Inheritance tax is payable on a person’s estate following their death if it exceeds the inheritance tax threshold. The inheritance tax threshold as of July 2019 for an individual is £325,000. The threshold can potentially increase to as much as £1 million for a married couple or civil partnership, when incorporated with the main residence allowance. Any part of an estate valued above the threshold is taxable, with the standard inheritance tax rate standing at 40 per cent. The estate may pay inheritance tax at a reduced rate of 36 per cent on some assets, however that’s only if the deceased leaves 10 per cent or more of the “net value” to charity in their will.
Often solicitors as executors, or for and on behalf of executors, recommend that three separate valuations from local estate agents are obtained. Whilst this may on occasion be of value, it can also lead possible delay and potential conflicting advice. It certainly should not be a selection process that leads to appointing the agent to handle the sale that quotes the highest “valuation” and the lowest fee. Years of experience tell us that executors are best advised to ensure that every attempt is made to ensure the best outcome is achieved for the beneficiaries. If the estate is likely to be taxable, a RICS probate valuation is required. We can arrange for this to be done at the same time as carrying out a full marketing appraisal, to include advice and recommendations on how to achieve the best price through a full transparent marketing strategy.
In order to fulfil your responsibilities as an executor, it is important to ensure that the property is presented to best effect and fully exposed to the market, to as many potential buyers as possible, in a timely manner. To this end, we always recommend that any cleaning or simple works like garden clearance or tidy are undertaken prior to any professional photography or marketing commences. An Energy Performance Certificate will almost certainly be required and ideally a floor plan should be prepared to be included in the property brochure. The property should be advertised on all of the major internet property portals to include Rightmove, Zoopla, PrimeLocation and On The Market, along with good exposure in the local press. The instructed agent should have a proven track record of selling such property and it is best too if they offer a full range of alternative methods of sale (e.g. Private Treaty, Informal or Formal Tender, Auction). Financially qualifying all potential buyers is also essential. Dreamers can cost a fortune in legal fees and delays, only to find that they never stood a chance of getting a mortgage in the first place. If required, agents can also arrange for 7 day notices in the press, and facilitate sealed bid offers where appropriate.
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