When someone dies their Estate needs to be administered. You cannot simply walk into a bank with a Will and a Death Certificate, advise you are the executor and request for funds to be released.
For an executor to gather in assets ready to be distributed to beneficiaries they must first obtain a grant of probate. The term Probate is Latin for Proven and refers to the process of 'proving a Will'. This is a legal process that will require court involvement and swearing on oath that all of the information you are declaring to the court is correct - this information includes correctly valuing all assets (including professional valuations where appropriate) and correctly completing the appropriate IHT forms.
It is the executor's responsibility to conduct the process correctly and diligently, claiming all available tax reliefs where available. Executors can be held liable should they fail to complete the process correctly and so it makes sense to enlist the services of a professional to complete this process for them. It really doesn't have to be expensive and any cost pales into insignificance in comparison with the time you would have to apply to try and do it yourself.
Common issues encountered by executors include:
Incorrectly completing tax forms
Failed applications to the probate registry office
Locating and notifying beneficiaries (including appropriate public advertisements)
Beneficiaries demanding their inheritance
Beneficiaries challenging your every move
Contests to the estate by disgruntled beneficiaries and worse, non-beneficiaries who expected to inherit
Issues with the probate application
Disputes between executors
Conflicts of interest when an executor is also a partial beneficiary
Liability for errors e.g. incorrectly calculated Inheritance Tax
If you have been appointed as an executor you no doubt feel a sense of moral responsibility to fulfill the role and ensure the job is completed correctly; ultimately it is your duty to ensure the process is handled correctly and what better way to ensure your loved one's estate is handled correctly than appointing the services of a professional.
How we can help you?
Pattison James Associates Ltd work with our panel of solicitors and experts in dealing with all aspects of Probate. Our specialist Probate Team have a sympathetic and patient approach when dealing with bereaved family.
Most professionals will charge a percentage of your estate, this can vary widely but typically ranges between 1.5% to 5% of the value of the estate (subject to a minimum fee) for the work that they do.
Pattison James Associates prefer to adopt the Fixed-fee approach ensuring that your family are aware of the total cost at outset.
We also appreciate that some executors want to have heavy involvement whereas others want to have very little involvement but the common denominator between all lay-executors is they want to ensure that the work is carried out correctly.
To appeal to all, we have put together four options for bereaved families to choose from ranging from us having no involvement and simply providing them the guidance on the steps they need to follow through to full estate administration for those that would prefer not to bear any personal liability.
Therefore, our clients commonly choose to appoint us as executors, either solely or in conjunction with a family member / close friend.
Our executorship service options for bereaved families are as follows:
Where the family wish to deal with themselves we can renounce as executor (in this instance we are also able to provide a DIY probate pack for their benefit)
We obtain Grant of Probate only (non-taxable estates only) leaving the family to handle the rest of the estate administration process
We obtain Grant of Probate (non-taxable estates only) and transfer up to three properties or other assets leaving the family to handle the rest of the estate administration process
We obtain Grant of Probate and deal with the full administration
Discuss Your Options
Fill in your details below and a member of our team will call you to discuss these options and offer.
Comparison Fee Example:
Typical fees adopted by many professional executors in the industry:
*Based on an estate valued at £300,000 at a typical percentage-based fee of 2% would cost £6,000 + VAT + disbursements. (*example estate comprised of a house valued at £280,000, 4 x bank accounts / savings accounts totaling £15,000 and personal possessions with a combined 2nd hand value of £5,000 and a valid Will distributing assets to three children).
Typical fees by Pattison James Associates Ltd on Option 4: £2,450 + VAT + disbursements for the same professional service.
As part of our Probate Service, our team can also offer you independent advice on the Will itself and may, under certain circumstances, recommend that a Deed of Variation be set up in order to vary the Will. This process would effectively ensure that the beneficiaries of the Will receive as much of their inheritance as possible, without having to pay out large chunks of it to the Inland Revenue in taxes. This process must be executed within two years of death and needs to be with the agreement of all the beneficiaries.
If you have suffered a bereavement or require further information please get in touch and we can advise on the next steps.
Pattison James Associates Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Quilter Financial Services Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited for the purposes of issuing financial promotions and making introductions for the provisions of insurance/protection business. Quilter Financial Services Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the provision of advice and services related to regulated insurance and protection business.