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Case Studies: Probate

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Read about various scenarios where we have helped our clients.

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    The clients, two executors of their deceased parent’s estate, wanted some help regarding the administration of the estate

    The executors, also beneficiaries, did not agree on how various gifts made during their parent’s lifetime should be treated nor on how the estate should be distributed. We were asked to deal with the estate and also investigate the lifetime gifts and to analyse the effects of those gifts on the estate for both Inheritance Tax and the eventual distribution of the residuary estate.    
    How we helped
    We investigated the extent of the estate and the lifetime gifts and how these affected the Inheritance Tax. The Grant of Probate was obtained, and we began realising the assets and settling the liabilities. This then allowed us to begin our work on how the estate was to be distributed. This included going to Counsel and obtaining Counsel’s Opinion in relation to the lifetime gifts.   
    The result
    The inheritance tax position was finalised, and we received formal clearance from HMRC. After Counsel’s Opinion was obtained, this allowed us to finalise our position regarding the distribution of the estate and achieve a fair and equal distribution to all the deceased’s residuary beneficiaries.  
    Written: June 2020

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    The executors of the deceased's Will needed help to complete the deceased's building project

    A client died whilst in the process of developing a large piece of land - the project was funded by a private development loan with a bank and monthly build costs were significant. 
    How we helped 
    We advised the executors. Shortly before he died, the deceased asked his executors to continue with the project to the finish, so that the property could then be sold for the best price possible. 
    The Grant of Probate was obtained quickly, but cash flow to fund the build quickly became a problem - the loan facility with the bank ceased and most of the value of the estate was tied up in the value of the development. 
    We were able to successfully manage the delicate relationship between the bank, the developers and the beneficiaries, and we were able to secure a sale of the ongoing development - a good buyer had been found, and all parties agreed that it was in the best interests of the Estate to sell. A sale at this point ensured that the loan to the bank was settled and the amount of funds passing into the Estate was 
    The result
    The inheritance tax position was finalised, and we received formal clearance from HMRC. After Counsel’s Opinion was obtained, this allowed us to finalise our position regarding the distribution of the estate and achieve a fair and equal distribution to all the deceased’s residuary beneficiaries.  
    Written: September 2020

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    We assisted the executors in obtaining Grants of Probate in three separate jurisdictions

    The deceased's affairs were quite complex - whilst he was domiciled in England & Wales, there were significant assets in different jurisdictions and we had to deal with institutions based in the Channel Islands and Singapore. Grants of Representation would therefore be needed in three separate jurisdictions.  
    How we helped 
    Obtaining the relevant information to ensure the Estate for Inheritance Tax purposes was reported correctly was a challenge - we were able to obtain the information needed from the institutions in the Channel Islands relatively easily and obtained a Grant on the relevant island there, but establishing the information we needed from banks and fund managers in Singapore was difficult and estimates had to be provided when submitting the Inheritance Tax account in the Estate. The issues we were encountering in terms of dealing with these third-party institutions were flagged up to HMRC and a payment on account was made.
    Once we had the Grant of Representation in England & Wales this formed the basis of an application in Singapore, and eventually the funds due to the Estate from there could be collected - we were still, however, unable to obtain the precise figures to be reported for the date of death (despite best efforts), so an agreement with HMRC was negotiated and the Inheritance Tax position of the Estate was cleared.
    We also ensured that the deceased's Income Tax affairs to the date of death - which were again complex – were settled.
    The result
    The relevant tax compliance issues were dealt with, the Estate was wound up and we were able to give effect to the terms of the Will.
    One of the beneficiaries also died during the administration, so we were also instructed to deal with and wind up that Estate as well - this beneficiary also had a complex Estate and a claim for Quick Succession Relief for Inheritance Tax paid in the first Estate was successfully made.

    Written: September 2020

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