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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet

Dodgy solicitor and IHT400/ probate

Joined:Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:15 pm
Dodgy solicitor and IHT400/ probate

Postby Jonathanturner2 » Wed Sep 08, 2021 8:32 pm


I am involved in a property transaction which has now been going on since April. The sticking point is probate and Inheritance tax.

I am a former solicitor (though I never did tax or probate) and I have personal experience of doing this process for family members so I have a reasonable idea of what it involves

I am trying to buy a house from a seller whose seller in the upper chain now needs the grant of representation to be granted before they can sell to my seller. The house I am buying does not involve probate but they are not willing to move until they have somewhere to move into.

The solicitor handling the probate for my seller’s seller is a one man band who seems to have terrible online reviews snd a reputation for not responding/ not acting on instructions.

My sellers solicitor has written to him and asked when he applied for IHT and why it is taking so long.

The solicitor in question wrote back and said it was all down to HMRC delays and that he is waiting for “preliminary clearance” on the IHT before he can submit the probate application.

However my understanding is that the guidance on HMRC website says they are meeting their 15 day processing times and that if you wait 20 working days or longer you can submit your probate papers anyway.

It does not say you have to wait months and months and you have to wait until you get “preliminary clearance” before you can apply for probate.

My feeling is that the solicitor is incompetent and stalling for time and using HMRC as an excuse.

Am I correct in asserting that you do not have to wait for preliminary clearance from HMRV before submitting a probate application?

Many thanks


Joined:Fri May 16, 2014 3:47 pm

Re: Dodgy solicitor and IHT400/ probate

Postby AGoodman » Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:52 pm

You may well be right but HMRC have to provide a receipt (which is currently being sent direct to the probate registry) and this is often not sent or lost by the Registry (at one time they were being emailed without the deceased's name being searchable). The probate application isn't considered by the Registry until they can find it.

Most of the time when this is the problem it can be resolved by harassing HMRC/Registry until they re-send or "find" it respectively.

As you say, Registry guidance is to submit the application after 20 days so it is definitely worth chasing up on.

Joined:Fri May 16, 2014 3:47 pm

Re: Dodgy solicitor and IHT400/ probate

Postby AGoodman » Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:54 pm

NB just to add that HMRC may not be entirely honest in reporting that they are meeting all deadlines.

The probate registry are still a complete shambles so once they have the application it could still take some time.

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