Probate, Inheritance and Wills
At what can be a difficult time for a family or person, probate can be an added stress.
Our friendly, reliable and professional probate experts are on hand to help at this time.
For advice and to see how the can support you, see below.
Upon the death of an individual you may find that you need to apply for probate. This gives you the legal right to administer someone’s estate, which is inclusive of their belongings, money or property, and if there is a will, enact it.
You will receive a ‘grant of probate’ if a will has been left.
However, if there is no will you will have to apply for ‘letters of administration’.
To apply for these in England and Wales the process is the same for either. However, the process differs in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
It is possible that you might not need probate, in the following circumstances you would not need it:
If you have to manage someone’s estate after they die, you should contact each individual asset holder, as they may have different rules as to whether you need probate to gain access to their remaining assets. For example, a mortgage company may have different rules to a bank.
In the event of death, a will determines how the deceased wished their belongings and property passed on after the died. To make a will valid it usually needs to be witnessed by 2 people and signed by all 3, the will maker included.
The person who is named in the will, or a codicil (update) of the will to execute the wishes stated in the will is known as the executor.
The executor will usually apply for probate to execute the will and manage the estate, and any subsequent divisions of the estate to those named in the will.
It is essential that you have original copies of the will and any codicil, not photocopies, when you are applying for probate.
The Original Will needs to be Found
Usually the deceased will have already informed any executors of the will where it can be found, along with any updates to the will, this could be:
In the event you cannot understand the will or any of the updates, it is recommended that you seek professional legal advice or the support of the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Our professional, experienced probate experts are on hand to help if you need.
If you cannot find the original will a lost will form needs to be filled out.
If more than one will is produced, the most recent will will be classed as valid. However, you should not destroy any earlier copies of the will before you have received probate.
In the event the person did not leave a will, or the will cannot be found, you will have to begin the application to become the ‘administrator’ of the deceased’s estate. This process does not differ to that of applying for probate.
Once you have applied to be administrator, you should get ‘letters of administration’, which act as proof that you have the legal right to administer the deceased’s estate.
It is normally the next of kin who can apply to be administrator of a will, for example their child, civil partner or child.
Even if you were separated from the deceased at time of death, you can still apply to be administrator of the will if you were still in a civil partnership or married.
However, if you were not in a civil partnership or married but were there partner, you are unable to apply. Moreover, if you are not married or in a civil partnership at the time of death but were there partner there is no automatic entitlement to part of the estate.
If no will has been left, the law will decide who inherits. The rules for inheritance vary in different EU countries.
You will have normally been informed by the deceased if you are to be an executor of the will.
As an executor, you can only receive assets from the estate if you are a named beneficiary in the will.
In the event there is more than one executor named, all the executors must decide among themselves who will apply for probate. A maximum of 4 people are able to apply for probate.
All executors of the will who have applied for probate must make a legal declaration that all the information provided for the application for probate is true.
In the event there are multiple executioners yet only one applies for probate, they must provide evidence that they have attempted to contact all the other executors of the will at the time of the application.
In the event you cannot find the other executioners, you are able to contact your local probate registry for assistance and advice.
If any disagreements arise between the executioners of the will these will need to be settled, possibly with legal advice or legal professionals, between the executors. A probate registry is unable to help with these kinds of disagreements.
If you are ‘unable or unwilling’ to be an executor of the estate there is often named in the will a replacement executor.
However, if there is no replacement executor and everyone is ‘unable or unwilling’, you will need to contact the local probate registry.
If you do not want to be an executor of the will you can:
In this event, the replacement executor will have to apply for probate.
Certain examples of when this is necessary are as follows.
To apply for probate, you can enable a licensed probate services professional, or a solicitor, or if you are the executor you can apply for probate yourself.
If no will has been left by the deceased, you will need to apply for letters of administration. To do this is the same process as applying for probate. However, it must be done by post.
Before you begin the application for inheritance tax you must estimate the value of the estate and report it to HMRC. You may have to pay inheritance tax which is dependent on the value of the estate. It is possible to receive a fine if you send HMRC incorrect information, or undervalue the estate on the inheritance tax form.
Often HMRC will demand that you pay at some of the tax if there is expected to be inheritance tax before you are able to receive probate.
If you pay the tax from your own funds, it is possible to get this back from any beneficiaries of the will or from the estate.
Yes. The online service can be used by the executor if they have:
The deceased must have spent most of the time living in England or Wales.
If you wish the application to be conducted in Welsh, you must apply by post.
After completing the online application all original documents must be sent by post.
You will need to complete and return a form, which one is dependent on whether a will was left by the deceased.
All documents must be sent to the local probate registry. You must send:
It is recommended that you use the ‘signed for’ or tracked postal service when you are sending the documents to avoid them getting lost.
You will not get the will or any codicils back as these will be held by the probate registry office. However, you will receive the death certificate.
If the will has been damaged or changed after you have had them you must provide a letter explaining why. For example, if you decided to remove the staples for photocopying.
If the estate is valued at over £5,000 there will be a fee of £215, however if it is valued at under £5,000 there will be no fees.
To pay you can do either of the following:
If you require extra copies of the probate, they are charged at 50p per copy. These enable you to send the documents to multiple organisations at the same time.
You should receive your grant of probate, or letters if administration, no later than 20 days after you sent any original documents with your application.
If there are any errors, you must return it to the probate registry.
Copies will need to be sent to organisations that are holding the assets of the deceased, for example the mortgage company or bank.
As an executor you can get any financial assets transferred to an ‘executorship account’.
When withdrawing assets, it may be that every executor must be present. You should check with the asset holder first, as often the rules will vary depending in the organisation.
Before you distribute the estate, outstanding debts must be first paid off. For example, any tax that is owed, or any outstanding utility bills.
It is recommended that you place a notice in The Gazette. This removes your responsibility for any outstanding debts and allows any creditors to come forward an make a claim against the estate.
If you have enacted a solicitor to assist you in the probate process, their fees can be paid by the estate.
If there is money in a joint bank account it will automatically pass to the joint owner, however it must still be declared for inheritance tax purposes.
If it is a property that is jointly owned, it will automatically pass to the joint owner. If it is not it will pass to the named beneficiary in the will.
If there is uncertainty about how a property is owned, you can contact the land registry or contact the mortgage company. It may be that you need to seek legal advice at this point. It may also be that the property records will need to be updated.
After you have paid all the taxes and outstanding debts, you are now ready to distribute the estate.
This must be done by following:
If income is generated by an inheritance, the beneficiaries may have to pay inheritance tax.
After you have done this you will need to prepare the state accounts. You will need the approval of the main beneficiaries who in turn will have to sign off on it with the executor.
Yes. The probate application can be stopped by entering a caveat.
This can be done if there is a dispute over:
A caveat will last for up to 6 months.
To enter a caveat, you must be 18 years old or over.
You can use person licensed to provide probate services, a solicitor or do it yourself.
To do so you will need:
To enter a caveat, you can visit or write to the probate registry. The probate registry is not able to provide legal advice.
£20 is the fee for entering a caveat.
In England and Wales probate records can be searched for online and by post.
It is possible to search for probate records online for anyone who died after 1857. copies can be ordered online for £10 each.
You will receive these documents with 10 working days.
If the probate record is new, it usually takes 14 days after the issuing of probate for it to appear online.
To search for probate by post you will have to complete PA1S – Application for a search (copies of grants and wills) which you can download and then return it. The address is provided on the form.
You will receive a copy of the will and the probate at a cost of £10.
You will normally receive this within 4 weeks.
You can apply for a standing search, which is where you will receive a copy of a probate in the event it is granted in the 6 months following your request. This can be extended after the 6 months have expired.
Probate can be a difficult and confusing time at a time of great distress for you and your loved ones.
Our experts in probate are experienced, professional and understanding and can support you in all your probate needs at this time.
Whether you are seeking legal advice or wish them to act as executor of the will, they are on hand to help.
Why not contact them today to discuss what support you need with the process and see how they can help?
The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) gets contractors to deduct money from the subcontractor’s payments to give to HMRC, this rate is usually around 20% and will be used as advanced payments for the sub-contractor’s tax and national insurance.
All contractors must be registered for the CIS scheme.
To register with the Construction Industry Scheme, you need to contact the CIS helpline on 0300 200 3210.
You will need you Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR) and have already registered as self-employed.
Everything gets put through electronically so you can get your refund as quickly as possible.
Even though we do this, HMRC can refund the payments and different times.
We have a system that will provide oversight for CIS refund and will chase up HMRC to make sure that they pay you back.
In our experience you will receive you CIS refund no earlier than 7 days and no later than 6 weeks.
We do not take a percentage of your CIS refund. We prefer to operate on a flat fee of £19.50 a month as opposed to a percentage.
This fee covers all of the work we do for you and also our representation of you in the event of an inquiry.
There are many things that you can claim your money back for, these are wide and varied. Most costs incurred whilst doing your work are re-claimable on your taxes.
Many expenses that can be claimed are not often thought of, but we are here to help. We work hard to make sure you get the full refund you deserve.
We often have sub-contractors come to us with this issue.
As professional accountants we have other ways in which we can calculate your income and expenses. We will use these to make sure you get your full refund from the CIS taxes you have paid.
Your individual accountant can then work with you to help the record keeping, making sure it doesn’t present you problems in future.
Unfortunately, you cannot deduct your mileage from the taxes as you are self-employed and registered for CIS.
When dealing with a contractor as a sub-contractor in your daily rate you should be charging for your travel costs and insurances.
You can contact us, and we’ll do it for you.
When you have paid CIS deductions these should be claimed through your company or business payroll scheme. Do not try to make a claim against your Corporation Tax return because it is likely you will receive a fine.
Monthly Full Payment Submissions (FPS) get sent to HMRC as usual. An Employer Payment Summary (EPS) should also be sent to your employer.
Most ‘labour only’ sub-contractors will have tax deducted at a flat rate of 20%.
This can only happen if HMRC know your UTR on the list of CIS subcontractors.
However, this can rise to 30% as a penalty for not doing your CIS returns on time or correctly.
This all depends on whether you are already employed.
First you must register as self-employed, if this has already been done then your CIS registration can be done as quickly as in a few days.
However, if you are not yet registered to be self-employed registration with CIS can take up to 6 weeks.
Contractors must deduct money from their subcontractor’s payments to pay HMRC under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).
These CIS deductions are advance payments towards the subcontractors National Insurance and tax. This is to ensure that sub-contractors are up to date with their taxes.
However often the subcontractors will have overpaid their taxes for the year and we can help to get a rebate for them.
If you are a contractor, you must be registered for CIS before you take on your first sub-contractor.
Sometimes they should not be a subcontractor but an employee instead and you must also check this, if they are a subcontractor instead of an employee then you will most likely incur a fine. You must also check that your subcontractors are registered for CIS with HMRC.
If you are a subcontractor you must register for CIS before you begin work or you will incur a penalty, and your tax rate will rise. Usual from 20% to 30%.
For subcontractors, under the construction industry scheme you will pay a fixed amount of 20% which will cover you National Insurance and income tax.
Many subcontractors are then entitled to a refund under this scheme as it does not consider your expenses.
Under the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) Scheme, as an employee, then you pay the ‘correct’ amount of tax. Any refund will be given through your wages.
With a number of similarities to PAYE, the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is a mandatory withholding tax where either 20% or 30% is deducted from a self-employed construction subcontractor's payments and paid directly to HM Revenue and Customs on their behalf.