How a probate valuation is carried out

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A probate valuation is an evaluation of everything left in someone’s estate when they die. Assets can include money in bank accounts and building societies, property, stocks and shares, vehicles, jewellery, works of arts and collections of anything valuable they might hold.

The value of the estate is the combined total of the assets minus any outstanding debts.

It is important that a probate valuation is carried out accurately, as this will affect how much inheritance tax is due on an estate (if it is due at all). At present, assets that amount to £325,000 and below are classed as in the nil rate band for inheritance tax. If an estate is worth more than that, it will be taxed at 40 percent.

Grant of Representation

The process is usually carried out by an executor. The Grant of Representation allows them to gain access to everything they need in order to establish the estate’s worth.

For most people, the largest asset they are likely to own is their home. For probate valuation, the property’s value is based on its open market value in a sale by a willing seller (usually the heirs) to a willing buyer. An example of this is Birmingham—at the time of writing, the average price paid for a property is £199,348 according to the house sales site, Zoopla.

Depending on how much an estate is thought to be worth, people might choose qualified chartered surveyors to value property as an example.

Probate valuation complications

Probate valuation can be complicated if the person who has died spent time abroad. This might mean they have bank accounts, or stocks and shares held overseas. If they have property abroad, different rules and regulations exist when it comes to passing on and selling property, and such considerations can slow up the process of probate valuation considerably.

For stocks in US or Canadian listed companies, anyone who lives outside those countries needs a Medallion Guarantee stamped transfer request if they want to sell the shares or transfer the ownership to someone else. The stamp is an official authentication of the validity and authority of the person initiating transfer and is intended to prevent fraud.

As you might imagine, the process can be time-consuming and confusing for anyone who doesn’t have experience in the transfer of overseas-based assets and shares, which is why we offer a full service for overseas assets, include Medallion Guarantees, selling shares worldwide and closing overseas bank and investment accounts.

Contact us if you have a question.