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Probate

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Any fellow Accountants who do Probarte? I would be interested in knowing if there is actually business out there and if clients do approach you for Probate?

 

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RLI
By lionofludesch
26th Apr 2019 14:51

I've never been asked.

Not as a paying prospect anyway. I've done a few for the estates of members of the family. Based on that, it wouldn't be work I would be actively looking for.

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ram
By Retired Dave
26th Apr 2019 15:40

As above I've done it for family, and I did once do it for a client who passed away, but she was more a friend than a client as I'd acted for her for 35 years.
Quite frankly it's a total pain to do and you will find yourself arguing with assorted jobsworths who refuse to hand over £20 from a bank account without 55 types of ID etcetera.
I'd sooner get on friendly terms with the staff at the local food bank than rely on probate work for a living, it would take less time and probably be better value for money.

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By Cloudcounter
26th Apr 2019 16:04

I've done it several times, mostly for family, and have had no issues at all with any of the organisations that I've dealt with. It's been far from a pain to do.

I know that a few clients have put me down as executor, but that's on a personal level. That was all before the current regulation came in and I don't know how the changes affect wills made several years ago. (I don't advise on wills)

I was interested when the Institute announced probate services but unsurprisingly the fees that they decided to charge for regulating probate work meant that I didn't bother to apply. It's just not worth it, unless you go for it in a big way, and then you have to fork out the fees and wait for your clients to die.

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Replying to Cloudcounter:
RLI
By lionofludesch
26th Apr 2019 16:23

Quote:

I've done it several times, mostly for family, and have had no issues at all with any of the organisations that I've dealt with. It's been far from a pain to do.

It depends how easy it is to get at the information you need. You can't ask the testator - he's dead. I did one a few months ago, where there were trusts involved, and even the solicitors who drew up the trusts got it wrong, owing to the solicitor who drew them up having thoughtlessly retired.

On the other hand, bloke living in rented accommodation with no assets other than a building society account - no bother at all.

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By memyself-eye
26th Apr 2019 16:05

I did one for a client, elderly, disabled, war veteran lived in a grubby rented council house .
He left an estate worth £1.3 million to his sister (the only beneficiary) with no inheritance tax to pay.

I should have charged her more.....

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By lesley.barnes
27th Apr 2019 10:08

Like others have said I've done it for family members and I found it very time consuming and proper pain even on small estates. Being honest it's not very challenging filling in forms and admin work.

I'm not sure how you would quote for the work because it isn't easy working how much time it would take. A lot of the process relies on other sources such as banks etc.

When you start you often don't know how much money is involved and what will be left after creditors are paid. Would you quote a fixed fee or by the hour? How would you get paid would it from the estate once it was settled or up front from the person who signed the contract?

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Apr 2019 13:08

Whilst never at the sharp end (why be a child of two solicitors and have other family members who are solicitors and do the graft oneself) I have been involved over the years with the estates of my father and my grandfather plus circa eight trusts. (Of course confirmation up here not probate)

The secret appears to be for the solicitors to rely heavily upon staff versed in the process to complete most of the routine paperwork, deal with the chasing, but that does require a pretty constant flow of work and accordingly a significant bank of wills (I think my late father's firm at its dissolution had circa 2,000 held)

I suspect the return on time ,if one was to do everything oneself , would not be that lucrative.

Luckily my role has always been more to deal with tax issues re the estates etc which have involved limited hours, none have been paid positions and frankly the area has only appealed from an academic interest point of view (given my late father's career dealing with estate planning)

Now we may be fortunate re cost (mates rates) but given I have just had to approve my late father's partner's fee, for managing my father's life interest trust for the tax year just ended, in the sum of £250 plus vat it has never struck me as particularly lucrative unless geared up with lower paid staff to deal with the routine work.

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By djn24
30th Apr 2019 10:29

Never.
One of my friends is a partner in a firm who registered with the ICAEW to be able to do this work.

He said it's a waste of time. People just use solicitors and don't even think of accountants to do this.

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By pauljohnston
30th Apr 2019 10:57

ICAEW and ACCA have the necessary from the Lord Chancellor to offer these services. From others I have spoken to it means you dont lose the client and the fees are execellentcompared to solicitor that can be as much as 1.5%

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By pauljohnston
30th Apr 2019 10:58

ICAEW and ACCA have the necessary from the Lord Chancellor to offer these services. From others I have spoken to it means you dont lose the client and the fees are execellentcompared to solicitor that can be as much as 1.5%

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By Toolmaker
30th Apr 2019 21:06

I am authorised by the ICAEW to conduct probate activities, and have to say it has been challenging.

The fees generated from this offering are great it is just finding the work can be very difficult.

I plan to preserve for another 12 months at least and see what happens.

Accountants can offer this service more cost effectively than solicitors. The mission is to increase the awareness of your clients and the wider public that we can provide non-contentious probate services at a more affordable rate.

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By Andrew Roxburgh
01st May 2019 16:57

It's illegal for accountants to carry out probate work professionally unless they've been accredited by the ICAEW , which involves an assessment and certificate

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By DTB27
02nd May 2019 09:55

I work for a firm with a Wills and probate department, probate accredited with ICAEW, and we are currently swamped with probate work. I only joined them in early February and have spent almost my entire time working on probates. I have now worked on about 8 or so in that time and we have various others on the go from before my time.

It is something that we are actively looking to expand and we are even getting referrals from solicitors where the deceased was a client and we have a better understanding of their affairs.

Also, where we do the Wills, we give the clients the option to appoint us either as a primary or substitute Executor.

I also know of several other firms who provide this service, usually through a separate entity from the main accountancy practice.

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Ray Lewin F.C.A.
By Ray Lewin FCA
10th Jun 2019 19:20

I have a licence from the I.C.A.E.W. The official speak is:- "R J Lewin & Co Ltd trading as Newton Green is now registered as an authorised probate firm by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. We appear on the register of ICAEW accredited probate firms on icaew.com/probate and on the register prescribed by the Legal Services Board under section 87(4) of the Legal Services Act 2007."

Probate has been slow but we do also offer lifetime planning (Wills, Power of Attorney and Estate Planning). If we work with accountants who refer clients we seek to protect their goodwill and where it is possible utilise the information regarding their client that they have accrued.

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Replying to Ray Lewin FCA:
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By weuk
17th Jan 2020 15:42

Ray, am I correct in assuming that someone in your office is a STEP? Trying to understand the skill set required to offer Probate and Estate Planning under the same roof!

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