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Probate question - change to property valuation?

(4 Posts)
chillipickle Wed 17-Nov-10 00:03:03

I recently received a letter from a solicitor advising me that I had been left a legacy totalling £2,800.

Several months later I received a cheque for £2,000, with no explanation as to why it was £800 less than expected.

I queried the difference and was told that the legacy had been calculated as a percentage of the value of a property, and that when they initially wrote, it was calculated on an estimated value. The value agreed for probate was lower, hence the adjustment in the legacy.

Their initial letter did not mention that the value was estimated.

Is this normal and just flaky admin on the part of the solicitor, or is something odd going on?

I believe the property was being lived in by the son of the deceased (although it has since been sold), so it might have been in their interests to get a lower valuation for probate.

tb Wed 17-Nov-10 13:43:06

Would it be worth checking on the sale price on one of the property sites? Also, get a copy of the will, so that you know the basis of the calculation.

chillipickle Wed 17-Nov-10 22:25:14

The sale price isn't showing up on nethouseprices as yet. However, from what I understand about probate (and I'm not an expert at all), the value agreed is as at the date of death, and the property may subsequently be sold for a higher or lower amount.

Although at least the sale price would give us an idea as to whether the valuation was fair.

My brother (never one to let things lie) requested a copy of the will, and it says that we are each to receive a 1% share in "the proceeds of sale and in the net rents and profits until sale of the property..."

Which suggests that the valuation was initially put at £280K, then revised downwards to £200K.

I'm still unclear as to why the solicitor's first letter didn't mention that it was an estimated value (if that's what it was).

lalalonglegs Wed 17-Nov-10 22:58:58

My understanding is that probate valuations are usually on the low side. Is the solicitor the executor of the estate because often they can rack up enormous fees which obviously have to be deducted from the estate. Death duties and so on may have had to have been paid if the estate was worth more than #325,000 and all the beneficiaries will share those. Still, it's quite a drop - do you know which agency sold the house? If so, call them and ask the sale price. If not, ask the solicitor directly what the sale price was.

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