When can I start clearing my mother's house?

My mother died this week and I am heading back to the UK today to manage everything.  I am the only child, executor and sole beneficiary (according to the latest will I have).

Currently I have not received a death certificate, planned the funeral etc. I just found out last night when the police informed me.


According to the latest will i have, I am the executor and sole beneficiary.

1. How do I ensure this is the latest will?

2. If there are no newer wills, when can I start clearing the house/donating furniture etc.? Immediately, or wait until probate?
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Replies

  • doodlingdoodling Forumite
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    Hi,

    There is no foolproof way of finding out if you have the latest will. You need to check through any paperwork at her house for any evidence of her making a new will or having any communications with people who might hold a will for her (e.g. local solicitors, banks, etc.).

    If you are confident that you have the latest will and it names you as executor then you can start sorting stuff straight away, no need to wait for probate.

    If there is a likelihood of anyone challenging the will then you might want to wait but if there isn't anyone else who might want to interfere then starting to sort straight away is good.

    You'll only need to wait for probate to deal with the house itself and any bank accounts with high balances (different banks set different limits for when they will require probate but they generally range from £5000 to £50000 depending on bank).
  • GersGers Forumite
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    Some of this should help.

    Sorry for your loss, it must be especially difficult being so far away.


  • jcuurthhtjcuurthht Forumite
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    Thanks. Does the contents of the house count towards the estate? Beds, sofas etc. If so,  should I value it before/ during the clearance so I have an accurate valuation of the estate?
  • edited 23 January at 3:24PM
    TonyMMMTonyMMM Forumite
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    edited 23 January at 3:24PM
    jcuurthht said:
    Thanks. Does the contents of the house count towards the estate? Beds, sofas etc. If so,  should I value it before/ during the clearance so I have an accurate valuation of the estate?
    Contents are part of the estate, but most household goods have a negligible second hand value and probably not more than a few hundred pounds ...

     is the estate likely to be above the IHT threshold ?
  • p00hsticksp00hsticks Forumite
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    jcuurthht said:
    Thanks. Does the contents of the house count towards the estate? Beds, sofas etc. If so,  should I value it before/ during the clearance so I have an accurate valuation of the estate?

    It does count, but if it's bulk standard stuff and not valuable antiques the general consensus is that house contents tend to have minimal value for probate - you;ll find that most of it you'll probably have to give away to charity shops etc or even pay someone to clear for you. I just put down a rather arbitrary figure of £1000 in my particular case, and that was probably over egging it, as it nearly all went to charity shops. If in any doubt others have suggested seeing if you can get a local auction house to come in and have a look to see if there is anything worth auctioning.
  • getmore4lessgetmore4less Forumite
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    What can be a good idea is to start sorting through and if space creating a few piles/boxes/folders.

    Junk, things like junk mail, real rubbish.

    File any paperwork that is everything not junk, no need to go through everything just sort into related piles for later.

    Open everything except obvious junk.

    Clothes go through pockets,

    Sort into rags, charity and potentially others.

    Furniture go through everything


    Put aside(away from the rest if possible)  everything you may want to keep.


    A full first pass gives time to consider and make sure you have everything possible before moving stuff on.
    Can also make notes and even photos for an inventory, although it may end up as household  £xxx on th eforms


    My mum was well organised but she did some squirrel activity we could have missed some important items/notes and a few £ tucked in coat pockets.

     
  • jcuurthhtjcuurthht Forumite
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    TonyMMM said:
    jcuurthht said:
    Thanks. Does the contents of the house count towards the estate? Beds, sofas etc. If so,  should I value it before/ during the clearance so I have an accurate valuation of the estate?
    Contents are part of the estate, but most household goods have a negligible second hand value and probably not more than a few hundred pounds ...

     is the estate likely to be above the IHT threshold ?

    I'm not sure.  House 300-350k. Cash 200k. I'm the only child and only beneficiary. She inherited the house and some of the money from her husband/my dad. The other money was from his life insurance.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    jcuurthht said:
    TonyMMM said:
     is the estate likely to be above the IHT threshold ?
    I'm not sure.  House 300-350k. Cash 200k. I'm the only child and only beneficiary. She inherited the house and some of the money from her husband/my dad. The other money was from his life insurance.
    It's likely that the estate would have to be over £1m before IHT was payable.
    Just need to check that your Dad didn't use any of his allowance.

  • jcuurthhtjcuurthht Forumite
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    Mojisola said:
    jcuurthht said:
    TonyMMM said:
     is the estate likely to be above the IHT threshold ?
    I'm not sure.  House 300-350k. Cash 200k. I'm the only child and only beneficiary. She inherited the house and some of the money from her husband/my dad. The other money was from his life insurance.
    It's likely that the estate would have to be over £1m before IHT was payable.
    Just need to check that your Dad didn't use any of his allowance.

    I've tried reading about inheritance tax. I think when I did the inheritance tax forms for my mum after my dad died,  the estate value was over 340, but my mum didn't pay any tax because she was his spouse.

  • FlugelhornFlugelhorn Forumite
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    I am sorry to hear of your loss - as others have said you can't ever be sure that it is the last will - my mother wittered about redoing hers (and leaving it to the grandkids / cats' home) but was actually very superstitious and hated all discussion of death and ultimately the will was found sealed in the same envelope as it was placed in in 1987. 

    I was only child / exec / sole beneficiary like you - unless there is genuinely likely to be a challenge then you can start getting on with stuff. House contents were listed as £500 (cost me at least £200 to get rid). 
    Don't underestimate the amount of work in house clearing - I would suggest doing the first and second pass and keep things you want, after that look at house clearance - doing it all yourself is very wearing.

    You really on need the probate when you come to sell the house / access some higher balance bank funds / premium bonds etc 
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