What you need to do

As part of applying for probate, you need to find out if there’s any Inheritance Tax to pay. To find this out, you need to value the money, property and possessions (‘estate’) of the person who’s died.

You do not need probate for all estates. Check if you need it.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

You need to complete 3 main tasks when you value the estate.

  1. Contact organisations such as banks or utility providers about the person’s assets and debts.

  2. Estimate the estate’s value. This will affect how you report the value to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and the deadlines for reporting and paying any Inheritance Tax. Most estates are not taxed.

  3. Report the value of the estate to HMRC by either completing form IHT205 if there’s no Inheritance Tax to pay or form IHT400 if there’s Inheritance Tax to pay.

How long it takes

The process of valuing the estate can take 6 to 9 months, or longer for big or complicated estates (for example if they involve trusts or there’s tax to pay).


You do not need to value the estate straight away after someone dies. There are only deadlines if the estate owes Inheritance Tax.

If it does, you’ll need to:

Getting help

You can hire a professional (for example a solicitor) to help with some or all of the tasks involved with valuing an estate.

Money Helper has guidance on when and how to hire a professional. Law Donut has advice on keeping solicitors’ fees down.

  1. Step 1 Register the death

    1. Register the death within 5 days

    Check what to do if:

    To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away.

  2. Step 2 Arrange the funeral

  3. Step 3 Tell government about the death

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If you cannot use Tell Us Once, tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your spouse has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. and Check if you need to apply to stay in the UK

    If your right to live in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who died you might need to apply for a new visa.

    Check the rules if:

    1. Contact UKVI to check the rules for other visas
  7. Step 5 Deal with their estate

    You might have to deal with the will, money and property of the person who's died if you're a close friend or relative, or the executor of the will.

    1. Check if you need to apply for probate
    2. You are currently viewing: Value the estate
    3. Deal with the estate
    4. Update property records