What is a probate valuation?
Probate is the legal process of dealing with someone’s assets in Northern Ireland after they die – this is usually conducted by the executors who carry out the wishes of the deceased person, as stipulated in the will. A Grant of Representation allows the executor to gain access to all the information they need to establish the value of the deceased’s assets. These can include money in bank accounts, stocks and shares, vehicles, jewellery, works of art, and probably the largest asset anyone will hold, property.
A probate valuation in Northern Ireland takes into account all these items and deducts any outstanding debts to calculate how much inheritance tax (IHT) is owed. Currently, assets totalling up to £325,000 are classed as being in the nil rate band for IHT. Assets above that figure are taxed at 40 per cent.
In some instances, up to 100 per cent of IHT can be mitigated on business assets when they are transferred. However, this is an extremely complex area and excludes, for example, land, buildings and machinery unless owned by a trust whose beneficiary has a life interest in such a trust. Specialist advice must be sought in such instances.
Why it is so important
Probate, inheritance tax and capital gains are inextricably bound up with each other, particularly in respect to commercial property, which with a total value of £787 billion represents 13 percent of the total value of buildings in the UK – a figure which the Chancellor of the Exchequer would like a large slice of.
Establishing the accurate value of an estate is essential if IHT is to be minimised and it’s vital that you seek independent, professional advice about what any commercial property which makes up an estate is valued at. The Inland Revenue is particularly vigilant about valuations which fall significantly below or above market value and will instigate investigations to recoup any money and possibly stipulate higher tax liabilities if potential fraud is suspected.
A valuation by an estate agent, for example, is not sufficient for the purposes of probate, therefore, all valuations must be carried out by a qualified and experienced RICS surveyor wuch as Bradley NI who has knowledge of the local market and the authority to provide a compliant report. It’s vital that the executor of the will understands these legal and financial obligations and acts in accordance with the law.
How can Bradley NI help?
If you need any assistance with the process of probate in Northern Ireland, including a valuation on a commercial property, or advice on being an executor, contact Bradley NI on 028 300 50633. Our experienced and highly-trained staff includes RICS Chartered Surveyors and Registered Valuers who can offer you up-to-date advice on valuations as well as other matters relating to commercial property in Northern Ireland.