes a final package with copies of all the important documents: the will, the death
certificate, the probate certificate, IHT calculations and estate accounts – completed in a printed booklet and as a PDF copy so you can keep it safely for future reference.
Although beneficiaries don’t pay any tax receiving a legacy it can be possible to use tax efficient planning in distributing the estate to help avoid or minimise future IHT or CGT bills. We will provide R185 forms detailing income received from the estate, the tax deducted, and can also assist with any returns that ,may need to be made to HMRC as a result. We can offer in-depth tax planning advice for individuals.
If the person who died ran a business it can be quite stressful especially if they had sole control over the bank account of the business. We can offer help and advice to keep a business going until a sale can be achieved or provide advice and help on how other partners or directors can acquire the business from the estate. We have much more experience of running and selling businesses than many solicitors, including help to value business assets and unquoted shares at the date of death, and we can agree these valuations with HMRC where appropriate.
Sometimes property in an estate is straightforward and is occupied or even inherited directly by the beneficiaries who are living in it, for example the surviving spouse. Sometimes it can be a lot more complex if it is rented out or empty and at the opposite end of the country to the executors. We work with a property specialist firm who can secure, value and take care of any property in the estate until probate is granted wherever it is in the country. They can deal with the sale and even offer innovated ways to benefit from improving a dilapidated property before selling it.
If the will created a trust we will not only ensure it is properly registered with HMRC but can look after the annual accounts and tax returns and provide ongoing advice for new trustees.
Being an executor is not something to agree to lightly. There are significant responsibilities placed on executors and the job can be very time consuming if you do all the work yourself. Many individuals ask family members or friends to be their executors and in most cases, this will be the best solution and they can still appoint Baldwins to help. However, we can also act as professional executors. This might be essential if there are different family members who don’t get on and would not trust one member to deal fairly or, if there are no suitable family members. A professional executor can also deal with an estate with complex property or business interests which might be beyond the ability of family members.
We are unable to act for contentious cases, however, we can refer you to a suitable solicitor and may be able to work on other aspects of the estate administration.
We understand how overwhelming it can be when dealing with a death. So, we don’t want you to take our word for it.
We were approached by Barbara and her sibling to assist with the administration of their mother’s estate including gathering initial information, completing IHT forms and probate application and generally advising the executors throughout the process. The estate was complicated by an issue following the death of their father whose estate had been dealt with by a solicitor and we helped to bring that matter to a close. We had provided some useful IHT planning following the father’s death and we also helped to reduce IHT on their mother’s estate.
“I was extremely satisfied with the prompt and efficient service. The advice received was proactive and the team always dealt with queries in a timely manner” – Barbara S