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Why ask an accountant to obtain Grant of Probate?

By RJP LLP on 17 August 2020

Looking at some of the questions we are asked by clients, the issue of probate comes up regularly. In particular, we are asked why use an accountant to undertake probate work rather than a solicitor? Obtaining grant of probate is the administrative process that is undertaken by the executors of a deceased’s estate. It can be complex and often involves a lot of paperwork, including tax calculations to advise on the inheritance tax position, the deceased’s income tax liabilities to the date of death, and the income tax liabilities of the estate during the period of administration. Without grant of probate (or letters of administration in cases where no will is left), the beneficiaries of an estate often cannot legally access the assets of the deceased.

Firstly, it’s important to clarify that not all accountants are licenced to obtain probate. RJP LLP is 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. We offer a full probate service for clients and can help you by preparing the necessary inheritance tax returns, any income tax returns required, and obtaining grant of probate or letters of administration

What to expect from a probate service

If you ask RJP to undertake probate on your behalf, we will:

  • Handle all paperwork and liaise with all parties, including HMRC and the Probate Registry;
  • Ascertain the inheritance tax position by reviewing the deceased’s assets on the date of their death, checking the position based on the deceased’s will (or intestacy provisions if there is no will) and calculating and reporting any inheritance tax liability;
  • Prepare estate accounts covering the elapsed time between death and the date when assets can be distributed, to allow for any tax liabilities, and prepare tax returns for the period of administration of the estate;;
  • Prepare a tax return for the period to the date of death, to calculate, pay and deduct from the estate any outstanding tax liabilities;
  • Arrange payment of inheritance tax liabilities in the most advantageous way; and
  • Obtain grant of probate or letters of administration.

Benefits of using an accountant for probate

There are a range of benefits to be obtained from using a registered accountant or tax advisor.

The first of these is trust. You might not already know a solicitor, but many people and especially small business owners have an accountant they know well - someone they rely on every year for accounts, tax returns and impartial advice.

The second reason is simplicity. Your accountant may already have a good understanding of the deceased’s assets and tax liabilities. This enables the entire process to be dealt with quickly and without the need to involve multiple people.

Thirdly, there can be greater efficiency. Quite a lot of the work involved – preparing accounts and calculating both inheritance tax and income tax liabilities -  is bread and butter work for an accountant or tax advisor. They can also support you with capital gains tax and inheritance tax planning for the future.

The last benefit of using an accountant is cost. It can be cheaper than using a solicitor. We work on a fixed fee basis whereas solicitors often charge a percentage of the estate value.

If you would like advice on the probate services offered by RJP or want to discuss tax planning strategies to reduce the value of an estate for inheritance tax purposes, get in touch.

We will never suggest any approaches that are considered to be aggressive by HMRC. For more information, email

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Probate and Inheritance Tax



31 January 2021 - Submit your self assessment tax return and pay tax due

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