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Probate process advice

Thread to get support and hand-holding for stages of probate stuff where I go 'wha?'. Will be doing it myself as I have plenty of time on my hands and no fear of wading in admin.

Current status
: need to apply for letters of administration, pending an estate valuation. Having searched around on here, waiting for contact from a RISC surveyor to do this, looks to be through White Horse, any warnings away from them appreciated. I take it they will need to come in and look around. I plan to stay in the property. Once I have the valuation I can go through HMRC for the purpose of IHT working out. I'm almost certain the estate will fall well below the £325,000 level which may help.

Questions:
-If known here, are there any legal precedents or 'best practice' advices for avoiding alterations to an intestate property?
I would like to remove our prepayment electric meter and change to a cheaper company/tariff especially with the way things are going but do not want to exceed authority or risk any issues. I am now the accountholder for the bills but this seems to be a potential banana skin area. Other potential alternations/home improvements can wait though there are a few cosmetic things relating to summer that I would like to pursue also when appropriate (blinds or aircon installation, primarily). 
-After a RISC valuation do I then need to add together the value of major items in the house to approach final estate value for HMRC?
If so I would be very grateful if someone could give a gloss on what level of stuff to include: major purchases/assets such as white goods, appliances etc are obvious, basic level things such as clothing and other minor possessions are not.

Accountholder transfers all actioned, only one left to prod on followups, non-urgent. Bank account frozen and all DD's dealt with. Need to check with life insurance companies whether policies are held in trust and get claims underway: one company dragging their heels.
-Should I ask the insurance companies whether they would prefer me to submit the policy claims before Letters of Administration are granted for time purposes, or wait and advise them of the delay?
As I understand it, in trust would *not* contribute to value of estate: otherwise they would.
Thanks in advance for any help. I'm very lucky that admin is not a foreign thing for me so it's easy for me to compartmentalise it and crack on as needs be.
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Replies

  • petaQpetaQ Forumite
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    Prod - can anyone answer my q's or direct me directly in the right direction? :)
  • Keep_pedallingKeep_pedalling Forumite
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    What was your relationship to the deceased person? Did your own the property jointly and if so as tenants in common or joint tenants?

    there should be nothing stopping your changing energy suppliers.
  • petaQpetaQ Forumite
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    Oops! Forgot that bit :smiley: This was my father who owned the property singularly. 
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Who else benefits from the death? How many other beneficiaries, and what is your relationship to them? 

    If it's just you, no-one's going to care ... 
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • petaQpetaQ Forumite
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    I'm the only inheritor. What do you mean no-one's going to care? Can't parse that at all.
  • sassybluesassyblue Forumite
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    Do you actually need a property surveyor? Why can’t you decide the value for inheritance tax purposes since you are the only person to inherit and you will be living in the property anyway?


    Happy moneysaving all.
  • petaQpetaQ Forumite
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    Isn't this what I'm asking you guys? :wink: No really, I had understood that I have to go through several spaghetti hoops with HMRC and probate/LoA to get the house transferred, and have read that if I underestimate the estate's value I can be subject to whacking great fees and such. I know the original purchase value, I know what a property on the street sold for, but afaik I have to be careful. :smile:

  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    petaQ said:
    I had understood that I have to go through several spaghetti hoops with HMRC and probate/LoA to get the house transferred, and have read that if I underestimate the estate's value I can be subject to whacking great fees and such. I know the original purchase value, I know what a property on the street sold for, but afaik I have to be careful. :smile:
    Is the estate anywhere near paying IHT?  If not, there's not much to worry about.
  • petaQpetaQ Forumite
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    @Mojisola not to my knowledge, perhaps it'd be best if I email or ring HMRC and ask their point of view?
  • edited 12 June at 1:35AM
    p00hsticksp00hsticks Forumite
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    edited 12 June at 1:35AM
    petaQ said:
    @Mojisola not to my knowledge, perhaps it'd be best if I email or ring HMRC and ask their point of view?
    What I've just done is got a couple of estate agents in to give me written valuations of the market value of the property, and I also have a direct comparable of an identical property over the road which is currently SSTC. I used the average of these three valuations when filling in the HMRC valuation that is required before probate. But as I need to sell the property in order to distribute the estate now I have probate, I know that I'll soon be able to confirm the actual market valuem and am confident that the estate as a whole is well under the IHT threshold. If I was remaining in the property I think I'd probably pay for a RICS valuation to be on the safe side.
    As for valuing assets like household goods, you need to bear in mind that you are looking at the market value of the goods as is, not how much they cost new. The general concensus seems to be that second hand value of items like furniture, white goods, clothing, cookware is pretty minimal and is nearly always overestimated - we put down an rough figiure of £1000, and in actual fact will probably end up paying for the remainder to be cleared  having given most of it such as books, clothing etc to charity shops.
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