House Valuation for Probate - What You Need to Know
If you’re the Executor of a Will, you’ll be responsible for valuing your loved one’s Estate (their house, assets and possessions) for Probate.
This can feel like an overwhelming task during what’s already an emotional time, especially if you’re dealing with a large Estate.
If you’re unsure where to start, our Probate Solicitors can help you. We know that bereavement can be overwhelming, so we’ll make the Probate process as stress-free as possible for you. Get in touch today for free initial legal advice and to see how we can support you.
House Valuation Process for Probate
There are 3 things you need to do:
- Contact the deceased persons’ bank and utility providers for details of their assets and any outstanding debts which need to be paid.
- Estimate the value of the Estate – this includes your loved one’s home, possessions and savings. This amount will give you an indication of whether you need to pay Inheritance Tax.
- Report the Estate’s value to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC will either accept or dispute the value depending on how accurate they think it is.
Once a value has been agreed, and other parts of the Probate process have been completed, the Estate can be divided amongst the beneficiaries according to the Will. If there isn’t a Will, strict inheritance laws apply in England and Wales. See Rules of Intestacy Explained.
Valuing a Property for Probate
Valuing a property and its contents is not a quick job and you might be unsure where to even begin. The first thing you should start with is the property itself. You can get an estimated value from an Estate Agent or Chartered Surveyor.
We recommend getting two or three valuations of the property and working out a value from the average.
If you need to pay Inheritance Tax (IHT) on the Estate, then it’s usually best to get a valuation of the house from a Chartered Surveyor. They can help you estimate an accurate value that factors in IHT and is more likely to be accepted by HMRC.
Once you’ve estimated a value, you’ll submit this to HMRC. They’ll either accept it or challenge it and ask for evidence. If they think you’ve been negligent in how you’ve estimated the valuation, you could be issued a financial penalty.
Getting a professional opinion on the value of the property is beneficial as it usually means your valuation is more likely to be accepted by HMRC.
If You Want to Sell the Property
Executors will often have to sell the property as part of winding up the Estate. If the person who died owned the property solely in their name, then this can be done by applying for a Grant of Probate.
Obtaining the Grant of Probate usually takes a few months, but until it’s been issued by the Probate Registry (Court), the property cannot be sold but it can be put on the market. For more information see Selling a Probate Property.
If the Property or Land was Owned by Joint Tenants
If the house, flat or land is owned by Joint Tenants, it will be divided by the number of owners to find their individual value. For Tenants in Common, the property value will be calculated based on the share the deceased person owned before they died.
Valuing Possessions for Probate
The next thing you need to do is begin listing and valuing the contents of the house and any outbuildings. Think carefully about what to include here as sometimes an item you think is valuable won’t necessarily be of value to someone else.
Examples of valuable items include:
- Cars and other vehicles
If you’re unsure of an item’s value, try searching online to see how much similar items are selling for. Remember to always factor in how old the item is and its condition.
For valuable jewellery, artwork and antiques, you should get a professional valuation from a specialist who can give you a more accurate idea of their value.
If the Estate is valued over the Inheritance Tax threshold (currently £325,000) you will need to pay Inheritance Tax subject to any Inheritance Tax Planning or transferred nil-band rate allowances.
When calculating how much the Estate is worth, remember that this includes all of your loved one’s assets, not just their property.
It also includes any high value or monetary gifts they gave away in the last 7 years before their death. If the deceased person had any money in trusts, bank accounts, pensions, shares or investments, then these will also need to be factored into the valuation.
How Long Does it Take to Value an Estate?
Usually it takes between 6 to 9 months to valuate a property for Probate but it can take longer depending on the size and complexity of the Estate.
Do I Need a Professional House Valuation for Probate?
No you don’t but it can be useful, especially if you’re dealing with HMRC. You can do this informally by asking an Estate Agent, or formally through a qualified valuer or Chartered Surveyor.
Our Probate Solicitors are also on hand to give you legal advice and support. We offer a Full Probate Service or we can just help you with any part of the Estate administration, including gathering and valuing all of the Estate assets.
Get in touch today if you’d like help with a house valuation for Probate.
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