George Hay Chartered Accountants were one of the first accountancy firms in the country to obtain a licence to carry out non-contentious probate work. In our monthly column, we give you an insight into the process and provide an update on what is happening in the world of probate and estates.

Last month, we commented briefly on the situation whereby it is possible for somebody to make a claim against an estate.

We have just been appointed executors of an estate by The Court, following a two-year wrangling by the parties to settle matters.

To provide a brief summary, a claim was made by the spouse under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents Act) 1975, as she considered she hadn’t been provided adequately for in the deceased’s Will.

The case was highly complex and involved the claim made by the spouse, the need to protect the financial interest of a minor child and claims made by adult children of a former marriage. 

There was also the need to consider the suitability of the executors, who were to become trustees of the resulting Will trusts, given the volatility of the case.

Many thousands of pounds of legal fees later, the dispute has been settled.  It was agreed by the parties that new trustees should be selected, and so two partners of George Hay were appointed.

One of the solicitors involved commented that it was unusual for accountant trustees to be appointed. However, our application to the Court, made on the suggestion of one of the parties, highlighted why accountants are well placed to act as trustees and to deal with probate.

In this case, properties are to be held in trust for different beneficiaries for many years. These trusts will need to complete annual Income Tax Returns which, of course, we do on a regular basis.

These trusts have income tax implications for the beneficiaries and again we are in a good position to advise. Similarly, there are Inheritance Tax implications on which we can also assist.

The deceased  left an interest in a family business. Once again, as chartered accountants we are well placed to advise on the estate’s investment and suggest tax efficient strategies that could be implemented going forward.

It is the overall financial package that we think is important.  Clearly there will be matters where we will need legal advice, but we can instruct lawyers as and when needed and will always obtain a quote before we do.

To discuss our Probate & Estates services in more detail, contact Huntingdon-based Barry Jefferd on 01462 708810, or you can email us at where your enquiry will be dealt with by one of the team.

Authored by Director of GH Probate Ltd., Barry Jefferd.

Our Probate service is provided through GH Probate Limited. GH Probate is the trading style of GH Probate Limited. Registered in England and Wales number 9630102. Registered Office: St George’s House, George Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3GH.

Authorised to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales

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