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  • Writer's pictureSteve Holden

An interesting Probate Valuation

Early in November last year we were contacted by an Executor asking us to meet with him at the home of a recently deceased gentleman to provide a quotation for a probate valuation.

So far, quite normal.

However . . . .

The property, a large five bedroomed house was filled to the rafters with paperwork, clothes, and collectibles, it was heavily furnished and hadn’t been cleaned for many years! There were rats in the loft and rodent droppings throughout the property. There had been a burst pipe in one of the bedrooms where everything was now wet and rotting as well as heavily overgrown grounds and gardens!

Our brief from the Executor was to sort through everything. Armed with this information we prepared a quotation that was accepted, and we commenced work a few days later.

After arranging for a professional vermin treatment/removal company to treat the entire property, we started work outfitted in protective clothing, gloves, and face masks!

Mid-February 2023, three months later, we have just completed ‘Phase one’ comprising:

Packing the paperwork into 85 large cardboard boxes and moving it to a nearby unused building. We proceeded to sort every single piece of paperwork, into shredding, and keeping. The house had been a family home for numerous generations and the paperwork we found went back to about 1750.

We discovered:

  • Over 50 bank and Building Society accounts – many still active

  • 14 current life assurance/pension plans

  • About 1,400 First Day Covers

  • More than £10,000 in cash (Now banked)

  • Ten gold sovereigns

  • A large coin collection

  • Shareholdings in 38 different companies

  • Almost £700 in old and discontinued UK banknotes

  • Around £350 in old and withdrawn UK coins

  • A large stamp collection

  • Two suitcases full of land and property title deeds (Many still owned by the Estate)

  • Numerous uncashed cheques

  • Handfuls of winning lottery tickets (Two were still current, which we cashed in for the Estate)

  • Three pallet loads of collectibles

  • Three Tupperware boxes of jewellery and watches

  • One large box of silverware and silver plate

  • About 50 unopened bottles of wine and whisky

  • Plus many more ‘normal’ items such as crockery, books, family photographs, tools, ornaments etc.

Everything is now securely stored off-site having been photographed, catalogued, and valued with a fully detailed 100+ page probate valuation completed and presented to the Executor and his solicitor.

Personal, family items such as photographs, legal documentation (Birth, marriage, and death certificates etc.) have also been catalogued and set aside for distant family members should they wish to have them.

We packed most of the clothing, shoes, hats, handbags etc. (Which was mostly damp, crumpled, and unwashed) into about 50 black plastic sacks for disposal once we’d sorted through it all, finding more cash, paperwork, and jewellery in the process.

We now await the Grant of Probate so we can commence Phase Two, which will comprise:

  • Arranging for the sellable furniture to go to auction

  • Delivering charity items to the deceased’s nominated charities

  • Disposing of unsellable items such as sofas, chairs, mattresses, old white goods, curtains, clothes etc.

  • Sale of the stocks and shares.

  • Cashing in the pensions and life policies.

  • Sorting and combining the bank accounts into manageable numbers.

  • Managing the cleaning and re-decorating of the property prior to it being sold

  • Managing the grounds and gardens maintenance

  • Plus numerous smaller tasks!

We are a family business run by husband-and-wife team Steve and Karen Holden. With almost 60 years joint experience in providing Probate Valuations and ancillary services there is very little that surprises us or that we haven’t dealt with before. Please contact us to discuss our services.

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