In most cases it is perfectly fine to remove and even sell items from a property before probate is granted. However, it is always wise to keep a record of any sales in case there are any later questions or disputes between family members, beneficiaries or even HMRC.
When an estate is close to the IHT threshold an accurate valuation of all possessions is essential. This includes all personal possessions and furniture and must be valued by a professional valuer to avoid any scrutiny from HMRC. In some instances, an executor with no credentials attempt to take on this task but can receive penalties due to negligence and even prompt an investigation. This in turn can cause delays toward the end of the process and slow everything down, therefore, it is highly recommended to use a professional valuation service. Moreover, items that may be gifted, bequeathed, or written into a will can be identified and be distributed correctly.
How long does a probate property clearance take?
Every case offers a different set of challenges for our clearance team. This depends on property size and the condition the property is in. Some houses are in clean manageable conditions whereas others are complete hoarder houses and can be filled with not only the deceased’s many possessions, but also rubbish and worse. In these cases the job can take far longer and even require biohazard equipment. In other cases the property may need a deep clean and need jobs like carpets getting ripped up. These all add time to the clearance process. For a simple, regular/smaller sized house it could take around 2 days. However, with the larger properties and properties in a worse condition, it could take anywhere from 3 to 5 days.
What happens to low value items?
After all items have been valued, items will be separated by those of value and those of no value. The valuable items will be ready to be distributed or sold, but what about those of no or very low value? We try our best recycle as much as we can. We attempt to donate any decent but non valuable furniture to new homes and donate any other items to charities. There are also items than may be low value but have sentimental value to family or friends. However, in cases of intestacy this can be difficult as sometimes the deceased has no family close to them. The remaining contents will then be recycled or disposed of ethically.
Are you dealing with a probate property or is there an empty property near you? Please contact us today to arrange an consultation.