Menu

Probate Services – Quick Answer call 01305 774786

Appointing your Executors

Being the Executor of a Will can be a difficult and time consuming responsibility, as it has complex legal, financial and tax consequences.
Executors are legally responsible for applying for a Grant of Probate, administering the estate and distributing the assets and are personally and financially liable for any mistakes.

We can take on that responsibility for you, rather than you encumbering a friend or loved one at such a difficult time. If you appoint MW Legal Services as your Executors, we will provide advice from friendly and approachable experts who offer Professional tax, accountancy and legal support.

Probate

Probate is a legal process that involves applying for the right to deal with a deceased’s person’s affairs.
Probate can be a complicated matter, particularly where there are Trusts involved, so we recommend that you appoint a professional company to act on your behalf.

We work closely with Kings Court Trust who are probate and estate administration experts. As well as ensuring that probate is granted and assets are distributed quickly, we will save you the stress of a time consuming and complex task and take responsibility for all your personal liabilities.

For a FREE quotation please call 01305 774786.

We can:

• Handle the estate on your behalf
• Make applying for probate hassle free
• Save the estate money, so leaving more to be distributed to the beneficiaries
• Give you peace of mind of knowing a dedicated and professional team will handle your responsibilities
• Help find the resource to pay any Inheritance Tax including the complex IHT 216 forms
• Take away the worries of personal liabilities of the executors
• Provide a friendly and efficient service and ensure you are constantly up-to-date with progress
• Handle the funeral expenses and other costs associated with the estate

Executor Responsibilities

After the death of an individual, the estate is dealt with by Personal Representatives (PRs). If there is a valid Will the PRs are called Executors, if there is no valid Will they are called Administrators.

Before applying for probate you must ascertain the assets and liabilities of the deceased.

You may need to write to:

• Banks
• Pension Funds
• Insurance companies
• Government Departments
• Building Societies
• DHSS
• Credit card companies
• Any other loan companies
• Utility companies
• House and car insurance companies
• Employers
• Inland Revenue
• Custom and Excise
• Shareholders/Partners in a business
• Tax Inspector
• Councils

You will also need to obtain:

• A valuation of any stocks, bonds, shares or unit trusts held
• A valuation of any land or property
• A valuation of personal assets such as house contents
• A complete list of debts due and monies owed by the deceased

The Executor must then send or deliver to their designated local probate office:

• Original will (and codicils if any)
• Death certificate
• Appropriate oath
• Probate fee
• Inland Revenue account receipt in respect of any inheritance tax due
• Necessary Government Forms
Affidavit evidence may be necessary. For example if alterations have been made to the Will or the Will is invalid in any way.
A Grant of Probate will not be issued if:
• Any inheritance tax due has not been paid
• The probate fee has not been paid
• Any objection (caveat) has been registered in respect of the estate

It is the probate office’s duty to ensure that the Will is valid and that the person making the application is entitled to do so.

Personal Representatives’ Liabilities

A Personal Representative will be held personally liable for any debt or tax that is not fully paid before the distribution of the estate. They are also liable for assets distributed incorrectly if they cannot be recovered.

There are strict deadlines set by the Inland Revenue for assessing and paying tax on an estate. Interest is charged on late payment of tax. If the late payment is caused by the action of the Executor, they will be held liable for the interest.

Inheritance Tax calculations can be very complex and often include tapering relief, potentially exempt transfers and other gift allowances. Personal Representatives will be held liable for incorrectly calculated tax if all assets have already been distributed.

When you appoint us, we will take on these liabilities and guarantee to meet them on your behalf.

Intestacy

If someone dies intestate because they have not made a Will, the rules set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925 apply. As a Personal Representative, you will have to apply for a Grant of “Letters of Administration” for exactly the same reason as the Executor has to apply for probate.

Appointing us to act on your behalf gives you the peace of mind of knowing that the correct work will be undertaken quickly and efficiently, leaving you to look after your family and deal with the other issues facing you at this time.

Administration

If a Will deals with part but not all of the administration (for instance where the Will says who gets what but fails to appoint an Executor), a person entitled to apply for Letters of Administration makes the application to the registrar attaching the Will at the same time.

The applicant is granted “Letters of Administration with Will annexed”. The applicant can now distribute the estate in accordance with the Will or, if the Will fails to cover an essential point, in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

Even if we have not been named in the Will we can still be appointed to carry out the necessary administrative duties.

What are Trusts?

The essential characteristic is that a person (the settlor) transfers property, or declares to another, or others (the Trustees), property which he already holds is to be managed and controlled for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiary).

A Trust is one of the most versatile and flexible ways of holding and managing assets. The Trustee holds the assets on trust for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary.

Once the assets are placed in trust the legal ownership of the assets passes to the Trustee. Originally, it was impossible for a third party to enforce their beneficial right and it was at this stage that the Lord Chancellor stepped in. The Lord Chancellor was an extremely powerful man and had jurisdiction over both spiritual matters and matters affecting a person’s conscience. He did not have the authority to change the common law, and instead declared that if the legal owner of the assets did not honour his obligation he would be damaging his conscience. This put the situation within the Lord Chancellor’s jurisdiction and he enforced the beneficial rights of the beneficiary, making them part of the title of the asset. English law now recognised a split in the ownership of assets, legal ownership held by the Trustee, and beneficial ownership held by the beneficiary.

How to use Trusts

Tax Planning

Trusts can be used in certain circumstances to avoid taxation, although substantial anti-tax avoidance measures have been put in place in many countries.

Asset Protection

Trusts can be used to place assets out of the reach of the courts. However, many laws that limit the effectiveness of these have come into force.

Offshore Trusts

This allows you to take benefit from tax and other investment advantages outside of your residence.

Managing Trusts

Our Trust management service will include:

• Assisting with the preparation of a policy statement
• Managing investments with brokers in accordance with the agreed policy statement
• Meeting requirements of Trustee Act 2000
• Producing annual accounts
• Administration of Trustee meetings
• Paying creditors and distributing capital or interest as required by the deed
• Calculating and paying tax

Initially the service will include: –

• Taking instructions from existing trustees or the family
• Familiarity with the trust deed
• Meeting the family to determine their needs and how they can be met under the terms of the deed
• Setting up the procedures and appointing, as necessary, investment advisers and accountants.
• Obtaining specialist advice if required

The annual fee will be based on the value of the trust fund, the complexity of the investments and the expected need for management. As a guide we find that their charges are under 2% of the value of the estate, which compares favourably with charges from the banks and other institutions.

We will also charge a one off fee to set up the Trust, in line with the requirements of the existing deed.

Search