Probate Service Launch

To mark the start of our new Probate Service and the launch of the blog we will look at a question that has been asked since the dawn of time “What happens after we die?” Helpfully we will take an accountant’s position in answering this, the most, FAQ

Who gets my stuff when I die?

That is entirely up to you so long as you have made a will – and if you haven’t it is decided by a pre-set list called the Intestacy Rules. A properly thought out Will gives everyone clear guidance right down to childcare and how you like your body disposed of and is strongly recommended in all cases

We are always happy to guide clients on the content of their will and liaise with (and recommend) solicitors who will do the drafting

When can they get it?

No distribution from and estate can take place until at least six months after the date of death – although obtaining Probate (the permission to distribute) may take longer

Who can obtain Probate?

This is a job for the Executors of the Estate, but they may use agents for this. Traditionally such agents were solicitors or banks – they may now be accountants. Scodie Deyong LLP is one of less than 300 firms currently licensed to do this

Why accountants not lawyers or bankers?

Most of the work of distributing estates is a question of dealing with Inheritance Tax calculation and payment as well as the financial accounting for assets and liabilities – far more the accountant’s domain – particularly for existing clients.

We strongly recommend that solicitors are used for Will writing and conveyancing. We are connected with many firms that we are happy to recommend and work with

Are the costs the same either way?

Accountants (including us) tend to charge flat or time-based fees rather than percentages based on the size of the estate – leading to considerable savings for the beneficiaries. If you are not already a client you can get an idea of the likely costs by contacting us through our website

So, do I wait to die?

Not at all. The impact of your will, your Inheritance Tax liabilities, the effects of your death on your business and your choice of executors should be regularly discussed with your accountant anyway. This should also encompass a full review of the adequacy of your insurance cover – again we are fully qualified and competent to review and adjust this with you. For those with no will – filling that gap is vital – and for those who have dealt with this, it may make sense to name us as professional executors

What about dying without a will?

Dying “intestate” means that relatives and dependents will inherit the estate in set proportions. A Grant of Probate is still required and Scodie Deyong LLP will not only guide the family through this process, but be able to give advice on whether any mutually agreed variation should be considered for tax saving and other reasons

How do we proceed?

Simple. Either contact the partner dealing with your affairs and ask for a meeting specifically covering this or tell us that you would like to discuss Estate Planning at your next annual visit. For new clients, simply send a note to Amy Freeman with any queries or a request to contact you

Useful links

http://www.which.co.uk/money/wills-and-probate/probate/guides

http://www.scodiedeyong.co.uk/probate

http://www.scodiedeyong.co.uk/calculators/inheritance-tax

https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/applying-for-a-grant-of-representation