When someone dies, it is essential that a valuation of their property is carried out for probate purposes.
What is a Probate Valuation?
“Probate” is the term for the legal process that needs to be followed in the aftermath of a person’s death. At the heart of the process is the calculation of the value of all their assets – including their property and cash – at the time of their death.
The main reason why an estate valuation for probate is important is that the assets of the deceased cannot be distributed according to the terms of their last will and testament until they have been valued.
To carry out such an important task as an estate valuation for probate, it is highly recommended that you utilise the services of a company with the experience and knowledge of the process, such as a chartered surveyor and registered valuer.
Of course, the amount of time it takes to complete a valuation of property for probate purposes will depend on how complicated the person’s financial affairs are.
However, even in the most straightforward cases, when the deceased has left all the relevant paperwork highly organised and their estate appears easy to understand, several factors need to be considered.
This process has to be followed, because it is essential that a Grant of Probate must be issued relating to the deceased person’s estate. Only when the Grant of Probate has been issued can their assets be distributed.
Usually, probate is handled by the executors named by the deceased in their will. If they did not leave a will, administrators are named who will oversee the process. In this case, rather than a Grant of Probate being issues, Letters of Administration are created instead.
Probate: Home Valuation
The most significant asset most people own is their house. So it naturally follows that a valuation of their property for probate purposes is an incredibly important part of the work of processing their estate.
An experienced registered valuer will have the knowledge and insight of the local property market and any prevailing trends to enable them to calculate the value of the home in question when its owner died.
Crucially, they will also be able to assist with assessing the value of the contents of the home. This can be a considerable sum if the deceased left a large house; and items such as computer equipment, jewellery and precious antiques all need to be valued, with those values included in the estate.
Only when the home and all its contents at the time of death have been assessed can a final figure be calculated. It is extremely advisable, therefore, to engage the services of a respected and trustworthy registered valuer to carry out this process.
Probate: Commercial Property Valuation
When the person who died was the owner of a business, there needs to be a valuation for probate purposes of their commercial property. That means any premises, and their contents, as well as associated assets such as company cars, need to be assessed as part of their estate.
A registered valuer or chartered surveyor with experience of commercial property assessment is ideally placed to deliver a valuation of the property for probate purposes.
Apart from being able to assess the actual value of the property, an experienced professional will have a clear view as to what should be included in the valuation.
This means you can proceed with confidence, knowing that you are in expert hands as you continue with the process of arriving at an estate valuation for probate.
Why Do I Need a Probate Valuation?
There are several reasons why it is essential to calculate an estate valuation for probate. Principal among these is that until a Grant of Probate is issued, the executors of the deceased’s will may not distribute money or possessions in the estate. This means that, for instance, they will be unable to sell the home of the person who has died.
It is also only once a Grant of Probate has been issued that HMRC will decide whether or not any Inheritance Tax needs to be paid by the executors – and if so, how much. This calculation will take into account the value of the estate, and any allowances that need to be applied to it.
It is also possible that a level of Capital Gains Tax might be applied to some of the assets in the estate if they have appreciated in value between their purchase and the owner’s death.
Appointing a Professional Valuer
The shock of losing a partner or parent means that the aftermath of their death is a stressful and challenging time. The need to arrive at an estate valuation for probate purposes can add extra complication and anxiety to the grieving process.
Using the services of an experienced chartered surveyor, such as Copping Joyce Solicitors, to navigate through the Probate process is a positive and constructive step to take.
Our expert valuers can guide you and provide a valuation of your property for probate purposes. We include detailed descriptions, photographs and our methodology to help HMRC to accept the calculations we arrive at – and keep the process as smooth as possible.
It has been legal since 2017 for executors to apply for a Grant of Probate online – but it is not uncommon for errors to be made, leading to delays.
HMRC is far more likely to investigate an application, and question its valuation, if it has not been prepared and submitted by a trained professional. If a professional property valuer carries out the valuation, HMRC usually accepts it without a challenge.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY DO I NEED A PROBATE VALUATION?
Because until a Grant of Probate has been issued, the executors of a person’s will are not allowed to distribute the proceeds of a person’s estate – their property, cash and other assets – to the beneficiaries named in that will.
WHAT IS PROBATE?
Probate is the name for the legal process under which the possessions of someone who has died are valued. Executors of a person’s will need a Grant of Probate before they can carry out the wishes of the deceased.
WHAT IF NO WILL HAS BEEN LEFT?
If someone dies without leaving a will, also known as intestate, their possessions can still be distributed. In such circumstances, the Rules of Intestacy apply. However, it is not uncommon for there to be conflict and confusion arising when it is decided who should receive what from the estate.
WHAT IS INHERITANCE TAX?
Inheritance Tax is applied to all estates. However, it is only levied once the estate passes a certain threshold and there are allowances that can be applied to offset the level of Inheritance Tax that needs to be paid.
CAN I APPLY FOR PROBATE MYSELF?
Yes you can, but attaining a Grant of Probate is a complicated process. You may feel daunted about undertaking it at a time when you are suffering the grief and shock of bereavement. It is advisable to engage the services of a professional chartered surveyor or registered valuer such as Copping Joyce Solicitors to arrive at an accurate valuation that is accepted by HMRC.
WHAT IS COVERED IN A VALUATION REPORT?
– Our initial advice and an inspection of the property
– A calculation of the market value of the property at the time of death
– Negotiations with HMRC if any queries arise – this may incur additional costs