Frequently asked questions
Whilst the services we provide are simply described, they cover a comprehensive range of interlocking components that can be confusing to those of us unaccustomed to dealing with the Estate of a friend or loved one.
The questions and answers below provide an easy to understand summary of the processes involved and how we are able to assist. Please call or email us to discuss which services would best meet your needs.
One of the primary duties of an executor (or administrator) of a will is to value the estate, including the deceased's goods and chattels. (The possessions contained in a property which are not part of the fabric of the building.)
As an example, the furniture would be a chattel, whereas, generally, the radiators which are fixed to the walls are not. As part of the winding up process, an executor will be required to provide the total value of all the chattels, so that tax liabilities can be correctly assessed. These documents are known as probate valuations.
What is a probate (chattels) valuation?
What form does the probate valuation take?
We provide the documentation for probate valuations in the form of a declaration of value, and, where appropriate, a schedule of higher value items. The value of the goods and chattels is declared to be that which pertains at the date of death.
We provide a comprehensive typed and authenticated probate valuation within seven days of appraisal, unless additional research is required.
We also supply all probate valuations in PDF format and send them by email to all interested parties, making distribution easier and quicker for those involved.
Can you help us to leave the property in a safe and secure condition?
If requested, we can drain down central heating systems and water tanks. We can also isolate all electrical systems and secure the premises by changing the locks. We employ the services of qualified locksmiths, GAS SAFE (Formally CORGI) gas engineers, plumbers and electricians. This is particularly important if the property is likely to be empty for an extended period.
What about the garden?
Provals are able to establish and manage a garden maintenance schedule subject to the time of year that can include grass cutting, weeding and pruning as necessary to keep the property looking cared for. This is particularly important if a property is to be sold, "Kerb appeal" being high on the list of influencing factors.
Unfortunately, the property has been left in a somewhat messy condition with food still in the fridge, carpets marked etc., are you able to help with this?
Provals works with reputable professional cleaning companies that will undertake complete house cleaning services. We would be happy to instruct and manage them for you.
Why do I need a professional probate valuation?
There are three reasons why obtaining professional valuations will help to smooth the process of obtaining probate.
First, the value of the goods and chattels in an estate form part of the total valuation for tax purposes, and professional probate valuations of house contents by recognised organisation such as ProVals are much less likely to be queried by HMRC, which could mean fewer delays.
Second, probate valuations by someone without expert knowledge could result in over valuation which could cause additional, unnecessary tax liabilities or undervaluation, resulting in a query being raised by the tax authorities, which could cause significant delays in the winding up of the estate.
Third, where individual items are bequeathed to specific beneficiaries, or there is family division, itemised independent probate valuations will simplify the process of calculating tax liabilities on these items.
Can you assist us to realise the monetary value of antiques or collectables, which would assist in winding up an estate?
Provals are happy to arrange property clearance for you, this may include removing antiques and collectables to a reputable auction house, and disposing of unsellable items through local recycling centres and/or charity shops, whichever is most suitable.
We will also arrange for the delivery of items to beneficiaries and purchasers from the estate.
We want to ensure the property sells for the best possible price, so décor is important, how can you help with this?
We have been producing schedules of dilapidations and inventories of condition for both Residential properties and Commercial premises since 1993 so are able to prepare fully itemised costings for repairing and decorating to whatever standard you prefer. Following your agreement we will manage the agreed work through to conclusion.
What about items I wish to keep?
We are always happy to transport any items you wish to retain to a location of your choice.
I'm not in the UK at the moment. Can you help?
Yes, we are always pleased to assist with international enquiries and have all the necessary facilities available for individuals and companies requiring our services whilst abroad.
Which HMRC forms will I need when dealing with a probate valuation of household and personal goods or chattels?
You will need to complete the following forms:
Schedule IHT 407: This section covers jewellery, vehicles, boats, aircraft, antiques, works of art, or collections
Schedule IHT 408: This is for household and personal goods donated to charity
Schedule IHT 404: Jointly owned assets
The forms are available online and can be downloaded from HMRC (Click for link, opens in a new page)
Please make sure you attach our written probate valuation to these forms when submitting them to HMRC.