Getting a Probate Property Valued

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Getting a Probate Property Valued
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Following the death of a loved one, sorting out their assets can sometimes be complicated. If they have left a Will, then this will hopefully indicate who their property(s) should be left to. But there are many other complications involved, which might include the need to apply for probate.

Probate is a subject area which We Buy Any Home has covered extensively in other blogs – for example, we have a page dedicated to how to value house contents for probate. But if you are specifically wondering about probate valuations – including what these are, how much they cost, how long they take, and more – then keep reading our blog below.

What is a probate valuation?

In the deceased’s Will, they will have hopefully named the person or people who’ll be entitled to their property. Before the beneficiary of the property can become the legal owner, the property has to undergo a probate valuation to determine its worth.

A probate valuation is also used to:

  • Find out whether or not inheritance tax needs to be paid, and if so, how much
  • Calculate the Capital Gains Tax on any assets that have increased in value since the death
  • Ensure any outstanding debts are paid off, and the estate is properly distributed to the beneficiaries
  • Make the probate application (as the probate valuation has to come first)

The valuation will identify how much the property would sell for if it was sold on the open market.

Is there a time limit for a probate valuation?

There is not a time limit in the UK on when you can apply for probate. Therefore, there is not a time limit for a probate valuation to be completed. Just keep in mind that inheritance tax must be paid within six months of the person passing away, irrespective of how far along you are in the probate process.

How much does a probate valuation cost?

Most property experts charge to complete a valuation of your house. They will either charge a fixed rate, which may vary depending on the size of your property, or they might charge between 1 – 5% of your house’s value.

While some estate agents offer free valuations, these are often not as accurate as an independent expert’s valuation, because estate agents sometimes exaggerate their valuation to please their prospective customer. If possible, and if you have the finances to do so, you may want to consider getting second or third opinions, just to be thorough.

Does a probate valuation take longer than normal?

There is no reason why a probate valuation might take longer than a normal valuation to complete. If the house is poor condition (perhaps it has a bad odour, or the garden has been untreated for a long time – which may be particularly problematic if a while has passed since the owner passing away) then remember that this might affect what people are willing to pay for it, and may affect its valuation.

Should I empty the house before a probate valuation?

You are legally required to wait until probate is granted before you empty the contents of a property. Therefore, you should not empty the house before a probate valuation. This is particularly advisable if there is more than one beneficiary of the property, as you may need to discuss as a group who inherits which items from the interior of the house.

Does probate need to be completed to sell a house?

Yes, probate needs to be completed before you can legally sell a house. However, you are allowed to list a property on the market before probate is completed – but you cannot complete the paperwork to sell it until probate is granted. Some people may place the house on the market before the probate is granted to speed up the selling process.

Who is responsible to keep a property secure while probate is being completed?

It is the responsibility of the executor or administrator to keep the property secure while it is not being lived in. In many instances, the probate process can take over six months, and the house therefore needs to be secure during this timeframe.

If damage happens to the home while probate is being completed, it may be the case that the executor or administrator is liable to the beneficiaries and creditors if, for example, it decreases its value.

The process of keeping an uninhabited house safe and secure is not always straightforward. In addition to installing security measures and getting the correct insurance in place, you may also have to take care of smaller details, such as turning on the heating in cold seasons to prevent burst pipes or damp.

We Buy Any Home has a collection of blogs on our website surrounding probate, selling houses, and much more. Visit our other blog for more guidance on selling an inherited property.

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