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IHT  •  probate  •  Probate and Inheritance Tax

News update: Video wills become legal

By RJP LLP on 23 September 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about many changes, a lot of which involve the use of technology in our daily lives; from telemedicine becoming routine practice, to previously reluctant online shoppers becoming converts, and home working becoming the norm in large offices.

Now it is also possible to make a will in England without the requirement for two witnesses to be physically present. Instead, the Ministry of Justice has granted a concession allowing video technology to be used to witness wills being signed. This is to try and limit the number of people who die intestate and it should be regarded as a last resort. This measure has been backdated to 31 January 2020 and covers wills that were witnessed by video under lockdown. It will remain in force until January 2022.

One very good reason for making a will – video or otherwise - is to ensure that assets in your estate are passed on to the people you want to benefit from them. It also significantly simplifies the process of obtaining Grant of Probate and means the assets can be accessed more quickly, avoiding financial distress for beneficiaries.

Without a will, all assets in an estate will pass under the rules of intestacy, which may not be in accordance with your wishes. In a situation where a person dies without leaving a will (intestate), relatives need to apply for letters of administration instead of grant of probate and must strictly follow the intestacy rules when distributing the assets.

Ask your accountant to help with 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. As a result we can 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. In situations where someone has died intestate, we can also obtain the letters of administration.

There are quite a few benefits to asking an accountant to deal with the inheritance tax and income tax affairs and to obtain grant of probate, one of which is cost. It can be a lot cheaper, especially for larger estates and where there are no complications, because everything is dealt with in one place. Our article explaining the advantages of using an account for probate explains this in more detail: article.

If you would like advice on IHT planning or obtaining probate, contact partners@rjp.co.uk

 

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