It is very important to collate together as much information as possible about the deceased’s estate to ensure it is valued correctly and that the assets are distributed in the way the deceased intended.
If the deceased died without leaving a Will or one that is not considered to be valid, their estate will be distributed under the laws of Intestacy over which there is no control.
Hopefully the deceased will have left a nice tidy file with all the relevant documents and a list of all their assets so they will be easy to deal with!
When the deceased dies, the various asset holders should be notified by the legal representative or Personal Representatives by sending them a certified copy or the original death certificate and to advise that Grant of Probate (GP) is being applied for. This will enable accounts, payment of dividends, etc. . , to be frozen. This should be done as quickly as possible to avoid having to pay back overpaid sums at a later date.
Once the GP is issued the original or an official copy must be sent to the asset holder who will then arrange to release the asset.
In relation to properties, a probate valuation will need to be obtained by instructing a qualified surveyor. This is different to a regular property valuation and tends to be a slightly lower value. This figure then needs to be included in the IHT forms. Sometimes the District Valuer makes contact with the legal representative or the Personal Representative (PR) to say they are reviewing the probate valuation figure submitted in the IHT forms in which case you will have to wait to see whether they revise it. This can happen where there is a big gap between the valuation date and the date Probate is actually applied for. Recently there have found to be significant discrepancies between the initial probate valuation figure and the figure arrived at by the District Valuer months later largely due to the increase in property prices.
If the deceased had a large shareholding, this will need to be properly valued since these figures will need to be included in the IHT forms. There are various companies who are able to do this and can provide a figure for probate valuation purposes.
Note that with shares, the original share certificate needs to be produced in order for the shares to be released. If it is lost then an indemnity form will need to be requested and completed and signed by the PRs. If the shares are to be transferred into someone’s name then a stock transfer form will need to be completed and the original share certificate or an indemnity form will need to be submitted.
Banks and Building Societies
Banks and building Societies will request the Personal Representatives or the Legal Representatives to sign a form for the closure of the account and release of funds. Often proof of identity is also required.