Wills and Inheritance Tax Planning
Life can change in a matter of seconds. The coronavirus outbreak has prompted a surge in demand for urgent advice on will writing, inheritance tax planning. When you die you may want your estate to pass onto your loved ones without having to pay inheritance tax ("IHT"). Inheritance tax planning (which usually includes writing a will) is all about being prepared for the unexpected.
Many people are unaware that accountants, such as our specialists at P & Co, can help clients draw up a will and are fully licensed to provide inheritance tax planning and probate services. It is therefore important to choose an accountant who specialises in inheritance tax planning and probate (the right to deal with a deceased person's estate).
With the help of P & Co, you can provide financial and practical support for your family so they receive the greatest benefit from your estate. We can:
Why Choose P&Co?
As an UK accountancy firm focused on the oriental market, P & Co offers a comprehensive estate planning and probate service that includes will writing, inheritance tax planning and probate services. Our team comprises of qualified accountants with an Asia and UK background who share your culture, language and community and truly understand your needs.
Having a will is an important first step in your inheritance tax planning. A will is a legal document that sets out your wishes regarding distribution of your assets, as well as the care of your children after your death. It is estimated that more than half of British adults have not made a will and you are likely to be among them. One of the most important things to consider when writing a will is who is going to inherit your estate.
What is in a will?
In your will, you can set out:
Your will would often include an inventory list of the assets you want to distribute, for example:
When someone dies without any planning or without a will, the rules of intestacy will decide how the estate will be shared out, which means decisions about your estate will be in the hands of judges. Without a will, you have no control over what happens to your estate.
Inheritance Tax Planning
Inheritance tax planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets and handle your responsibilities after your death. The goal is to ensure beneficiaries receive assets in a way that minimizes the various taxes involved.
Reducing Inheritance Tax
Inheritance tax is a tax on the estate (the property, money and possessions) of someone who has died. The inheritance tax rate is currently at 40% in the UK. Early tax planning can help reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable on your estate and make sure they are protected and secured for your loved ones.
Inheritance tax can be reduced by, for example by:
What we can help?
With in-depth experience in tax accounting, the tax specialists at P & Co can help you meet your estate planning needs and help you apply the various inheritance tax exemptions, thresholds, reliefs and allowances available and help you navigate the complex rules around nil rate bands, residence nil rate bands, planning issues for spouses and children, and other complex issues.
Our dedicated and experienced tax experts are most suited to give you advice on inheritance tax planning, particularly if you have complex financial needs, for example:
P & Co will review your net financial situation, alongside your future needs to help advise you to determine the most effective way to protect your assets. All of these require careful planning over an extended period – so the sooner you start to think about inheritance tax planning, the better.
Applying for the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions (their ‘estate’) when they die is called ‘applying for probate’. If the person left a will, you will get a ‘grant of probate’. If the person did not leave a will, you will get ‘letters of administration’. You normally have to pay at least some of the tax before you are granted probate.
The probate process usually involves:
If your estate is complex and requires the sale and distribution of property or overseas assets, the amount of work involved can be an added burden to your loved ones during a time of grief.
Your executor of choice
By appointing P & Co as an executor (a party you nominate in your will to carry out your wishes) or administrator of your will, we can reduce your administrative burden by handling the paperwork on your behalf. And if you are the executor or administrator of a large, complex estate consisting of multiple assets and investments, we can help take up the responsibilities of navigating through the probate procedures and manage the whole process for you.
Our knowledgeable and experienced advisors can provide you with tailor-made probate solutions to fit your unique financial needs to protect your wealth and maximise the benefits for your family and other beneficiaries.
Our probate services will be charged on a time basis. For the scope of services outlined in the table below, we estimate our time-based fee to be in the range of £2,500 to £20,000 plus VAT (where applicable). We will inform you if our time cost is likely to exceed our estimate.
We are likely to incur disbursements and expenses on your behalf in the course of carrying out our work for you. This will include the cost of a market valuation report on the relevant estate property to meet HMRC’s requirement (estimated at £750 plus VAT where applicable) and a probate application fee of £273 payable to the UK government. Our fee estimation is exclusive of these costs which will be added to our invoices where appropriate, unless agreed otherwise.
The fees above are estimated based on the agreed scope of work and timely provision of information. Should these requirements not be met we reserve the right to notify you of a revised figure or range and seek your agreement to the change. We will require from you a payment on accounts of £2,500 plus VAT (where applicable) before commencing our work.
Below is an outline of the key stages of our probate service with an approximate timescale for each stage.
|Stages of probate||Approximate timeframe|
|1. Assessing the value of the Estate
The family of the deceased provide details of the assets and debts belonging to the deceased for us to make enquiries and put a value on the estate.
|4 weeks from date of death, dependent on the number of assets and how quickly organisations responds|
|2. Assessing Inheritance Tax (IHT) Liability
IHT liability is assessed and relevant forms for IHT completed. If required, IHT due is paid to obtain probate.
|8 weeks from date of death|
|3. Applying for Probate
This refers to applying for the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money, and possessions (i.e. the estate).
|3 - 6 weeks, however, the Probate Registry are currently experiencing severe delays due to the pandemic, so this may take longer at present|
|4. Informing interested parties
Once probate has been granted, the executors must send copies to all the asset holders and to all relevant organisations to ask them to release the funds and deal with the accounts appropriately. This may involve transferring funds to another account, closing accounts, or releasing assets.
|Immediately on obtaining probate|
|5. Gathering assets of the estate
This is when any monies owing to the deceased are to be collected in. If any assets are to be sold, such as a house, this is the stage at which they are sold. Personal belongings may also be dealt with at this stage.
|Up to 3 months after obtaining probate, depending on how quickly organisations response|
|6. Paying any debts owed by the estate
Once any debts have been paid from the estate, the final estate accounts are prepared.
|Done immediately upon receipt of adequate funds|
|7. Completing any other miscellaneous work & ensure executors duties have been fulfilled ahead of winding up the estate
Obtain clearance when required from HMRC that the tax position is covered off. Report to HMRC with income tax during the administration period if required.
|Dependent on scope of work involved|
|8. Distributing remaining assets
Distribute assets according to the Will, or the Rules of Intestacy if no Will exists. Executors will be asked to confirm the estate accounts detailing all monies and assets passed in and out of the estate.
|Dependent on the number of beneficiaries to contact and their timely response|
Professional Indemnity Insurance
We have professional indemnity insurance in place in accordance with ICAEW regulations. Our professional indemnity insurance cover is up to a maximum of £1.5 million in any one claim, legal costs in addition and is capped at this level.
Help us to give you the best service
If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Ms. Elizabeth Carter at [email protected].
We will consider carefully any complaint you may make about our probate or estate administration work as soon as we receive it and do all we can to resolve it. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. If we do not deal with your complaint in this time, or if you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter with the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman’s ability to deal with your complaint is dependent on the following factors;
a) you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than:
b) you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of our written response.
Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman
T: 0300 555 0333
E: [email protected]
Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
P & Co is registered with ICAEW. If you want to complain to ICAEW, please go to the following link:
For information on the ICAEW Probate Compensation Scheme, please go to:
P and Co Probate is a trading name of P and Co Services Ltd and registered in UK under Company Registration No: 13197417 . The registered office is 18 Ensign Street, London E1 8PA, UK