When someone dies, there’s usually a lot of paperwork required. Probate is the administrative process that has to be carried out by the executors of the deceased’s estate. A Grant of Probate gives whoever has the responsibility for managing the estate a legal right to distribute assets in accordance with the deceased’s wishes. This includes calculating the tax payable and making sure it gets paid.
It’s possible to complete the Probate process yourself, particularly if your situation is relatively straightforward. However, many people find it too stressful to do this whilst dealing with a bereavement and prefer to have a professional to guide them through the process.
Traditionally, only solicitors have been able to legally manage someone’s estate after their death, but from 2014, accountants have had the legal authority to offer Probate services as well.
Matthew Grief, Partner and Trusts and Probate Specialist at Moore Chartered Accountants in Peterborough says: ‘There are many advantages to using an appropriately experienced accountant to administer your estate on death.
‘Your accountant already has an in-depth knowledge of your financial affairs, and, if you have a business, will be familiar with the nature of it and any plans you have for succession.
‘We find that it really helps to talk to someone you know, and who already has access to your historical financial information. This takes a large chunk of the workload away from the family at a time of significant stress.’
Secondly, much of the work involved within the Probate process is financial, such as preparing accounts and calculating tax liabilities; so it can be more efficient to have an accountant carry out this work rather than a solicitor (who will often get an accountant involved anyway, particularly if the deceased’s affairs are particularly complicated.)
Says Matthew: ‘In many cases, it’s a lot more cost effective to use an accountant rather than a solicitor. Using your accountant for probate can make the process less time consuming. Unlike many solicitors and banks, Moore don’t charge a percentage of the Estate.
‘Our service is flexible, meaning we can be involved as much or as little as you like. We can manage the entire Probate on your behalf, but if you’re looking to save on costs and are happy to undertake the Estate administration yourself, we can simply apply for the Grant of Probate for you.’
The most important thing is to use someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Most accountants and solicitors will offer a free initial meeting to find out more about your specific circumstances, answer any questions you have and provide a bespoke no obligation quote.
● For further help or advice, visit www.moore.co.uk
Matthew Grief, Partner and Trusts and Probate Specialist