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The purpose of this article is not to put client’s off undertaking “Do It Yourself” Probate but merely to make clients aware of the potential difficulties they may face when dealing with estate administration.
The first of the potential “pitfalls” to mention is centered around Inheritance Tax. If Inheritance Tax is due on an estate then the detailed Inland Revenue account IHT400 has to be completed, signed by the Executors and submitted to HM Revenue and Customs for their approval. One potential mistake some Executors make, is that following submission of the IHT400 (Taxable estates Inland Revenue form), a receipt is given to allow for an application for the Grant of Probate to move forward. Unfortunately, it is often assumed that this means that HM Revenue and Customs have “signed off” the forms and are happy with the contents, however, HM Revenue and Customs actually reserve the right to go back through the forms with a fine tooth comb until they are completely satisfied with the information provided. This may include a District Valuer being instructed to ascertain whether the value of a property given in the forms is accurate, requesting hard copies of valuations of assets or asking for further documents in respect of Trusts etc. All of these requests have to be complied with in an efficient manner and until HM Revenue and Customs have provided a “Clearance Certificate” for the Inheritance Tax paid, the estate assets should not be distributed. If an Executor has distributed the funds and then it becomes apparent that further Inheritance Tax is due, this can lead to a very awkward situation for which the Executor could be liable.
Some Executors are also unaware that if Inheritance Tax is payable on an estate, unless this is paid within 6 months of the date of death, interest begins to accrue on the amount due. Even if an installment of the Inheritance Tax due has been paid, interest will continue to accrue on the outstanding amount until the balance is paid in full.Read more…
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