Individualised Client Advice Will Avoid Tragic Probate Outcomes

The UK’s reluctance to consider its mortality and protect the express wishes of the deceased has long-been documented. In 2018, it was reported that only 46% of the adult population had made an up-to-date will.

Whilst many may feel too upset to consider the impact they will leave behind, failing to plan will cause unintentional trauma for the loved ones dealing with the estate. The effects of a loved one dying intestate were thrust into the public domain following the tragic death of beloved comedian, Caroline Aherne in 2016.

Having died unexpectedly, without a Will in place, at the age of just 52-years-old, the star of The Fast Show, Royale Family and the infamous Mrs Merton left her estate to be inherited by her next of kin. As she was single and without children, this meant her grieving mother inherited the estate and the consequential difficulties that arise when the deceased had failed to plan for their death.

Miss Aherne’s estate was valued at £500,000. Because she was single at the time of her death, the estate was exposed to the wrath of inheritance tax as it exceeded the Nil Rate Band of £325,000.

This meant that there was a colossal inheritance tax (IHT) liability of 40% on the remaining £175,000. Unfortunately, in this circumstance, the tax needed to be paid by the executor up front and within six months of Miss Aherne passing away.

As next of kin, the burden of this responsibility befell Miss Aherne’s mother. Responsible for administering the estate and satisfying HM Revenue and Custom’s claim, Miss Aherne’s mother was forced to balance the sorrow of losing a loved one with the unenviable task of finding huge sums of money to pay the IHT contributions.

This situation could have been significantly reduced with effective estate planning but is unfortunately all too common. When a consumer eventually confronts their responsibilities, it is imperative that the legal service provider is able to expertly cater specifically to the needs of the individual estate.

The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) and Institute of Scottish Professional Willwriters (ISPW) offer an eclectic, diverse and up-to-date continual professional development (CPD) programme to ensure that Institute members are well equipped to offer their clients a differentiated service, preventing circumstances to those presented above.

The Willwriting Academy Ltd’s comprehensive Introduction to Probate and Estate Administration on the 14th and  15th of May at the Ibis Styles Hotel (NEC) will equip attendees with a full-service understanding of organising and administering a deceased’s estate. Delegates will review everything from how to compassionately deal with a bereaved client through to the technical aspects of HMRC accounts, obtaining information on assets and liabilities to reviewing income tax and capital gains tax in estates.

On July 9th, The Willwriting Academy will also be delving into Estate Taxation. This introductory course will help attendees solidify their understanding of the Inheritance Tax system, looking at transfer of ownership and gaining a confident foothold into Capital Gains Tax matters.

Additionally, these courses will improve your understanding of significant estate planning issues, improve your network of like-minded colleagues and ensure that your advice prevents the tragic incidents the Aherne family have been forced to deal with.

This article was submitted to be published by the Institute of Professional Will Writers as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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