Market Insight

Why it pays to get a RICS valuation for probate

July 4, 2019

When someone dies, the executor of their will needs to establish the value of the deceased’s assets in order to carry out their wishes relating to the remaining estate.

Probate is the name of the legal process of dealing with these assets and can include everything from money in the bank, art and expensive wine collections, to residential and commercial property investments.

A probate valuation is the process which is undertaken to add up the sum of the deceased’s assets.

It deducts any outstanding debts from these assets and it is from here that the amount of inheritance tax (IHT) due on the estate is calculated.

As things currently stand, no IHT will be due to the Inland Revenue if:

  • the value of the estate is below the £325,000 threshold
  • the deceased leaves everything above the £325,000 threshold to a spouse, civil partner, a charity or a community amateur sports club

However, if the deceased was married, the £325,000 tax free threshold will rollover to their spouse, providing a £650,000 threshold upon the death of both partners.

Not only this, due to recent government changes for the 2019-2020 tax year, a further £150,000 each (so £300,000 in total) can be claimed by your direct descendants as the ‘main residence nil rate band’, specifically relating to the deceased’s principal residence.

This means that IHT may not be payable on properties valued up to £950,000 in the event of the death of both partners.

With this in mind, it is important that the property is valued correctly to ensure that any IHT due is calculated correctly.

As executor of a will, you may be recommended to seek professional advice from a RICS qualified surveyor when it comes to the valuation of any property assets within the estate.

This might leave you wondering two things:

  1. What’s a RICS qualified surveyor or valuer?
  2. Why do I need a RICS valuation for probate?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the professional body responsible for promoting and enforcing the highest international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure in the UK.

A RICS surveyor is therefore someone to whom you can entrust your property needs, safe in the knowledge that they are backed by the Royal Institution.

And as for why you need a RICS valuation for probate, well the answer is simple.

As executor of a will you need to ensure that the property is valued correctly.

If you don’t, this could lead to the miscalculation of the IHT due on the estate.

If HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) suspects that IHT has been miscalculated or that a property valuation falls below or above the market value, it can have serious repercussions both for the estate and its beneficiaries, as well as for you, as executor.

HMRC will investigate the matter and, if they find that the estate has paid too little IHT, then you will personally be liable to make up the shortfall.

It is therefore imperative that you instruct an experienced RICS Registered Valuer who can prepare an in-depth, accurate and compliant property valuation report based on both their insight and knowledge of the property market.

Our probate valuation team is made up of highly experienced RICS-qualified surveyors who will provide the in-depth property valuation report necessary to ensure the accurate valuation of a property estate.

Working with you, we can help you to achieve probate as efficiently as possible, giving you and the beneficiaries of the deceased’s will, peace of mind.

To discuss your probate valuation needs with a RICS valuer, don’t hesitate to get in touch.