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Valuing property for probate

When a deceased person's property is passed down to their beneficiaries, it will need to be valued. This is the case even if the beneficiaries are not planning to sell it, as it needs to be valued for probate purposes. While a property is going through probate, it is likely to be left empty for a certain length of time. If this is the case then it needs to be covered by unoccupied home insurance, and it is usually the responsibility of the executors to make sure this is done while probate is carried out

House value

For probate purposes, the house's value is defined by its open market value, or what the house might reasonably fetch if it was sold on the open market to a (willing) buyer on the date of transfer. This means that any peculiarities (such as a buyer desperate to purchase on the property's street and willing to pay well over the odds) should be ignored. Usually, the transfer date is the day the deceased died, but if the property was given as a gift in the seven years prior to this date then it is the date the gift was given.

Personal representatives and HM Revenue Customs

Assuming the house is straightforward, then the Personal Representatives (including executors and administrators) are able to provide a valuation without the need to seek professional help in the undertaking. They should also make sure that unoccupied property insurance is in place while the valuation process is carried out. HM Revenue and Customs advise you to start by checking advertised property values for similar properties with local estate agents, and the Land Registry can offer details of recent sale prices locally.

Condition of the property

You will need to take the condition of the deceased's property into account, as this is likely to impact upon the building's value. You will also need to think about its beneficial features, such as garden size or access to other land that might be suitable for development. If you come to a range of values then you will usually be able to use an average, but whatever is calculated must be justifiable should you be asked by the District Valuer.

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