Launch of Probate Services
We are pleased to announce the launch of a new in-house probate service for private clients following a change in the rules governing regulated legal services.
Probate is the legal process whereby a will is ‘proved’ in a court and accepted as a valid public document that is the true last testament of the deceased. It was previously the responsibility of solicitors. Garbutt + Elliott is the first accountancy firm in Leeds to offer this service.
Recently the government opted to deregulate certain aspects of the legal profession to increase competition, meaning that licensed accountants can offer probate services. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is now an approved regulator for accountants licensed to undertake this work.
Two of Garbutt + Elliott’s tax consultants, myself and private clients senior manager Robert Peel, are now fully licensed to undertake probate services, with partner Alan Sidebottom acting as head of finance and administration for the probate service.
Explaining the probate service, Robert said: “There are several advantages to accountants being able to offer probate services. As accountants we have detailed knowledge of our private clients’ finances and assets, which means that we are well placed to act quickly and efficiently. Using Garbutt +Elliott is also likely to be more cost efficient, due to both our inherent knowledge of the client’s tax and financial affairs, and our expertise in completing the necessary tax forms.
As part of the probate service, Garbutt + Elliott’s representatives can now apply for a Grant of Probate, avoiding the necessity of the client making a personal application, and can also prepare accounts for the Estate.
Garbutt + Elliott can act as executor, and can calculate the value of the Estate for inheritance tax purposes and prepare the inheritance return as well as agreeing liabilities with HMRC. It is also the first licensed firm in Leeds to offer the service. Accountants can also prepare tax returns to the date of death, agree tax liabilities and repayments, open bank accounts and administer the collection of assets, payment of liabilities and arrange for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance.
Robert continued: “In the past we have often been approached by private clients looking for guidance in making their probate application, and it is wonderful to now be in a position to help our clients with what is often a sensitive matter. In effect, probate is your last tax return, so it is good sense to task a trusted accountant with the matter and I am very happy to be able to offer the service.”