Last modified: 22/06/2011

How to value a car for probate

If the deceased owned a car at the date of death, it should be valued as part of the probate process. A formal valuation is usually not required.

If the gross value of the estate is likely to be less than £250,000 (before debts and inheritance tax exemptions/reliefs have been taken off), there is no need to obtain an accurate valuation of the car, according to HM Revenue & Customs guidance.

In this case, an estimate based on information available to you will suffice. You should make an estimation based on the make, model, mileage and condition of the car, perhaps by checking for similar cars on websites such as Auto Trader.

A report from an online car valuation service such as What Car? And What’s My Car Worth? should also suffice. 

Video: Valuing the estate

Larger and taxable estates

For larger estates, there is an onus on the personal representatives to obtain a more accurate valuation. This is particularly true of taxable estates.

Although the method of valuation is a decision for the personal representatives, HM Revenue & Customs advises that you must take “reasonable care”.

And for cars worth more than around £500, this should involve obtaining a professional valuation, according to official guidance. 

A professional valuation could be from a local dealer or garage, it should be in writing and it should be an open market valuation at the date of death.

Joint assets

If the car was owned jointly with a surviving owner, it ought still to be valued as suggested above. Assuming there were two joint owners, the deceased’s share will be 50% of the total value.

Loan or hire-purchase agreement

If the car was purchased with a loan or on hire-purchase, this should be noted as a debt, to be taken off the total value of the estate.

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