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Probate Services

We aim to provide a service that will alleviate any of the administrative pressures...

At Compass Accountants, we understand that the passing of a loved one can be an incredibly distressing time and therefore we aim to provide a service that will alleviate the stress of dealing with their financial affairs while giving you peace of mind that they are being dealt with accuracy and efficiency.

We pride ourselves on our personal approach, making the process simple through comprehensive packages, tailored to meet your individual needs and provide as little or as much assistance as you require.

Compass Accountants is one of only a small number of accountancy firms licensed to carry out probate services by ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), and one of even fewer in Fareham and Portsmouth.

As accountants, we are fully qualified and highly experienced in dealing with all aspects of taxation, legislation, assets, liabilities, preparation of accounts and estate planning, and as such are in the perfect position to assist you.

The Probate Process and How We Can Help

When a loved one passes way, their estate will need to be administered by either the Executors appointed in their Will or their next of kin. This process can be both time consuming and complex in cases and we can provide assistance in a number of areas: -

  • Obtaining details of the deceased’s estate including assets and liabilities
  • Obtaining professional valuations if required
  • Calculating any inheritance tax payable (IHT) and arranging payment
  • Advising on available IHT reliefs or exemptions available and making required applications.
  • Preparation of inheritance tax forms to be submitted to HMRC
  • Dealing with any tax returns outstanding for the deceased to date of death
  • Applying for the Grant of Probate
  • Collation of assets, payment of debts and distribution to beneficiaries
  • Preparation of Final Estate accounts.
  • Advise in potential tax savings through a variation to the Will
  • Calculating potential Capital Gains Tax Liabilities and Income Tax liabilities arising on the estate
  • Preparation of tax returns required during the administration period

Whether you need assistance in one or all of these areas, we are here to help. We provide a fixed fee quote before work begins which is tailored around the work required so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Probate Fees

We will discuss the composition of the estate with you and the work required before providing you with a fixed fee for the work will need to undertake which is agreed with you before we begin.

To give you an indication of the level of fees involved for our services:

A simple estate consisting of the main residence, bank accounts and a small number of additional assets such as quoted shares, premium bonds with a valid will is in place and all executors agree to act.

Preparation of probate application (PA1P) and IHT forms 205

  • if executors provide all information and valuations
£650 + VAT

Preparation of probate application (PA1P) and IHT forms 205

  • if we deal with collation of informations
£1,250 + VAT

Preparation of probate application (PA1P) and IHT forms 400 and supplementary schedules

  • if executors provide all information and valuations
  • calculation of inheritance tax and arranging payment with bank
£950 + VAT

Preparation of probate application (PA1P) and IHT forms 400 and supplementary schedules

  • if we deal with collation of information
  • calculation of inheritance tax and arranging payment with bank
£1750 + VAT

Our fees are based on an hourly charge out rate and the work involved.

We will also give you an indication of the timescales likely to be involved in the process including current timescales with third parties such as the probate office. 

Initial FREE consultation

We would be happy to offer you an initial free consultation to discuss our probate services and how we can help you.

please feel free to call us on: 01329 844145

The hidden risks of DIY probate

When a loved one is lost, the person named as the executor of the will often considers handling the probate themselves to reduce costs. However, DIY probate comes with great risks, as making a mistake throughout this procedure can be extremely costly. Compass Accountants Director, Kerry Lawrance explains the importance of appointing an expert to ensure the process is managed correctly…

What is probate?


In essence, probate and estate administration is the financial and legal process which occurs after someone has died. The purpose of this is to ensure that relevant taxes are collected, any outstanding debts and monies are paid and the remaining assets from the estate are distributed to the relevant beneficiaries.

Whilst this can often be a complicated and a daunting procedure, it has been estimated that around a third of the UK’s executors attempt to manage probate themselves.

Unfortunately, whilst a DIY option might seem like an easy way to save money, it can cause huge complications and costs in the long run.


Many people are unaware that executors are both legally and financially liable for any mistakes made whilst managing probate. This means that the beneficiaries can hold the executor personally accountable if poor administration causes a loss to the estate.

For example, if an incorrect property value is not obtained, and as a result a beneficiary does not receive the correct amount of money, this shortfall must then be paid by the executor. It is also the responsibility of the executor to ensure all liabilities and debts are paid, so if there are unpaid or outstanding bills for inheritance tax (or any other taxes), executors are entirely responsible. Furthermore, HMRC has also clamped down on inheritance tax administration errors, meaning penalties can be particularly severe.

Time, effort and complication


If you practice something once, or maybe twice in a lifetime, it’s highly unlikely you will have mastered it. In our experience, people considering DIY probate, often underestimate the complication, time and effort the procedure requires.

Applying for the grant of probate, having the estate valued, completing paperwork and undertaking the general administration of a probate procedure, can be not only challenging, but also extremely time consuming, especially for someone doing it for the first time.

The beneficiaries of the will can also provide added pressure to the procedure given that it is highly likely there will be personal connections between themselves and the executor. Added disagreements, disputes and emotional reactions that a personal connection can bring will prolong and complicate the entire process further.

The cost of getting it wrong

Realistically, attempting to take on probate yourself comes with great risk. What may appear to be a quick save could result in you overlooking something critical, making an error or simply not following the correct procedure that could be of great personal expense. 

How Compass can help…

As experts in probate, Compass Accountants provides a service that ensures the procedure is executed correctly, whilst saving you valuable time. Compass Accountants is one of only a small number of accountancy firms licensed to carry out probate services by ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), and one of even fewer in Fareham and Portsmouth.

As accountants, we are fully qualified and highly experienced in dealing with all aspects of taxation, legislation, assets, liabilities, preparation of accounts and estate planning, and so we consider ourselves to be in the perfect position to assist with probate services.

Up until December 2014, the provision of Probate Services was limited to solicitors, who have traditionally charged a percentage of the value of the estate. We work on a fixed fee basis and can offer a real value for money alternative.

At Compass Accountants, we will be able to guide you through the complications of inheritance tax, income tax and capital taxes, ensuring that the amount of tax that needs to be paid from the estate in minimised. Furthermore, we will work with you (and any of the beneficiaries) to set in place plans to minimise their future tax burdens.

If you are interested in booking an appointment for a free consultation for probate services- or would simply like to ask us a question, please feel free to call us on: 01329 844145.


Compass Probate Service client case study

Mr G.W, from Emsworth recently appointed Compass Accountants to provide probate services after receiving a recommendation from a funeral director…

“The idea of an accountancy firm that provides a probate service immediately appealed to me. I know that solicitors also do probate, but accountants know about money- that’s their job. Solicitors also charge a lot of money, so when it comes to finances, I personally think you need an accountant.”

“I also wanted everything to be done professionally. I know that some people attempt to do their own probate, but I didn’t want to take any risks. It’s way too important to be making any mistakes with. Also, the likelihood of you not doing something properly is high. Yes, you can shut down the accounts and get final figures together, but doing probate is like tax- if you are dealing with a government body you need a competent professional. Using a professional means, it’s done properly and done once and that was why I took on Compass’ services.”

“When you consider that the probate process takes around 15 weeks, you don’t want the paperwork to come back because it hasn’t been done properly- only to wait another 15 weeks!”

“Compass made the process very smooth, and there were no issues or problems. Kerry came out to visit me to get everything done- it was an excellent service. I can’t fault it at all.”

“I would highly recommend Compass for their probate services. I was particularly impressed at how they were very clear and upfront with costs of the service. They also go above and beyond to help. For example, my wife and I had joint ownership of our property and so Kerry contacted the land registry and made changes, to ensure I am now on the deeds as Proprietor with Title Absolute, so that was all taken care of by Compass. It had to be done, and if I went to a solicitor to do that, they probably would have charged a lot of money!”

“Kerry is also going to come back to help me to adjust my will in the near future- which is another service they are offering.”

“With all these things, if I really had to, I could probably could do them myself as I’m good with investments, figures and finance- but I wouldn’t be confident – and that’s very important. Compass give me that confidence. I feel assured that I am in capable and safe hands.”

Our regulatory and complaints information

Probate Services

  • In the unlikely event that we cannot meet our liabilities to you, you may be able to seek a grant from ICAEW’s Compensation Scheme. Generally, applications for a grant must be made to ICAEW within 12 months of the time you become aware, or reasonably ought to have been aware of the loss. Further information about the scheme and the circumstances in which grants may be made is available on ICAEW’s website at
  • If you would like to talk to us about how we can improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Kerry Lawrance. We will consider carefully any complaint that you may make about our probate services as soon as we receive it and will do all we can to resolve the issue. We will acknowledge your complaint within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. Any complaint should be submitted to us by letter.
  • If we do not deal with it within this timescale or you are unhappy with our response you may take the matter up with the ICAEW and the Legal Ombudsman. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within six years of the of the act or omission or within three years of you becoming aware of the issue, and in either case within six months of our written response to your complaint to us. The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are Post: The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. Telephone: 0300 555 0333

Professional indemnity insurance

As detailed in our standard terms of business we have professional indemnity insurance in place in accordance with the requirements of ICAEW. Our professional insurance cover is up to a maximum of £1,000,000 and is capped at this level.

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