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Once probate is granted (in England) both the will and the grant of probate become available as public records. The grant of probate records the gross and net value of the estate. My expectation is that these should be before any deductions, tax allowances or distribution of gifts based in the will. Can someone with legal knowledge confirm this is the case?

Background: I suspect an estate has been undervalued (due to fraud). It should include the value of a house solely owned by the testator plus additional assets and savings. The will does not show any gifts to charity (if there are any they may be in a letter of wishes which is private and thus unknown to me). I want to be sure the probate grant means what I think it does before taking further action.

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I am not sure exactly what you mean by 'deductions', and 'tax allowances' would if anything increase the value of the estate. But the value declared for probate is the full value of all the assets in the estate of the deceased; taxes will decrease the amount available for distribution (including gifts to charity), but does not affect the gross amount.

I can't, of course, say whether it is sensible to "take further action", but I would definitely suggest you find out from a lawyer whether you have legal standing in this case. If you are not a residuary legatee, the value put on the house does not affect you, and so the executor may properly refuse to correspond with you.

  • There are other reasons for considering further action. This is just a data point re whether there has been any fraud. Deceit of one kind raises the likelihood of deceit of another. The actual case concerns a will which might be invalid for reasons of fraud, undue influence and or lack of testamentary capacity. Though the value of the estate is irrelevant to proving that, the fraud is indicative of bad character. – Bruce Adams Feb 1 '18 at 12:02
  • I think there is one more point to consider. Before probate has been granted the executors don't necessarily have access to accounts to determine the value of the estate. So presumably it is necessarily an estimate? - see law.stackexchange.com/questions/5060/… – Bruce Adams Feb 1 '18 at 12:04
  • The bounty time is up and you have the best answer so you get it. – Bruce Adams Feb 6 '18 at 13:28

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