Disputes over the division of estates post death are not uncommon. However, executors are now also facing another issue when it comes to the Department for Work and Pensions or DWP as they are most commonly referred to.
No doubt the firm is in the middle of many probate cases. If you are an affected executor or administrator, please call us. We can offer you a free review of the current status of your probate and, if you agree, we can take on the case and complete the administration at an agreed fee.
I checked the website of the Law Commission recently to see whether there was any news on when we could expect their recommendations following last year’s consultation process on the law of wills. It does not seem imminent. We know, however, that changes are on the way. Probate applications can now be made online and, inevitably, there will be changes in the law enabling wills to be made in accordance with the requirements of the digital world in which we now live.
On 26th April 2018, Probaters received an email from the Probate Service of England and Wales informing us that the following day the rules were going to be changed to require applications to be made online. As so little notice had been given the Probate Service have kindly advised us that until procedures are clearer, we can continue to use paper applications “so for the time being, therefore, there is no need to change any existing work that you have ongoing”.
The most obvious simplification would be to remove the stupendously complicated residential nil rate band and instead increase the basic IHT allowance (frozen at £325,000 since 2009) to £500,000. But that did not figure in the two-part review of inheritance tax being carried out by the Office of Tax Simplification. The first part of their report, issued in late November, concentrated on reducing or removing the requirements to submit forms for smaller or simpler estates, especially where there is no tax to pay, and simplifying the administration and guidance. They also mentioned the advantages of banks and other financial institutions having standardised requirements and, of course, they were on the online bandwagon saying that the whole system should be automated by bringing it online.