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When solicitors get the money in after your death...

(15 Posts)
bluetoothbrush Fri 25-Jan-13 13:40:57

After your death, when the the solicitor is getting in all the money from banks etc - do they look at your belongings & their value as well? Or is it just stuff with paperwork, bank accounts, ISA etc. Sorry for any hamfisted attempts to understand how all this works - not had enough people die on me yet.

IfYouCanMoveItItsNotBroken Fri 25-Jan-13 14:00:31

It depends really. If an executor is selling belongings as they are acting as a trustee for a child who is a beneficiary then they would likely make up an inventory of stuffworth selling and the value of them. If the deceased has a collection of classic cars/ rolexes/ art that would significantly increase the value of the estate then they would be taken into account. If the deceased left all his personal possessions between 2 people it would be up to the executor to distribute them fairly. But there's really no reason to count up the value of underpants, kitchen utensils, an old black and white tv etc. Can I ask the context in which you're asking? It might be easier to advise.

bluetoothbrush Sat 23-Feb-13 16:03:51

oh i've got a bit if computer hardware and software and records, a painting and musical instruments and things - plus the usual collection of underpants. the estate would go to my parents or sister (who is an adult). i'm not too sure what would be sold. the beneficiaries and executors are one and the same. there's no inheritance tax if you're worth less than 325k, right? well i'd be way under that.

lulu2 Sat 23-Feb-13 16:10:34

When my dad died and left his entire estate to my mum she had to have a valuation done on all personal possessions. A valuer came to the house and listed everything.
When my mum died 3 years later I, as an executor had to have the same done again!

throckenholt Sat 23-Feb-13 16:16:36

The solicitor doesn't have to be the executor - but the executor can pay a solicitor to do it. I spent much of last year sorting out my mum's estate. You are right - less than 325K is below inheritance tax. To go through probate you have to value the estate - but whether you sell it all or share out according to value is down to the executors and I guess the beneficiaries. In your case that is likely to be down to agreement between them.

Beware though - having been through it recently - most people don't realise just how time consuming it can be to wind up even a relatively simple estate - closing bank acocunt, isas etc, selling a house, car, paying outstanding bills - it all takes a lot of time. It isn't particularly difficult but it can be daunting at times. Bear that in mind when you decide who should be the executor

BackforGood Sat 23-Feb-13 17:01:57

For your ordinary person, they don't go about listing everything you own, inventory style. Even a lot of stuff that you think 'might be worth something' is only worth somethig if you have people who have the time, skill and energy to start selling stuff. For a normal, under inheritance tax threshold type of person, then, no, they are not interested in what happens to all your furniture / clothes / books / DVDs / CDs/ even jewellery.

bluetoothbrush Sat 23-Feb-13 17:36:00

well things may be sold, i guess... but for me the executors and beneficiaries would be one and the same. it is normal stuff though like i described above.

PerditaXDream Sat 23-Feb-13 17:48:40

For the purposes of applying for probate and completing the necessary tax forms, then your personal belongings should be valued. Realistically for most people this stuff won't be worth much - it's not the replacement value (like for insurance) that is used, but the actual market value at date of death - second hand clothes and furniture usually isn't worth a lot.

What your executors/beneficiaries actually do with this stuff is a different matter. Often, families will agree between themselves that certain things of sentimental or practical value are kept, whilst other stuff is sold or given to charity. Sometimes, family feuds start over who got dad's watch or mum's wedding ring so if you think there's likely to be any argument it's best to put something in your will specifying who should get what.

Also, these days, your estate might well include computer/internet based assets. It's best to alert your executors to the existence of these especially if they aren't particularly computer savvy. I'm thinking about social media accounts, online gaming credits or assets, itunes accounts etc. You may not be able to give these things to others in your will (because they'll be personally licenced to you and not inheritable) but your executors might have to deal with them in some way and may need passwords etc to do this.

Food for thought...

bluetoothbrush Sat 23-Feb-13 18:03:48

so basically my family would just have to make a calculated guess on what my belongings are worth and then go to the solicitor with this - and i'm way, way under the inheritance tax threshold (with or without my old underpants) so although the figure is largely irrelevant, the paperwork does just require a figure though...

digerd Sat 23-Feb-13 18:55:43

I don't understand. When my dad died and left everything to mum, there was nothing to do. No evaluation - but then dad had nothing of great value, I suppose.
When mum died 11 years later, my sister just signed the inheritance tax form that her estate was less than the allowance in those days. Still no valuation of personal belongings.
When I was in Germany, after DH died, I also had nothing to do, except fight a war with my MIL who sued me for a portion of his very modest estate.

lulu2 Sat 23-Feb-13 23:31:53

Digerd, we had to apply for probate both times and there was inheritance tax to pay.

throckenholt Sun 24-Feb-13 08:57:01

If there is a will then you have to go through probate - valuing the estate and paying inheritance tax if above the threshold. (Rules a bit different if the spouse is the inheritor). Valuing can be an estimate for not very valuable things (eg normal furniture, personal belongings etc) - but valuable items would need a formal valuation (eg art work, valuable furniture, jewellry) and bigger stuff like houses and cars.

If there is no will I think there is an equivalent process called something like letter of administration.

This I think has been the case for a long time. The only thing that changes is the threshold level for tax - but even that hasn't changed for years I think and the value many houses now reach that level on their own, regardless of the rest of the estate.

PigletJohn Sun 24-Feb-13 09:20:18

One good reason for taking an inventiry and. valuation is that there might be at keast one grasping relation whi says "she akways saud I could have that diamond ring... I've always loved tge little risewood table... that silver teapot would be a loveky keepsaje... my little jimmy needs a new tv..." and you realise their sentiment leads them to help themselves to whatever they want, and includes all the best stuff.

I have a sister like that. I have been executor four times and found it best to insist on an inventory and valuation before parting with anything. On one occasion I found she had wrapped up some valuables and hidden them, when I went to the solicitors I found they were specifically mentioned in the will and asked if she had seen them, she denied it. When I found them before they had been smuggled out, she said, oh yes, I remember now, I put them away for safe keeping.

I think it is disgusting, but I hear more common than you would expect.

bluetoothbrush Sun 24-Feb-13 16:54:16

thanks throckenholt - my estate with or without my possessions would be well under 325k. at what kind of level would you need a formal valuation?

bluetoothbrush Mon 25-Feb-13 18:59:03


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