Inheritance Tax: Britons urged to act as ‘unacceptable’ probate process lengthened

Inheritance tax labelled ‘unfair’ and ‘cruel’ by expert

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Inheritance Tax (IHT) is one key cost many families will have to meet following the death of a loved one. For an individual in charge of an estate, often known as an executor, meeting a wide range of costs will be essential. One which runs alongside IHT is probate, the legal and financial process of dealing with a deceased person’s money and possessions. 

When dealing with probate, Britons are likely to have to liaise with specialist solicitors, who rely on information from the deceased’s family members to speed up the process and ensure individuals can claim the sum which is rightfully theirs.

However, research undertaken by Exizent, has shown problems have recently arisen for Britons in this regard.

With most people passing away before they put their affairs in order, the probate process is likely to become even lengthier and more complicated.

With solicitors dealing with probate, it is also likely the costs of the endeavour will also soar – eating into what Britons will ultimately inherit.

Exizent found probate to take three months on average, but the matter increases to five months if the person did not have their affairs in order. 

With 95 percent of probate professionals relying either entirely or somewhat on information from clients, the importance of sorting out one’s affairs has become crystal clear.

Nick Cousins, founder and CEO of Exizent, commented on the matter to

He said: “Sadly, the probate process has not been fit for purpose for some time, and our Probate Prospects report shows even the legal professionals working in the area agree.

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“The vast majority said they feel the process does not work as it should, admitting the time it takes to complete probate is unacceptable.

“We found the main issue is the administration involved.

“Most legal professionals are saying the time it takes for financial institutions to get back to them with the information they need is the main cause of delays.”

Exizent found 23 percent of people die without a Will – a document which lays out a person’s last wishes and what they wish to happen with their money, possessions and property.

A Will is often considered the best way for Britons to keep their affairs in order, and ensure their family and friends inherit what a person intends.

With Free Wills Month drawing to a close, the organisation is urging people to take action to sort out their affairs.

The month offers Britons a chance to get their Will written free of charge, bringing together a number of charities to help members of the public who are aged 55 or over. 

Mr Cousins provided further insight into the importance of Wills, and the actions Britons can be taking.

He said: “Having an up-to-date Will and making sure all your financial affairs are in order is really important and helps those left behind to administer your estate.

“However, even when people do have their affairs in order, it still takes three months on average to complete probate, one of the major issues being problems with communication and identifying and accessing to assets.

“There is, therefore, a huge opportunity to harness the technology and data already available to create a better system.

“This ensures loved ones are not faced with huge delays at what is already a hugely difficult time.”

Mr Cousins added that his organisation is pushing for open finance to be the same for individuals who have passed away as those who are alive.

This, he stated, will put asset discovery on the way to becoming easy to complete, at the touch of a button.

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