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  • Writer's pictureSteve Holden

Our first blog!

Here at Provals we've semi-reluctantly taken the "bold step" to start blogging!

Having long been averse to all things of this type (i.e. Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Twittrr etc) I've finally taken the plunge and joined the 21st century!

So, this is my first blog for Provals.

Provals is a leading provider of Probate Valuations in the UK. With around 20 year's experience we work for solicitors and Administrators to supply detailed valuations for probate and tax purposes.

We also manage a full range of additional services either through our own resources or via accredited third-party businesses and individuals - all of whom we have carefully vetted before chosing to work with them.

The list of services we supply and manage includes:

Probate Valuations:

Our probate valuation reports have been designed to be clear, precise and easily understood thus making them extremely useful tools. This enables executors to easily and quickly identify each item and its location when they need to disburse them.

They are sorted on a room-by-room basis with a separate entry for each item. The details for every item contains the following information:

  • A colour photograph.

  • Detailed description including maker, product range, and the date of manufacture (if known) as well as the condition if there is any damage.

  • Disposal recommendation, or the name of the beneficiary if known.

  • Value - values are calculated at the price an item might achieve if sold privately as of the date of death. This is not an auction value or a retail value.

Each room or area section also includes a total value and there is a summary total for all rooms and areas including lofts, gardens, garages, sheds and basements at the end of the valuation report.

Although we are knowledgeable about a great many items, artwork, jewellery, furniture, and record or book collections we also undertake detailed research if we are unsure about any item's history or value.

This includes consulting with a range of specialist contacts we have built up over the years. As an example, the retired Head of Chinese Works of Art for the world renowned auction house Sotheby's is not only a regular contact but also a friend.

Other services:

Full professional house clearance including garages, sheds, and lofts.

One of the most important, and time-consuming tasks is to clear a property. Many older people like to have the possessions they've accumulated close by to remind them of happy times, family and friends so it is a delicate matter to sort through everything to ensure nothing that might be sentimental or of value is disposed of but is passed on to the beneficiaries. We manage the clearance making sure everything is dealt with in accordance with any bequests and complies with local regulations and recycling laws. When sorting through a property, we often find "hidden" jewellery and cash that nobody realised was there. (We recently found 14 gold half-sovereigns and about £1,200 cash with a total value of around £4,000 hidden at a property) Please try to avoid using a "man with van" to clear the property unless you're absolutely certain there is nothing of value left - this can be fraught with problems, and may result in fines and a criminal record for fly tipping, plus it usually costs quite a lot of money!

Entering antiques and collectibles into suitable auctions

We have very strong working relationships with top quality and reliable auction houses. They are happy to meet us at properties and sort through items that could go to auction, and advise on the best auction for them - be it jewellery, furniture, pictures, books or other items.

Disposal of items to charity shops and/or recycling centres

Too many items end up in land fill. We take a very hands-on, pro-active approach to reduce this to the absolute minimum and are happy to arrange for their collection or we will deliver them to local charity shops and depots. If a deceased's will requests that a specific charity receives certain items we contact them to make the delivery/collection arrangements. We also ensure that the Government's Gift Aid system is used to increase the value of donations to charity by 20%. We are delighted that by doing this we help to raise many extra £1,000's for charity every year.

Delivery of retained items

We frequently arrange the careful packaging and secure delivery of items that are bequests in someone's will. Although dealing with the loss of a loved one or friend is a difficult time, receiving a gift from them that may have meant a lot to you both often helps to make dealing with their passing easier. If the recipient is within a reasonable driving distance we're also happy to personally deliver items to them.

Servicing, repairs and draining down of heating and water systems

Empty and unoccupied houses seem to deteriorate more quickly than occupied ones. Regularly servicing the boiler helps to ensure that there are no fractured pipes. If a property is left empty for an extended period the insurance company will probably insist that everything is drained down. Provals can instruct plumbers, Oil boiler specialists and Gas Safety engineers to check and service heating and hot water systems either regularly or one-off if needed. Gas boilers and appliances may also require annual safety checks if a property is to be rented out.

Servicing, repairs and upgrading of electrical systems

Confirming that the electric installation in a home is safe is of paramount importance - particularly if the property is to be rented out, in which case it is also a legal requirement. We can arrange for testing and upgrading/repairs if necessary. This service extends to checking lighbulbs, replacing failed ones if necessary, and also setting up a night-time light on a timer for additional security.

Installation of security systems, upgrading locks and window locks

An unoccupied property is always tempting to thieves so additional security measures are strongly advised. These range from additional door and window locks through to monitored alarm systems in some cases, all of which we can advise on and arrange to have installed. If we are managing the clearance of a property, or engaging tradespeople to prepare it for sale or rental, we can install (with the Estate's permission) a secure keysafe to make it easier and more time efficient for trusted trades to come and go. It can then be removed at the end of the process.

Initial and on-going garden maintenance

Unfortunately the whole probate procedure tends to take much longer than anticipated, or hoped for. It frequently takes the courts three to five months to grant probate. Regular and on-going garden maintenance ensures that the grass, borders, shrubs, fencing and drives/paths are kept seasonally neat & tidy, as well as in good repair. Provals are able to instruct gardeners and maintenance people to take care of the gardens as needed. This is particularly relevant if the Executors do not live close by and can only get to the property every few weeks.

Full professional house clean including cookers, carpets and windows

Having a property professionally cleaned before moving in, selling or renting it leaves it clean and smelling fresh throughout, so welcoming to everyone who goes there. Prospective purchasers and renters quickly see "Red flags" such as poor quality cleaning and use it as an excuse to try and negotiate substantial purchase price or monthly rental discounts. Through our carefully vetted, cost effective professional cleaners we are able to present a property so that it gains the maximum income for the vendor or Landlord.

Internal and external decorating and repairs

To achieve maximum "kerb appeal" for properties being sold or rented it is vital to present them as well as possible, after all there is a lot of competition out there! Re-decorating will lift a property and help reduce any "red flags" that cause buyers and renters to offer silly prices or just walk away. It's strange, but properties always seem to deteriorate much more rapidly when they are unoccupied, hence the need to keep them well maintained during the months that the probate is being processed before completion. Provals works with experienced painters and decorators that can be trusted to complete works on time and within budget.

Please contact us to discuss any requirements you might have.

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