The probate process requires all of the Deceased's assets to be valued. Chattels are generally assets such as furniture and personal possessions. Houses, Investments, bank accounts etc. are usually straightforward to value as professional valuers such as estate agents or stockbrokers may be employed.
Where the value of the estate is well below £325000, the current Inheritance Tax threshold for 2010/11 the value of chattels unlikely to be problematic. However, if IHT may be payable a value based on the open market sale price of the chattels is required.
The 'open market value' - is the price which a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller. Assets, such as antiques, stamp, and coin collections etc will probably require a professional valuation.
Care should be taken when having entire house contents disposed of by house clearing businesses as valuable items may be unwitting included in the sale.
When chattels are given to a number of persons it may be necessary for values to be obtained, to allow the division to be made equally, or whatever proportions are required. Usually common sense prevails and beneficiaries are able to resolve matters themselves. In cases of dispute it may be necessary for the item to be sold at auction (where the beneficiaries may bid if they wish) and the cash divided.
This information shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We are not responsible for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in reliance of this information.
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