Wills and Probate Service
Wellden Turnbull offer a will writing and specialist probate service. Not having a will in place can have major consequences for those you leave behind.
Your estate may not be distributed as you would have intended, there can be increased administration costs to your estate and there can be additional tax implications.
Wellden Turnbull can provide assistance with your will as part of our consideration of a client’s overall taxation and financial affairs. We are licensed by the ICAEW to carry out probate work and as part of this licence we regularly carry out a diversity survey of employees. The results of the latest survey can be found here.
Five common pitfalls when making a will
- Review your will regularly as your circumstances change.
- Die tidily and make sure the will can be found and is in a safe place with other relevant documents such as share certificates, title deeds, codicils, letters of wishes and other documents.
- Destroy out of date wills once the new one has been written and send signed copies to your named executors.
- Appoint an executor who will survive you and who knows your financial affairs. Your accountant looks after your affairs annually and it is easy to make changes with little fuss.
- Change your will as tax legislation changes. Make sure the person drawing up the will understands tax legislation.
- Your accountant as executor or jointly with the family will make sure your wishes are carried out, the paperwork completed and filed and the tax is correctly paid.
What is Probate?
In essence it is the process of gathering a deceased person’s estate paying any tax and debts and distributing the balance to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will, any codicils and letters of wishes.
Probate is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs (called ‘administering the estate’). In practice, different terms are used, depending on if the deceased person left a will and where they lived.
The benefits of instructing us to deal with your estate
We already have an in depth knowledge of our clients’ financial affairs and if they have a business, we will be familiar with the nature of it and any plans that have been made for succession. In addition it is also likely that we are dealing with a wide range of personal financial matters which may include estate and tax planning as well as trust management.
Dealing with probate on death is a natural extension to our services, as a client’s financial information will be readily available. We develop close relationships with our clients as we deal with annual compliance and ad hoc advisory matters.
As you would expect we are also used to dealing with numbers. We can produce estate accounts and the necessary inheritance tax and income tax returns that may be necessary as part of the probate process.
We use technology to cut down the costs of administration to keep our fees competitive.
How we can help
- Will writing as part of our consideration of your overall taxation and financial affairs
- Applying for probate
- Acting as an executor
- Assisting executors
- Help with identifying the assets and liabilities of an estate
- Dealing with all administration regarding the Estate (including all Tax Returns)
- Preparing the inheritance tax return including claiming all reliefs which the estate is entitled to
- Completing form PA1 (probate application form)
- Distributing the Estate
- Preparing the Estate accounts
Structuring your assets for tax purposes
When considering inheritance tax, we will advise on a number of areas including:
- Will trusts or lifetime trusts
- Tax-effective clauses to include in a will
- Planning to maximise the use of the lifetime inheritance tax thresholds in your will
- Optimum use of all available inheritance tax reliefs (including personal business assets)
- Bespoke Will planning for wealthy estates
We will be by your side to ensure that your tax liabilities are reduced legitimately and that those dearest to you receive the wealth that was planned for them.
Director Chris Plumridge talks about the importance of having a will, powers of attorney and our probate service.
Frequently asked questions
Why is having a will important?
A will sets out exactly what you want to happen after you pass away or are no longer able to make decisions due to illness. It might seem to you that what you want is obvious – such as for your assets to pass to your spouse or children, but without a will stating this clearly, there is no guarantee that what you imagine to happen will occur. Your will is a legal document that must be followed.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of proving that a will is valid and confirming that the named executor of the will has the authority to manage the estate of a person who has died. Lower value estates may not probate, but if the estate leaves significant sums of money or a large property then probate may well be required.
Do you have to be executor if you are named in the will?
If you are named as executor in the will it is the desire of the person who made the will, but you are not legally bound to carry it out. If you do not want to act as executor you can give up all rights as executor, as long as you have not yet taken any steps in estate administration. The other immediate option is to hand over the responsibilities to anyone else named as executor.
How to calculate the value of an estate
The calculation for the value of an estate is simple: you add up the value of all of the financial assets and then deduct any liabilities from that total. Liabilities could include debts, unpaid bills, loans, mortgages and other costs.
Do I have to pay inheritance tax?
You do not need to have to pay inheritance tax on estates worth under £325,000. If the estate is worth more than £325,000 inheritance tax will be owed – for large estates this can get complicated and it can be worth talking to inheritance tax specialists about it.