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The days after

PUBLISHED: 07:35 25 November 2014 | UPDATED: 08:10 25 November 2014

Auctioneer Rebecca Mayhew in the sales room at Durrants Auction Room.

Picture: James Bass

Auctioneer Rebecca Mayhew in the sales room at Durrants Auction Room. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

Probate is the procedure of requesting a legal document from HM Courts and Tribunals Service that allows you to take control of the estate of a deceased person.

What exactly is probate?

Probate is the procedure of requesting a legal document from HM Courts and Tribunals Service that allows you to take control of the estate of a deceased person. As a named executor or administrator, you have the right to apply to the courts for a grant of probate, and in order to do this, you will require, among other documents, a valuation of the deceased’s residence and chattels.

What is a probate valuation?

Probate valuations are required when a deceased’s estate is being calculated for the purposes of inheritance tax liability with HM Revenue and Customs. This is used by solicitors and executors to calculate the value of the estate for both non-taxable and taxable estates.

Why use a professional probate valuer?

A probate valuation by someone without expert knowledge could result in over valuation, which could cause additional, unnecessary tax liabilities or undervaluation, resulting in a query being raised by the tax authorities and delays in the winding up of the estate. It is advisable to use a qualified valuer and a firm with professional accreditation, such as by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Natioanl Association of Valuers and Auctioneers or Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers.

Is a grant of probate always needed?

Not always. It is best to check with a solicitor first, particularly if there is no valid will. However, even if a grant is not required, there may also be Inheritance Tax (IHT) issues of which you might not be aware, and for which an IHT return may be required.

What happens after the grant of probate has been obtained?

The executors/administrators use the grant to take control of the deceased’s assets, which can then be closed or sold. Any outstanding debts and the balance of any IHT due need to be paid before money, property or investments can be transferred to the beneficiaries.

How are household and personal good valued?

The value for probate is based on “open market value” – generally considerably less than a retail insurance figure and it’s vital that any valuation takes this important factor into account, otherwise the estate might find itself unnecessarily liable to IHT.

How will the valuation take place?

A valuer needs to visit the deceased’s property, during which extensive notes and photographs are taken. A report is then prepared in accordance with Section 160 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 and sent to the executors, administrators and their advisors.

Is a professional probate valuation guaranteed to be accepted by the authorities?

Our valuers have spent many years carrying out valuations and it is extremely rare for one of our valuations to be queried by HMRC.

What options are available for the disposal of chattels?

With our experience we not only provide you with a valuation of the chattels but offer a variety of disposal methods if required.

House Clearance:

As a part of the probate process, it is quite likely that the deceased’s property will need to be cleared, which we are able to undertake as we work closely with a number of clearance and removal firms who are sensitive, honest and reliable.

Auction:

To offset the costs of house clearance, anything saleable is dealt with by our auction team in the most relevant sale to realise the full potential of the assets for the executors and beneficiaries.

For further information, contact Rebecca Mayhew MRCIS, FAAV (RICS registered valuer) on 01502 713490; Rebecca.Mayhew@durrants.com

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