Probate Advice for Executors and Administrators Dealing With Deceased Estates.
If you have been appointed as the executor of a will, and are not a legal professional, you may find the process of dealing with the estate of the testator a little daunting. Here is some useful information on the legal processes involved in dealing with the goods and chattels which form part of the estate.
You may have arrived at this page after reading HMRC guidelines or because you have been requested by your solicitor to obtain an official typed, written probate valuation report, produced on headed note paper, which confirms to the authorities the value of the goods and chattels of the estate for probate purposes.
It is difficult to know where to begin when faced with the house contents, personal possessions and belongings of a relative, beloved friend or client, but there are a number of practical considerations which arise from a bereavement, and with our many years of experience, we can assist you by reducing the administrative burden involved.
The purpose of the following information is to explain the process of obtaining probate or letters of administration, and the services which Avery Associates can provide which can assist you in your function as an executor or administrator.
If you are named as an executor in a will, whether or not you are a beneficiary, it will be your task to take control of the deceased person’s assets and distribute them according to his or her wishes. In many cases, the executor will not be a legal professional but a relative or friend of the deceased.
Your right to deal with the goods, chattels (the possessions contained in the dwelling which are not part of the fabric of the property) and other assets does not derive directly from the will itself, but as the named executor you have the right to apply to the courts for a grant of probate, and in order to do this, you will require, amongst other documents, a valuation of the contents of the deceased’s home. This document, known as a written probate valuation report or chattels valuation, will need to be submitted to the courts and the tax authorities for Inheritance Tax calculations.
If the deceased did not leave a will, probate cannot be granted. Instead, the court appoints a relative to administer the property and distribute the assets in accordance with the law. The relative in this case is granted letters of administration, and is legally known as the Administrator.
At Avery Associates, we have over 35 years’ experience in assisting executors, and we do this by first valuing the contents, and providing the documentation in a format which will mean that it is unlikely that the valuation will be queried by HMRC, which will result in fewer delays in the granting of probate.
Please note: it is advisable for a written probate valuation to be obtained, even if the contents have little or no value, as the court needs to be made aware of this. In addition, it is always possible that there may be valuable items which can be missed by the untrained eye.
Another important reason for obtaining a valuation of chattels is that an overvaluation by untrained individuals could result in increased tax liability. This is the reason that solicitors normally insist that a professional valuation is obtained.
For higher value items, and estates, we will engage the services of one of our RICS Chartered Surveyors, to ensure an accurate valuation.
We can then offer additional services, including
- The complete clearance of the property, including cases where the premises are extremely cluttered, possibly as the result of hoarding.
- Transportation of items you wish to retain to a destination of your choice.
- Clearance and reinstatement of gardens
- Deep cleaning, where the property has been neglected, possibly as the result of illness or disability.
Our aim is to simplify the process of dealing with this aspect of estate administration, and to assist executors and administrators to ensure that the property is ready for sale or transfer to a landlord, with the minimum of fuss and effort, thereby relieving relatives and executors of at least a part of the administrative burden of dealing with a bereavement.
This page contains a brief explanation of the probate process, and is not an authoritative statement of the law. For more detailed information, we will be pleased to recommend a solicitor who can assist you further.
For more information, visit our Executors Probate Valuation FAQs page or call us on 0800 567 7769.