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Who should I use for probate – a solicitor or an accountant?

You may have found yourself wondering just that, and now you’ve found yourself on the website of a firm of accountants and you know exactly what they’re going to say. Well I’d like you read on because this is aimed at being an unbiased comparison.

Let’s start with solicitors:

There are some very good reasons why you might want to use them for probate work.

For starters, if your probate case is contentious, or is likely to become so, you will need to use a solicitor who is licenced to carry out that work.

Additionally solicitors have been doing probate work for years, maybe decades, maybe centuries! They certainly have a lot of experience in dealing with every type of different case, which can be very comforting if you think there may be complications involved.

You may have a family solicitor who knows all about the personal circumstances of the deceased and with whom you feel comfortable and trust. In those cases, I would definitely recommend you use your solicitor.

What about accountants – what do they have to offer?

Accountants are undoubtedly the ‘New Kids on the Block’ when it comes to probate. As a profession they only became authorised to carry out the reserved legal service of probate in 2014. So why might you choose them over solicitors?

The most obvious reason is cost. Historically, and still today, solicitors’ charges are higher than accountants. If saving costs is important to you then it might be worth considering getting alternative quotes from both solicitors and accountants to compare the two.

One area where accountants might have an edge is the actual form filling exercise. A large part of the work involves the completion of inheritance tax forms (there are normally multiple forms to complete) and calculation of inheritance tax liabilities if required. There may also be income and capital gains tax liabilities to compute and return for the period of administration. That work is frequently sub-contracted from solicitors to accountants in any case.

You might already have a strong relationship with an accountant or the deceased may have done. If that accountant provides probate services it would probably be best to stick with them because they will know the financial position already, so this will save time and cut costs. You may also feel more comfortable with them and trust them.

So who should I use?

If you are still undecided, why not contact a few people and see who suits you best. Although we cannot vouch for their services entirely, we are aware that as well as us the following reputable firms provide probate services for Medway:

Bassets Solicitors

Martin Tolhurst Solicitors

Winch & Winch Solicitors

Kreston Reeves (accountants)

Perrys (accountants)

The content in this blog is correct as at 22/05/2020. See terms and conditions.

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