Probate is a widely-used term. However, not many people understand what it means to remove and dispose of a deceased person’s possessions. Contrary to popular belief, the selling of a property in probate can be a straightforward part of the process. However, you must understand whether you can clear a house before probate in Northern Ireland.
When it comes to the contents of these properties, things can become a little more complicated. You will attach emotional value to personal possessions, as well as a financial figure. Also, there could be a certain amount of pressure to get the property in a fit state to sell. Therefore, removing possessions, clearing away rubbish, and dealing with unwanted features will be a priority to secure a quick sale.
Knowing what is required for probate house clearance and having a plan is essential. It will help you deal with the stress and emotions of this challenging situation. This guide aims to explain what happens during the process of house clearance during probate in Northern Ireland. Therefore, you will also discover when you need to wait for probate to be granted before clearing a property. Also, what things you should be thinking about when disposing of the deceased person’s possessions.
What Is Probate?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of house clearance, let’s take a brief look at what probate is. Then, you can decide whether you can clear a house before probate. We must stress at this point that this article does not provide any legal advice. Therefore, you should only make decisions regarding probate matters, having discussed them with a legal professional.
Probate is the judicial process of proving the true testament of a deceased person. Granting probate starts the process of administering the dead person’s estate. It works for settling any claims, and distributing property and possessions under a will.
Can You Clear A House Clearance Before Probate Process?
The inheritance tax (IHT) threshold is currently £325,000. If the deceased person’s estate is under this value, it is typically okay to commence house clearance before probate. Even so, it is recommended that you keep records of anything that is sold. This will cover you in case there are any questions later in the process from HMRC. Also, disputes can often arise between family members over particular items and not necessarily the most valuable ones.
If the estate is close to the IHT threshold, you need to avoid any issues that might arise. For example, you might need to get a valuation of the chattels (the deceased person’s possessions) from a professional valuer in such a case. In addition, you should pay particular attention to furniture, antiques, and other items of financial value.
Getting such a valuation will help you avoid too much scrutiny should the HMRC get involved. Even if any investigation concluded the estate was under the IHT threshold, it would take considerable time and delay the probate process.
Another valid reason for attaining a professional valuation is in the distribution of chattels. Items that have been written into a will or gifted can be identified. These can then be distributed according to the deceased person’s final wishes.
When the chattels have been identified and distributed, you can concentrate on getting the property ready for sale. The first thing you will need to do is arrange to get the property cleared, as doing so will make it more appealing to potential buyers.
Arranging a Probate House Clearance in Northern Ireland
Arranging a probate house clearance is relatively straightforward. In most cases, this can be done based on photographs or video footage of the property and contents. However, in some cases, the house clearance company may need to visit the property to conduct a site survey.
You’ll be given a quote based on the number of items to be cleared and the difficulty in moving particular objects. For instance, there may be fixed or more significant features that need to be removed, garden furniture, garden shed, and other oversize items.
To arrange a probate house clearance contact Housily on 0734 231 5580 or email email@example.com.
Importance of Dignity and Respect During Probate House Clearance
You may have already consulted with a professional valuer and distributed the chattels. In this case, all that might remain are possessions that have no particular financial or emotional value. In this case, the probate house clearance is generally straightforward. However, you might be in a position whereby you want all of the possessions cleared too.
Regardless of the situation, the house clearance company must show dignity and respect during the clearance process. The contents of the property were the personal possessions of someone you were close to, and it is crucial that everyone understands and respects the emotions involved. A good house clearance company will understand this, and they should conduct their business accordingly.
Very often, during a probate house clearance, items might appear that you have overlooked. They might have little financial value, but they can have significant emotional attachments and evoke memories. Therefore, your choice of clearance company should be one that you know will have the appropriate level of empathy and understanding of this delicate time.
How Quick Can You Clear A House Before Probate?
No two probate house clearances are the same. Properties will differ in size, accessibility, and quantity of contents. Another factor is the number of sentimental items there are around the property. These items have significant emotional value, so the clearance company needs to take additional care moving them.
On the other extreme, there could be a lot of non-personal items of clutter that the owner hoarded. Such items also need care in moving, as they could conceal valuable items or hazards, both of which require care in handling.
Therefore, it is challenging to give a standard estimate of the duration without conducting either a remote or on-site survey. An experienced clearance company should provide an accurate time for the task, having completed a survey.
You should be cautious of companies who promise to turn up immediately and give you a flat fee without discussing your situation in detail. Also, if you rush to deal with a clearance company solely based on them providing the cheapest quote or fastest time, you could suffer disappointment.
Firstly, the time it takes will likely be longer, and the price higher. Unfortunately, some operators will use the situation of a probate house clearance to leverage more from you. Moreover, they will unlikely be respectful of the situation and the emotional sensitivity surrounding a probate house clearance, which could lead to additional stress and anxiety.
Clearing of Low-Value Items Before Probate Process
Even though all of the items in the property will probably have been personal possessions of the deceased, it is unlikely that you will want to keep everything. But, of course, it would be comforting to know that someone is merely throwing away a loved one’s clothes, ornaments, and other low-value items.
You should choose a company that will ensure these items find a new home, recycle them, or donate them to charity. Also, relatives often find it easier to let go of items knowing someone will dispose of them with respect.
Clearing Rubbish and Waste During Probate
Inevitably, there is going to be some waste and rubbish results from a probate house clearance. It goes without saying, your probate house clearance company should dispose of waste ethically and legally. They should ensure that everything they can recycle, they do. Also, only the absolute minimum goes to an authorised landfill site. A good tip is to look out for the universal recycling logo on the company’s website or marketing material.
Calculating the Value of the House Contents
Finding yourself in the middle of sorting out a house clearance during probate might have been something you’ve been expecting. More likely, it may have come as a bolt from the blue. Either way, it is not the most pleasant situation to be in. Especially since you have to consider the value of things and how to dispose of property and possessions.
Doing this can be challenging if you are not using a professional valuer. This is particularly the case when so many house contents will have emotional value. As far as financial value goes, much of the personal possessions will have no significant worth. However, some items will surprise you in terms of their worth, and it is crucial that you can identify these.
It is best if you try to adopt a systematic approach to the valuation process. Therefore, go through each room one by one, making a note of anything you think may be of value. You can then use an internet search to get a rough idea of the items’ values.
Then, when it comes to the house clearance, you can ask the house clearance team to remove the items, leave them to one side, or negotiate a sale as part of the clearance project. But, of course, this takes time and effort to complete. Many people dealing with a probate house clearance do not welcome the additional hassle at such a difficult time.
Things To Check During Probate House Clearance
However, if you do decide that you want to value the contents yourself, lookout for the following items:
- Antique furniture, pottery, and ornaments.
- Jewellery and precious gemstones.
- Concealed bundles of cash.
- Gold, silver, and other precious metal objects.
- Old books (possible first editions).
- Designer clothing.
- Musical instruments.
- New electronic devices.
An excellent place to check if there are any items of significant value is the home contents insurance policy. Often, the owner will have had to individually itemise items of value within the policy. Have a copy of this policy as you go around the property valuing the contents.
Can You Clear A Housing Executive Property Before Probate?
Clearing a privately-owned home during probate is stressful enough. However, you should have all the time you need to go through the process at the pace you wish. Unfortunately, it is not always the case when it comes to council-owned or Northern Ireland Housing Executive housing.
There’s tremendous pressure on the Housing Executive to free up vacant properties and get a new tenant in. Unfortunately, this can mean that you have additional pressure of clearing the property as quickly as possible. It is not a case of the authorities showing a lack of compassion, but more part of the administrative process.
In such conditions, you may need to pay sufficient rent to cover the period of probate. Therefore, you should consider this cost and weigh it up against clearing the property as soon as possible. You may likely find that you can save money by quickly clearing the probate property. This option might be preferable, rather than spending time valuing personal possessions.
You should also be aware that you will need to remove the carpets for Housing Executive house clearances during probate. These are unlikely to be of much value since the owner will have sized them to the individual property. It is good to know these things, as failure to leave the property in the required state can incur charges. However, a reliable company will understand these requirements and keep you on the right track during your probate house clearance.
When it comes to dealing with a probate house clearance, or deciding whether you can clear house before probate, there are many things to consider. Deciding what to clear, getting valuations for significant possessions, and organising the clearance all take time and mental effort. Therefore, it is crucial that you select a house clearance company that will support you through this difficult time. A good company will help by removing much of the stress involved in the process.
Moreover, you will want a firm that has experience, shows respect, and is understanding of this difficult situation. If you need any further help, assistance, or information regarding probate house clearance in Northern Ireland, or whether you can clear a house before probate in Northern Ireland, please contact Housily today.