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The Value of Probate

Discussion in 'Wills and probate' started by MaryK, May 1, 2013.

  1. MaryK

    MaryK Member

    I have found that looking up the probate record for a relative can be useful in other ways than just the amount of money involved. The record will give the actual date and address of death, and the person/people to whom probate was granted can often give you an un-found marriage or children.

    I have found several un-known husbands and wives, verified what were previously "possibles", realised why so many of my relations died in a nearby city (they were in hospital) and found one really fascinating incidence of a relation who died in a cinema ! (That one is still under investigation!)

    So the value of probate is not just in £sd !
     
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  2. SuzanneD

    SuzanneD LostCousins Star

    I've posted a link to New Zealand probate records on another thread and totally agree about the value of the whole file - I have found the affidavits sometimes sworn to support the granting of probate often have information not in the will itself.
     
  3. MaryK

    MaryK Member

    Indeed - one useful piece of information I find is that the occupations are given, of both the deceased and the person granted probate. Also, a woman being granted is often described as either "married woman" or "widow". Some of this information is particularly useful for probates granted post 1911 where there has been no further census to obtain details.
     
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  4. SLJ

    SLJ LostCousins Member

    Totally agree that probate records are invaluable. But does anyone know how you find out what the value of the estate was then in today's money.
     
  5. Norman

    Norman LostCousins Member

  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    At Measuring Worth you can get a range of different estimates based on prices, earnings etc over the past 700 years!
     
  7. Cathy

    Cathy Moderator Staff Member

  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    If anyone buys the app could they let us know whether it's worth installing?
     
  9. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Well its 69p and it's only an iPhone app which can be downloaded to iPad. No reviews though.
     
  10. Stephen49.

    Stephen49. Member

    I think the National Archives converter only goes to 2005. I use this one from the Bank of England which goes to 2012.
     
  11. AnneC

    AnneC LostCousins Star

    Your link doesn't appear to work.....could this be the one you meant?
     
  12. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Fixed the link AnneC, thank you.
     
  13. Stephen49.

    Stephen49. Member

    Hello AnnC, I'm sorry the link didn't work for you, I wrote it down as it is on my computer. The new one is the right one, there should be an orange piggy bank in the window. I think there are a few similar sites, they might be much the same but, maybe like you, I want an as-up-todate conversion as possible. Best of luck.
     
  14. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Stephen,

    You'd missed the 1st l out of calculator. Rather than writing it down and then writing it out again (both of which could introduce errors) if you left click in the address bar, the whole of the address should then be highlighted. You can then press CTRL+C to copy it, and then when you go to insert the link here, when your cursor is in the box, press CTRL+V to paste the address.

    Also, instead of using the keyboard shortcuts I've just mentioned, you can accomplish the same result by Right clicking on the mouse, which brings up a short menu. You can then select Copy and Paste from that menu.
     
  15. Stephen49.

    Stephen49. Member

    Hello Tim,

    Many thanks for your advice. I would normally use the first example but on this particular occasion I was reading the address from another computer, hence the mistake. Hopefully all's well now. Cheers.
     
  16. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member


    :) makes sense now.
     
  17. ChrisA

    ChrisA New Member

    I have recently received a will from the new government website and trying to make sense of it, in particular the great disparity between the gross and net values of my ancestors estate.

    He died in 1916 and his estate was given a gross value of £1095 5s 10d while the net value was just £177 10s 4d. I thought the main difference was funeral expenses, legal expenses and any debt, but £900 difference sounds rather a lot. He was 78 at the time so I'm guessing was too old for a mortgage.

    Does anyone have any ideas of what else could explain the disparity?
     
  18. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Taxes eg: Death duties? Or he could have been in a LOT of debt eg: he might had a business going bad during war years or been a gambler?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  19. ChrisA

    ChrisA New Member

    I am pretty convinced, from what I already know, that debt, gambling or a crumbling business are very unlikely reasons.

    Perhaps I need to find out more about how an estate was valued in those days and what liabilities may have been taken into account - suggested sources anyone?

    Alternatively, does anyone know of any record sources (other than newspapers) which might shed light on his liabilities; or are there records that show probate calculations in detail?
     
  20. Jeremy Wilkes

    Jeremy Wilkes LostCousins Star

    There are no death duty registers for deaths after 1903 and the National Archives website says that the individual files created since then have been destroyed after thirty years.

    I do not think that there has been much change in the system of valuation. Essentially assets are valued at roughly the figure for which they could be sold, with small differences in a few special cases. Tax and administration expenses are not deducted to reach the net figure, though funeral expenses are, so heavy debt is likely to have been involved in this case.

    I should not rule out the possibility that one or more debts were secured by a mortgage. Owner-occupation was less common in 1916 than now, and an owner-occupier may have owned other houses. Examination of pre-war registers of electors could produce some clues about landholdings, but not much detail.
     

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