As an executor, you will need to have the personal possessions which form part of the estate valued. It may be tempting for executors to do this simply by estimating the values themselves, particularly in smaller estates. Alternatively, they may risk using an unqualified valuer, charging a small fee – Both these approaches are inherently risky.
While it is true that a full probate valuation is not required if the total value of the estate is less than £250 000, HMRC may still query the valuation and enquire as to the basis on which the total value was arrived at. Clear cases of undervaluation could result in draconian penalties being charged, even where the executor acted in good faith.
When obtaining a quotation for the valuation, it is worth checking whether the price quoted is the final cost, as many valuers offer a price subject to research time. Any good valuer should be able to give a good estimate on the spot, and research time should not be necessary. It is better to use a valuer who gives a fixed price, without any hidden extras.
Many firms of solicitors, and professional executors choose Avery Associates because we provide an accurate, RICS valuation, but only charge a single, fixed fee of £350, which is a small price to pay for an accurate valuation. Valuation for probate is a part of the process of winding up an estate where it pays to get the best valuation possible. Getting a cheaper, unprofessional valuation could be a false economy, because of the risk of overvaluation, resulting in too much tax being paid, or undervaluation, which could result in HMRC penalties.