Valuing the estate of someone who's died

1. Overview

You need to value the money, property and possessions (‘estate’) of someone who’s died before you can get a ‘grant of representation’ (the legal right to deal with the estate).

You don’t need a grant of representation for all estates.

You use your valuation to work out if Inheritance Tax must be paid on the estate.

Before you start

You’ll need details of all the person’s assets and debts when they died - plus any assets they gave away before they died (‘gifts’).

An asset is anything the person owned with a value (this means it’s worth money or could be sold).

Basic steps

  1. Find out the value of assets and gifts.

  2. Add up assets and gifts, then take away any debts.

  3. Use the total to decide if there’s Inheritance Tax to pay - there usually is if the estate’s worth more than £325,000.

  4. Fill in the right Inheritance Tax forms - use the forms to deduct anything that’s exempt from Inheritance Tax and then work out the tax bill.

  5. Send the forms when you apply for a grant of representation.

  6. Keep records.

You can ask a solicitor to help value the estate and work out the Inheritance Tax.


You have 1 year from the date of death to fill in Inheritance Tax forms if there’s Inheritance Tax to pay.

You’ll have to start paying Inheritance Tax by the end of the sixth month after the death whether you’ve completed your forms or not - you can make a payment before you finish valuing the estate.

If there’s no Inheritance Tax to pay

The deadline depends on whether you need to fill in form IHT205 or IHT400. If it’s:

  • form IHT205 there’s no deadline
  • form IHT400 your deadline is 1 year