Valuing a property for probate
When someone dies leaving a property, such as a house or flat, their executor must get the property formally valued before they can get a grant of representation, or the legal right to deal with the estate. The valuation also helps work out how much inheritance tax is due, if any.
The government’s website at www.gov.uk is a useful place to find out how the process of probate works in the UK in legal terms; however, there is also much to consider when preparing the property for its valuation. Here are some tips to help.
Know the property’s history
Probate valuations depend on a number of factors, from the age and condition of the house or flat to its location and state of the local housing market. Find out as much as you can to help the process by getting hold of all the paperwork you can dig out. Ask neighbours if they know of any unusual boundaries or quirks that need following up with the Land Registry.
Access all areas
While valuing for probate is very different from valuing a property to sell for the highest price possible, you nevertheless need to make sure it is presented correctly. This means making sure that the person valuing it can access every last square metre, both inside and all-roundQ the garden and grounds. Make sure you have the keys to unlock places like the shed and that you can get in and out of the attic and basement safely. Clear out any intrusive clutter and get rid of all obvious junk. Show them the boiler, electric and gas meters and heating systems.
Often, properties needing probate valuations can stand empty for quite some time. This can cause problems, especially in winter, with an increased risk of burst pipes or damp creeping in. Having someone live temporarily in the property, or arranging for it to be visited and aired regularly, will reduce this risk. Not to mention satisfy the insurance companies if the worst should happen. Being seen to visit the place often will also discourage squatters or burglars who might otherwise take an unwanted interest.
Clearing and cleaning up
Probate valuations don’t require quite the same level of presentation as a regular estate agent might require, however it is still wise to spruce it up as best as possible to present a realistic, positive view. Get rid of unwanted furniture by selling it at auction, donating it to charity or arranging for its safe disposal. An expert house clearance company will be able to sort this for you. Bring in a professional cleaning company to give everything the once over inside and arrange for the garden to be tidied up to ensure a good first impression on arrival.