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Frequently Asked Questions

Many executors ask themselves whether they should undertake probate themselves. The reasons may be to save time, save money, stay in control or simply to keep their affairs confidential.

Arguably, the most daunting part of the probate process is the Inheritance Tax form. This is what ProbateCalc focuses on.

There are two Inheritance Tax forms for the UK. However, in many cases only a part of the form may actually apply to the estate that you are dealing with, making the form look more complicated than it really is.

To decide which one needs to be completed depends on the value of the estate and whether HMRC rules and limits can be satisfied. In either case, as the executor or administrator, it is your responsibility to assemble all the information required.

The IHT205 form is the most common one. This form is used where the estate completely satisfies the HMRC rules and total value limits. It is then considered to be an 'Excepted Estate'. According to HMRC statistics, the vast majority of estates fall into this category. The form itself is 8 pages long and asks some questions about the estate and total values for certain categories of assets and debts that make up the estate. We think this form can readily be completed by executors themselves, given an organised approach to the task and ProbateCalc will help make this a much easier process by checking the valuation you make against HMRC criteria. ​

The IHT400 form is by far the more complex of the two. It is split up into a number of sub-forms depending on the circumstances of the estate. This is the form that will need to be filled in if the estate exceeds the HMRC rules and value limits. This would be considered a 'Non-Excepted Estate'. Generally, we would not recommend that executors attempt to complete the IHT400 form themselves and instead seek professional advice if the estate they are dealing with falls into this category. For this Inheritance Tax form you could approach either a specialist solicitor or accountant.

However, you can still use ProbateCalc to help you assemble and value the estate and provide the output to your chosen professional to complete the process on your behalf. It may save you time and money if some of the work is already done.

ProbateCalc will let you know which form applies during the Verification process when all the checks are made on the Estate Valuation against HMRC criteria.

If the estate falls under the following broad guidelines it is an excepted estate and there is normally no Inheritance Tax to pay if either:

  • the net value of your estate is below the £325,000 threshold
  • you leave everything up to £1 million gross value to your spouse, civil partner or a charity

Many estates are relatively straightforward and do not require the involvement of a solicitor.

Some estates may have complications that would benefit from advice or support from a solicitor and to finalise Probate. In such cases it would still be worthwhile using ProbateCalc to help with the assembly and valuation of the estate, which remains the responsibility of an Executor. Reports can be produced by ProbateCalc to show the estate valuation to a solicitor in order to assist them with the process. It will also give you a better idea of what is going on.

We recommend that you can make a start with ProbateCalc and assess your situation from there. You may save money in reduced solicitor’s fees and save time in getting Probate done.

The primary goal of ProbateCalc is to provide a means for executors and administrators to value the estate of a deceased person who was primarily resident in England and Wales. (Scotland has a different form). It provides guided worksheets for each category of asset and debt belonging to the deceased (the estate), mirroring the Inland Revenue's reporting requirements for Inheritance Tax in the U.K.

The worksheets provide organised and intelligent table structures to record the assets, debts and exemptions that may be applicable and maintain calculations for each category which are required for the official tax return. For Excepted Estates (those that meet certain rules and limits set down by the Inland Revenue) the information and calculations are automatically transferred to the official Inland Revenue IHT205 tax form.

The worksheets also serve to fully document the financial status of an estate for the purpose of evidence to executors and the authorities, should they request the records for inspection.

Each category of asset or debt has it's own worksheet table which includes automated features to reduce typing and validation checks to help prevent errors and inconsistencies. When all assets and debts have been recorded, ProbateCalc will verify the information against the Inland Revenue rules and limits and report where these are not met. If all rules and limits are satisfied, the estate will be highlighted as an Excepted Estate and qualifying for the IHT205 tax form.

According to Inland Revenue statistics for the tax year 2017-18, there were 620,000 deaths, of which 277,200 estates submitted an Inheritance Tax form. Of these 91% were not taxed and 96% were below the £1 million estate limit.

ProbateCalc is well suited to provide a reporting solution to the vast majority of estates that are required to submit an Inheritance Tax form.

Executors and administrators of estates can benefit from using ProbateCalc by carrying out the valuation themselves and having the Inheritance Tax form completed. In view of the published statistics, the majority of estates could be relatively straightforward to value given the guidance and automation features designed into ProbateCalc.

ProbateCalc is an online application that runs in the memory of your computer. No installation of software is needed. The data is stored in a highly secure online database (see Data Security).

The application will run on any desktop or laptop computer that has an internet browser installed (e.g. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari). A minimum of 4GB memory if no other software is running on the computer at the same time.

A tablet may not provide the optimum experience due to its screen size. We do NOT recommend a smartphone.

Because this is an online application, an internet connection is required. Slow internet connections may experience some delay in loading the application at the start and when transferring the data to the HMRC IHT205 form. The Trial version of the application (available free) will be a good test to determine whether ProbateCalc is suitable for your internet circumstances.

If you wish to have a paper copy of any of the forms or reports, a printer would be needed. However, Acrobat PDF files can be generated from any screen, which may be stored, emailed or printed later, as required.

Your data is held in a secure Firebase Realtime Database in a separate location to the application software. The Firebase Data service is operated by Google LLC.

Firebase is certified under major international privacy and security standards:-

  • ISO 27001 -
  • SOC 1 -
  • SOC 2 -
  • SOC 3 -

ProbateCalc users are given access to their data only by authentication of an email address and password, which is established and registered at the start of using the application. A strong password of at least 8 characters is highly recommended, with a mixture of letters, numbers and other keyboard symbols. The password can be changed at any time, and this is recommended on a regular basis.

Start a FREE Trial now, from where you can optionally purchase a full ProbateCalc licence for just £59, all inclusive.