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Probate advice please - Carers UK Forum

Probate advice please

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Anyone been through this who can advise me?
I'm flummoxed about how to 'value' the content my late mum's bungalow for the probate process. She has years and years worth of 'stuff'. The list would fill pages. All old, shabby, mostly charity shop destined, or the recycling centre.
There are a few things which may be worth a smallish amount, like a royal Doulton tea set, which I bought her in the 80's for her Ruby Wedding anniversary, a water jug and glasses from mid 20thC , some nice cut glass items but 95% of her possessions are not worth anything much individually as far as I know. (There might be a rare item worth thousands that I haven't recognised of course. Maybe one of her dozens of paperbacks or 'Rat Pack' CDs. The LPs or old tapes?).
So what probate value do I put on the contents of a fully furnished bungalow, in working order for the most part but nothing has ever been itemised individually for insurance. There are no really 'expensive' items. (Mum would much rather buy from a £1 shop than 'spend money'.)
To replace everything, buying new, would indeed cost a lot. But it's all old. Not antique, just old and worn. Anyone want an iron which hasn't been used for 9 years?
Any thoughts anyone?
Hi Elaine
A quick Google search found the following
https://www.gov.uk/valuing-estate-of-so ... ied/assets which implies low value household items don't count as assets, or not individually any way.
The same search brought up adverts for probate valuers of all shapes and sizes so I'd suggest finding a couple of local firms to come and give quotes, then if anyone ever queries it you can point to the professionals opinions. Such items are only worth what they could be sold for. You certainly shouldn't value for replacement.
And don't be disappointed if Mums treasures are valued quite low. My Mils prized tea set has less value than it would cost to post to a buyer, and as for the plate from her grandmother, its now the drip saucer for a houseplant.
Did you know that on eBay you can search for what similar items actually sold for , which can be a handy cross reference for anything you think may gave value?
Hope this helps
How are you feeling today?
When my Dad died back in 1989 I was executor for his will - but as everything was left to Mum I didn't have to worry about values (spouse to spouse so not valid for inheritance tax); and when Mum died in 2012 again I was the executor - I did check with our Solicitor and the Probate Office - basically they were only interested in items of real value ; diamonds, old master paintings, valuable antiques, brand new sports cars etc and, of course, her flat & savings. Added all together the total was under the IHT threshold so there was nothing to pay. The chap at the probate office said to me that they don't count everyday furniture and household goods as their second value is negligible !
Hi Elaine
I've asked advice about this in a couple of places as nearly everything in this house is mine. Dad is very minimal so when the time eventualy comes I was wondering what would be included (not that I have any treasures) but the general impression I had was that a very low value would be given to all contents including tvs and white goods, however much they cost. I've been keeping receipts for things for quite a few years so if needed I can prove they were my purchases. I think Dad expected to go years ago and has little in the way of belongings other than boxes of papers, clothes in the wardrobe and ancient none antique furniture. I should completely diregard purchase price or replacement cost. I think it would be more acurate to consider what it might fetch if sold in bundles at local auction or car boot. Unless your mother would be over the limit for inheritance tax or on the border line, I don't see that valuation of personal effects is of great consequence.
Others may shoot me down for this but unless there are likely to be family disputes, even the glass and china could be divided out amicabaly between relatives and out of the equation for probate, unless of course there is a will in place.
Thank you for your replies. Mum didn't own anything of any significant value but there is still loads of 'stuff'. I'm struggling with what should be a reasonable value for all of it because I have to come up with some figure to cover everything she left behind. Do I just discount everything I would probably dispose of rather than try to sell? (I wouldn't buy much of it in a car boot sale or charity shop), Or is there an acceptable 'figure' for general home contents, if so, what is it?
I don't think there is a 'generalised value' - I can't remember putting anything down on the papers relating to just the contents of Mum's place - under the property heading we just put the value of her flat (which we got from the local estate agent) and they were quite happy with that, well it was never questioned anyway !

My Mum's furniture, bric-a-brac, linens etc was quite old and not at all 'fashionable' we couldn't have given it away let alone sell it ! The British Heart Foundation did take a lot of the furniture and most of the bric-a-brac and linens we sold at car boot fairs making a grand total of about £300 and the rest went to the council tip.

If you're really unsure ring the Probate Office - there is a help line listed on their website. I know when Dad died they were extremely helpful.
One thought, but could you check the house insurance policy and see what the contents sections (ie, not the buildings section) sets the value at? That would be a maximum, as presumably its for replacement, but that's not something you'd be doing.

But, as has been said, if the whole estate is likely to fall below the IHT limit (which for two - ie, if your mum inherited from your dad - will be over £600,000 odd - the exact limit will be on the government tax web site) then I'm not sure that precise accuracy matters, does it?

Another thought - anything you give away to charity shouldn't count anyway, as again, it will be deducted against the IHT value. Or, if you sell it, and give the proceeds to charity.
Do you have a local auction house or second hand shop? Just ask them to come and value it or say how much they'd give you for it all. It will be less than you think! My husband left me with 30 tons of brand new lorry spares. The specialist valuer (who charged me £400 as he had to come a longish way) said they would be worth under £2,000 at one of his auctions, so by the time we'd taken them there, a nightmare job, it just wasn't worth doing. Nevertheless, I sold them through the years for many thousands of pounds, over a period of years. It is the auction value which counts.
It's the same for valuing jewellery, the insurance value is very different from what you'd get at auction.
For my Mum, the probate office told me to enter the "resale value" of household goods and personal possessions, not what it would cost to replace them. A dealer offered me £320 to clear the house, which we accepted because it saved us a lot of hassle. We entered that amount on the form. Her total estate was very small..