Making a will guarantees that your estate will be handled per your preferences after you pass away. A will can also be a certainty that your loved ones and their future lives are secure in a tax-efficient manner with careful planning.
You can specify what should happen to your assets—your money, property, investments, and possessions—and your young children after you die by creating a will, which is a legal document. Making a will enables you to preserve your loved ones’ finances when you pass away and outlines your preferences.
Suppose you reside in England or Wales and pass away without drafting a valid will. In that case, your estate will be distributed according to government policy. The Crown will inherit everything you own if you have no relatives. If you have minor children, other people may decide who will be responsible for their care, finances, schooling, and living circumstances. Instead, you can lay out your wishes for the people you care about and your property in a will.
Our chartered accountants can assist you in drafting a will to
● Ensure that the recipients of your donations receive them.
● Reduce inheritance taxes.
● Designate dependable individuals as executors to manage your affairs after your death.
● Designate legal guardians for any minor children.
● Consider how your life has changed due to your marriage, divorce, or the birth of your children or grandchildren.
● Make sure the appropriate persons receive any gifts of personal stuff.
● Create trusts and donate to charities.
With high net-worth clients that own a variety of complicated assets, our multidisciplinary team has particular expertise. We frequently represent people with non-UK addresses in matters involving real estate in the UK.
Writing a will involves arranging for inheritance taxes. Opportunities to legally save tax while alive and when you pass away are often overlooked. Although every person’s circumstances are unique, a few factors to keep in mind when drafting a will include:
● When the mortgage and other debts are subtracted from the value of your estate, inheritance tax (IHT) is typically levied on anything that exceeds the £325,000 level (£650,000 for married couples and civil partners).
● Suppose you own a property and leave some of your assets to family members such as children and grandchildren. In that case, a new IHT allowance of £125,000 may be applicable.
● If you and your spouse jointly own a home, the type of tenancy you have will determine whether or not they can stay there after your passing.
● Whom do you want to receive your estate?
● Whom would you prefer to appoint as your estate’s executors?
We Can Help
We at WAYFINDERS Consulting offer will writing services that are affordable for anyone. Our costs are reflective of the fact that for many people, a straightforward will suffices. Others find that receiving tailored tax advice gives them peace of mind that whatever choices they make will improve the portion of their estate that goes to their beneficiaries and reduce the amount that must be paid to HMRC. Don’t hesitate to call our chartered accountants today to learn more about our will writing and tax planning services.
Tax planning services like inheritance tax planning are not just about leaving money to your loved ones once you pass away; it’s also about living comfortably today. This is why getting a head start on planning is crucial. Working with our chartered accountants can help you determine how much money you’ll need, advise you on how best to transfer assets, and collaborate with you to manage or minimize an inheritance tax burden.
On estates valued more than £325,000 at the time of death, inheritance tax (IHT) is due at a rate of 40%. It may be 20% less and become due upon specific lifetime donations of assets. Nevertheless, planning options are available, such as giving assets to family and friends, making charitable contributions, or using a Family Trust that can reduce the tax owed on your inheritance. The most crucial aspect of this planning is that it is personalized for you and aids in carrying out your final desires for your estate.
Although making explicit gifts can be the simplest method to plan for IHT, you might not want to do this. This is frequently when trusts or family investment companies can be considered part of a long-term strategy to include your family and friends in your wealth without entirely giving it up during your lifetime.
In general, it’s never too early to start planning for IHT. Most people frequently think about tax planning when creating their first will or revising an existing one because the two activities go hand in hand. One benefit of starting early preparation is that once a gift is made, the “7-year clock” begins to run. If you have made an outright gift, the value of your gift completely exits your estate if you live for seven years.
Some of the inheritance tax planning services available to you include:
● Using cash flow modeling, you may make a reliable estimate of your future income and expenses to ensure that you don’t spend or donate more than you can afford.
● Utilizing all of your tax-saving opportunities, such as the gifts that are no longer considered part of your estate for IHT purposes, even if you pass away within seven years of making them, to the fullest extent possible.
● To reduce the IHT burden on your inheritance, we will work with you to determine what extra income and assets you can afford to give up.
● Investments from specialists can help you manage your IHT liability while providing growth potential to improve your legacy. Your wealth planner will collaborate closely with your investment manager to rebuild your portfolio if you currently invest through our investment management service.
We Can Help
Your committed wealth planner will take the time to understand your objectives and plans for your heirs because they may impact the inheritance tax due on your estate. They will then devise an innovative plan to assist you in achieving your goals, seeking to preserve your way of life and lawfully handle the IHT owed on your estate. They will also provide you with important advice on the best order to complete tasks to avoid jeopardizing your IHT position or hurting other aspects of your wealth planning.
Contact WAYFINDERS Consulting today to speak with our knowledgeable chartered accountants, who can thoroughly discuss our tax planning services and how they can help you with your inheritance tax planning needs.
Your future can be built on a foundation of freedom, security, legacy, and financial planning. You need a team that can be trusted with your goals and who also understands them for this reason. We want to help you reach a place where you can enjoy life, content knowing you have a structured, tax-efficient plan in place, whether you are just beginning your financial journey, wanting to consider investing for your future or planning your coming retirement.
Our chartered accountants work independently and are not affiliated with any financial services, products, or even those we offer. This implies that your Wealth Planner can provide you with objective, thorough financial guidance regardless of your life stage through a clear, transparent partnership.
Your financial needs and current circumstances, including any business interests, will be considered by your wealth planner. To preserve, increase, and pass on your wealth as tax-efficiently as possible, they will use their knowledge and experience to develop a wealth planning strategy for you. Your financial plan will be routinely reviewed by you and your committed financial planner, along with your savings and investments, to ensure everything contributes effectively to achieving your goals, both now and in the future.
Each of our services is customized to meet your immediate and long-term needs. Our experts can help you whether you need guidance on pension planning, managing your Lifetime Allowance risk, personal cash flow planning, inheritance tax preparation, or later-life planning.
Our financial planning offerings include the following:
● Retirement Advice: Be confident in your retirement, aware of your possibilities, and get the work done for you.
● Investment Guidance: Build a portfolio or upgrade an existing one according to investment advice. Our advisers can assist you by selecting assets to help you reach your goals.
● Inheritance Tax: Our experts’ familiarity with inheritance tax laws will enable you to leave as much money to your loved ones as possible.
● Long-term Care: We can assist you in making a plan for how you’ll pay for care, giving you peace of mind that you or your loved ones will receive the best care available.
● Consolidating Pensions and Investments: Get assistance when deciding when, if, and how to consolidate your investments into one location for your pension and investments. This decision is frequently difficult. Gain more self-assurance and a clearer understanding of your situation.
No matter how complicated your finances or personal circumstances may be, we have the knowledge and industry-leading resources at our disposal to give you intelligent, futuristic guidance that is specifically catered to your needs. Before making any advice, our chartered accountants thoroughly consider your overall situation and plan. They will inquire about your situation and review your service selection to ensure that it is appropriate for your risk and goals.
Financial planning does not have a “one size fits all” answer; our service is tailored specifically to you. With regular support, you can require sporadic guidance on a subject like a retirement or a detailed financial plan. No matter what your financial planning needs are now or in the future, WAYFINDERS Consulting is ready to be your guide. You can speak with us on the phone or come to one of our nearby offices to work with us and get your finances where you want them.
While most salary incomes are taxed through the PAYE system, all incomes that are not taxed at source should be stated in Self-Assessment reports. The minimum amount of untaxed annual income required for self-assessment filing is £1,000.
Before beginning any self-employment activity, you must acquire a Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR). We can assist you in applying for a UTR. We also ensure that you receive tax return guidance in the UK that will enable you to complete returns accurately and on time. We can assist you in understanding your specific personal income tax status, including which incomes are subject to taxation and which expenses can be written off against taxable income.
At WAYFINDERS Consulting, we take care of all of your annual return papers when you use our self-assessment tax return service. Our chartered accountants ensure there are no costly errors, missed opportunities, or incorrect calculations, so you won’t have to worry about deadlines. Reach out to one of our experienced tax assessment team members today to learn how we can help you with your self-assessment filing needs.
Who Needs a Self-Assessment?
It’s a prevalent misconception that only self-employed people in the UK need tax return services. Anyone who meets the following requirements must complete a self-assessment form with HMRC:
You receive pay via PAYE, and your work-related expenses total more than £2500.
You earn money through rentals as a landlord.
You have a salary of above £10,000.
Director of the company, you are.
You receive child assistance and make more than £50,000 annually.
You earn more than £10,000 each year through investments.
The gain or profit from selling or giving away something you previously held, such as investment property, a portfolio of shares, a second house, or a stake in a firm, is subject to capital gains tax. We can assist with the tax-free allowance, extra reliefs that could lower a capital gains tax liability, and other related matters. From 6 April 2020, anyone who resides in the UK and sells residential property in the country must file a capital gains tax on UK property return and pay any taxes payable within 30 days of the sale’s completion.
We can help you manage complicated double taxation arrangements if you have assets or income in multiple countries to ensure you pay the least amount of taxes overall. The total amount of money earned overseas is not subject to tax in the US. The foreign-earned income exclusion can only be used by those who meet the requirements for foreign residency or physical presence, have a tax residence in a foreign country, and have foreign income.
Late Return Penalties
Anyone can incur a penalty for filing a Self Assessment tax return after the deadline. The best course of action is to file your self-assessment tax return as soon as possible and, if you can, challenge any late fees. In many situations, HMRC can waive late filing fines if you provide a valid reason. WAYFINDERS Consulting chartered accountants can assist you in cancelling any unnecessary tax returns and in appealing any late fees. Contact WAYFINDERS Consulting today to speak with our knowledgeable chartered accountants. We can thoroughly discuss self-assessment filing services and how we can help you today.
A Code of Practice 9 ( COP9 ) is issued by the commissioners of HMRC when they suspect tax fraud. This invites the recipient to apply for the Contractual Disclosure Facility ( CFD ) under COP9 which gives the individual in question an opportunity to provide a complete report of all tax irregularities and other such wrongful deliberations. In exchange for a full disclosure, HMRC will not pursue a criminal investigation into your disclosed conduct, however, if they suspect that the disclosure is incomplete or falsified, they reserve the right to initiate a criminal investigation into your conduct. You have 60 days to respond to a COP 9 offer.
HMRC strongly advise that you seek professional advice from a tax investigation specialist if you have received a COP 9.
Steps you should take:
Irrespective of your beliefs in the validity of any allegations presented before you, a COP9 must be handled in a professional manner right from the beginning.
Deliberate your options before accepting or denying HMRC allegations and their repercussions.
As suggested by the COP 9, you are highly encouraged to seek specialist advice from an experienced tax adviser who understands the smallest of complications in such matters.
Accepting COP 9
Once your initial disclosure is submitted HMRC will check what you have stated in the outline disclosure information HMRC holds If the inspector is satisfied that you have disclosed all material tax issues you will be notified of this in writing and HMRC will usually request a meeting.
If HMRC is unable to accept your initial disclosure usually they will state this in writing. If the inspector is unable to accept your disclosure HMRC will generally want to start their own investigations (on either a civil or criminal basis).
Assuming the outline disclosure is accepted, HMRC will want to meet and it is generally best to have a meeting. To get the most out of the meeting and to ensure that facts are clearly presented most good advisors will spend a few hours with you to prepare you thoroughly making you aware of the wording HMRC will use (it is a very prescribed format which follows a standard brief) and helping you put some meat on the bones of the outline disclosure.
The next stage is for your advisor to prepare a disclosure report. The report should include details of the irregularities, the amounts involved and provide sufficient information to enable HMRC to understand the work done and the reasons for any conclusions.
During the report preparation a good advisor will keep in touch with HMRC and if there are any contentions points or areas of ambiguity then these can be openly discussed to ensure that when the report is received there are no surprises to HMRC. This usually means that the report gets accepted quicker and without too much scrutiny.
HMRC will then if they require test the report. This is where having an experienced advisor really helps as if HMRC are aware of them and the way that they work and a proper detailed disclosure report is provided they are less likely to spend days revisiting each and every point as they generally trust the work of the (usually more experienced) specialist.
Denying COP 9
Not everyone who is accused of tax fraud and offered COP 9 by HMRC has done something wrong. If you do not think you have done anything wrong it is even more important to discuss matters with a professional advisor.
HMRC will conduct the enquiry themselves. Often HMRC will say that if someone has nothing to hide then they should not be afraid to provide bank statements etc. It is our view that if HMRC are not legally entitled to the information then you should think carefully about providing it . We can guide you in that decision. In some cases providing additional information may assist in concluding matters quicker:
Always remember that when you have been issued with a COP 9 then the assumption is that you are guilty of tax fraud.
How We Can Help…
At WAYFINDERS Consulting, we have a team of experts with decades worth of experience in dealing with COP9 investigations. This division is directly supervised by our firm’s Managing Director who has more than 25 years’ worth of experience in this field.
Probate is a term used generically to refer to the process of dealing with the estate of a deceased person. The people who are legally entitled to deal with the estate of the person who has died are known as ‘personal representatives’. The probate process ensures that relevant taxes are calculated and paid, money owing to creditors and owed by debtors is collected, and, if a will has been made, the deceased’s remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with his or her wishes.
The relevant obligations and procedures can be overwhelming during an already difficult and emotional period. As your trusted advisors, we are here to guide you through the complexities of probate.
Benefits of using an accountant for probate?
Since we already manage your accounts and finances, we have an intimate knowledge of your situation which enables us to understand your needs and case better. We can offer a complete probate service enabling the entire process to be dealt with by one professional, saving you both time and money. Our suitably qualified probate specialist can provide an overview of the process and provide assistance in relation to specific aspects if that is what you prefer. Where appropriate, we may also be able to provide technical insight regarding the tax implications as well offering practical support during this difficult time.
Our services range from providing assistance to obtain a probate, to inheritance tax and capital gains tax advice, and the management of the estate in accordance with the Will, or otherwise appropriately in the case of a sudden death.
Services Include (but are not limited to):
Sending notifications of death to relevant organisations
Assessing whether there is any entitlement to bereavement allowances or benefits
Reviewing the validity of the Will, any codicils, and legacies
Identify the composition of the estate and work out whether a grant is needed
Value the estate
Prepare and submit inheritance tax forms
Calculating the tax position up to the date of death and for the period of administration of the estate
Prepare and submit applications for a grant of probate or a grant of administration
Place statutory notices of death in the London Gazette
Take control of estate’s assets
Settle any debts of the estate
Pay any legacies and transfer the balance to the residuary beneficiaries
Prepare accounts for the estate
While there is a cost associated with obtaining probate services, this can be seen in relation to the size and complexity of the estate, along with the emotional and practical difficulties faced when a death occurs.
Stages in the Probate process
WAYFINDERS Consulting can assist with various stages of the probate process. Here is a general summary of the stages and timeframes involved:
Stage of process
Initial Assessment: WAYFINDERS Consulting will review the information provided by the personal representative of the deceased person, this will include the estate’s assets, liabilities and the overall complexity of the estate. We will gather relevant documents such as the will, death certificate, and financial records to review the estate’s value and determine if probate is required and what Inheritance Tax Forms are required.
Preparation of Inheritance Tax Forms: WAYFINDERS Consulting will calculate the inheritance tax liability based on the estate’s value and exemptions. We will prepare the necessary inheritance tax forms, such as the IHT400 form and the schedules, or the IHT205 for an excepted estate.
2 -8 Weeks
Submission of Inheritance Tax Forms: Once the inheritance tax forms are prepared, they will be submitted to HMRC along with any required supporting documentation. The time taken for HMRC to process these forms can vary, typically ranging from a few weeks to a few months.
2 – 4 Weeks
Application for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration: We will prepare and submit the application for a Grant of Probate to the Probate Registry. This application includes the necessary forms and the appropriate fee. The Probate Registry may take several weeks to process the application.
4 – 12 Weeks
Response from Probate Registry: The Probate Registry may take several weeks to process the application. In our experience, we advise clients to allow 4 – 12 Weeks to receive the Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or Letters of Administration (if there is not a Will).
Note that the time frame for any stage can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the case, any unforeseen issues and case management workloads at HMRC and at the Probate Registry.
Estate Administration and Distribution (3-9 months or longer). As well as assisting in the preparation of papers for the application of Probate/Grant of Administration, WAYFINDERS Consulting can also assist in the management and distribution of the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the Will or intestacy rules (if there is no Will). The timeframe for this can depends on the circumstances of each case. As an indication, we would suggest that clients allow a minimum of 3 months and keep in mind that a timeframe for the administration and distribution of an estate of 6 – 9 months is not unusual.
This section provides information about how our fees are determined so we can provide clarity for our clients. Our fees are based on the estimated time required to complete the probate application process and to undertake any other work requested. The application process would include the following:
Identifying and verifying the status of the executors (if there is a Will and confirmed executors) or administrators (if no Will has been left by the deceased). The executives or administrators are known as the personal representatives (PRs) of the deceased.
Reviewing the estate of the deceased to ascertain the nature of the probate application and whether inheritance tax is payable.
Gathering and completing the relevant Inheritance Tax and probate forms.
Assisting the personal representatives to value the estate and to obtain independent valuations if required.
To communicate and liaise with HMRC and the Probate Office with any queries.
How the fees are determined
Estimated hours to:
Verify the personal representatives and to undertake the probate application process
Ascertain the value of the estate and to determine the IHT implications
If required, to undertake any other activities to advise about income tax and capital gains and options for mitigating inheritance tax
Fulfil any other requirements for the personal representatives
Charge out rates:
The estimated hours would be specified according to the skill level of the person(s) required to assess the IHT and other tax implications and to prepare the probate application
The hourly rate for the appropriate person(s) would then be applied to the estimated hours
Our hourly rates range from £150 to £450 per hour (+VAT)
Disbursements and other costs:
Any third party disbursements and other costs (+ VAT) would be agreed with you in advance and would be additional costs at the rate of cost incurred.
As of 1 January 2022, the probate application fee is £273 for estates over £5000. This would be the main disbursement unless, along with the costs or professional valuations costs payable to independent third parties approved by you
Indication of fees
For straight forward cases, if the estate value is less than £325,000, our fees would typically be in the range of £2,250 – £3,750 + disbursements + VAT
Although there are no “typical” probate cases, please note that usually our fees range from £3,250 – £8,500 + disbursements + VAT
Would always discuss and agree the fees with you in advance, advise you about the general process and the provide an indication of the timelines
Administration of the estate
The personal representatives undertake the administration of the estate in terms of making the disbursements to the beneficiaries listed in the Will. They are responsible for paying the inheritance tax and for completing any matters relating to the deceased such as submission of the tax return for the period to death and for reporting any tax related matters. The taxes that are usually payable are income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. For many situations, it is likely that our assistance will only be required to obtain probate and for advice regarding inheritance tax. Where an estate is more complex and has many assets or assets in different countries, or where the terms of the Will or the situation of the beneficiaries requires specialist attention, we can help to ensure that the estate is administered smoothly and with the minimum of distress and disruption to the personal representatives and the family. We are authorised to assist the personal representatives with the administration of the estate. We are authorised to provide a full estate administration service. This means obtaining provide, calculating, reporting and paying the required taxes and making transfers and distributions in accordance with the Will subject to specific instruction from the personal representatives. The costs of administration would be based as above and we can provide an estimate after discussing the situation with you.
Our complaints procedure
Our aim is to provide you with service and advice of the highest quality. If, at any time, you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the work we have performed, we hope that you will bring your concern to our attention.
As part of our quality control procedures, we operate a formal system by which we undertake to investigate any complaint carefully and promptly, take the appropriate action to resolve the matter and fully discuss the position with you.
If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting the firm’s Principal Mr Ghulam Alahi or the Head of Legal Practice Mr. Atul Thakrar.
We will carefully consider any complaint you may make about our probate or estate administration work as soon as we receive it and do all we can to resolve it. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. If we do not deal with your complaint in this time, or if you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter with the Legal Ombudsman.
The Legal Ombudsman’s ability to deal with your complaint is dependent on the following factors:
you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than:
six years from the act/omission; or
three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and
you must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of our written response.
Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
ICAEW Probate Compensation Scheme
WAYFINDERS Consulting is licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to provide non contentious Probate Services. As part of our commitment to providing professional and reliable services, we adhere to the ICAEW Compensation Scheme for Probate.
The ICAEW Compensation Scheme for Probate is designed to provide protection to clients in the unlikely event of fraud or other dishonesty by the accredited probate firm in conducting authorized work (i.e., probate and estate administration); or a failure by the accredited probate firm to account for monies received in the course of authorized work. It offers an additional layer of security and peace of mind to our valued clients.
Key features of the ICAEW Compensation Scheme for Probate include:
Financial protection: The scheme provides financial protection to eligible clients. This means that you may be entitled to compensation for any financial loss suffered as a direct result of the probate professional’s insolvency.
Eligibility criteria: To be eligible for compensation under the scheme, clients must have a valid claim and meet certain criteria established by the ICAEW. The scheme covers individuals and organizations that have engaged the services of a probate professional regulated by the ICAEW.
Claim submission process: Clients who believe they are eligible for compensation must follow the prescribed claim submission process outlined by the ICAEW online. This typically involves providing necessary documentation and evidence to support the claim.
In accordance with the Probate Compensation Scheme Regulations, grants from the scheme will be wholly at the discretion of the Probate Committee and will be subject to a limit of £500,000 per estate. Applicants will usually need to apply to ICAEW for a grant within 12 months of the loss first coming to their attention, and will need to show that they have exhausted all other available remedies
It is important to note that the ICAEW Compensation Scheme for Probate is separate from any professional indemnity insurance held by the probate professional. It provides an additional layer of protection to clients, ensuring that their interests are safeguarded in unforeseen circumstances.
As a member of the ICAEW, WAYFINDERS Consulting is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity. By participating in the ICAEW Compensation Scheme for Probate, we demonstrate our commitment to providing excellent probate services while ensuring our clients’ interests are protected.
Licensed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.
Details of the firm’s probate registration can be viewed at icaew.com/probate, under the firm’s reference number C004563153.