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.

We find ourselves a little frustrated at the moment (though, aren’t we all). We currently have three Estates finalised, except for one outstanding matter; we await Inheritance Tax (IHT) refunds from HMRC.

The reason for the refunds is as a result of the fall in the stock market during early 2020. Let me explain…

When somebody dies and an application for probate is subsequently submitted, you have to record the value of any stocks and shares as they were at the time of death and pay IHT on that figure.

However, there is a relief that means where quoted shares are sold by the Executors at a price lower than the probate value, within one year of death, then the lower price can be substituted in and the IHT recovered. Effectively, HMRC are subsidising 40% of the loss.

You do have to take into account all disposals though; so, if some are at a gain and some are at a loss, then it is only if there is an overall loss that you can make a claim.

Obviously, where somebody died late 2019, or early 2020, it is likely that the value of shares held at death may have fallen as a result of the pandemic.

This gives rise to some good planning opportunities, e.g. only sell those at a loss during the first year or get the beneficiaries to sell those at a gain directly. There are also Capital Gains Tax advantages to be realised too.

In light of the above, we think that accountants are the natural choice for probate work since we are experienced in dealing with the range of taxes.

In the meantime, we sit waiting for (and chasing) HMRC to send us those precious refunds!

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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