Probate Guide

Your free guide to the probate process

Probate Guide: Probate clearance shouldn’t be stressful. Follow our easy probate guide and make sure the clearance goes as smoothly as possible.

Find out more by visiting: Probate ServicesProbate ValuationsProbate House Clearances, and Probate Cleaning.

Did you know? Cullens are recommended, vetted and monitored by Checkatrade, where previous customers have rated our service as excellent with an average rating of 99%.

Oh, and before we get to our free probate guide, we wanted to let you know that we’re an award-winning company, find all our awards here.

Guide to Probate

Your free guide to the UK probate process for inheritance tax purposes.

Valuables vs Rubbish

Once you’ve decided to go ahead with the clearance, it’s a good idea to go through the house and separate any sentimental items or personal effects which you wish to keep. Then set aside items which you would like to sell through traditional or online auctions, markets or fairs, or anything you’d like to donate to good causes. The final category would be anything you are willing to have cleared. Label these items with post-it notes or secure items you wish to keep in a locked room to make sure there is no mix-up.

Probate Valuation Report

Cullen’s Clearances can provide a range of valuation services to solicitors, executors on private estates, administrators and private individuals.

Our probate report covers the following:

  • Household contents valuation
  • Antiques & fine art
  • Jewellery, collectables and Bullion
  • Classic car valuation for vintage and classic cars

Executors and solicitors acting on behalf of the deceased’s estate must have an independent assessment and valuation of art, antiques and personal items to comply with Inheritance Tax liability with HM Revenue & Customs. Cullen’s Clearances are well-versed in carrying out probate valuations of chattels following Section 160 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984 and regularly deal directly with executors to arrange probate valuations on estates.

Our valuations for Inheritance Tax Assessment list art, antiques, jewellery and general house contents and everything is valued by an experienced dealer with more than five years in the trade. All valuations are HMRC compliant, and probate valuations are prepared professionally and discreetly by our team.

If, after the valuation, you decide to sell one or more of the items from the estate, we can help you with the process of the sale. The Cullen’s Clearances team can provide a valuation of the items for you and either purchase them from you or take them, on your behalf, to a specialised dealer or auction. In addition, you may decide to sell the property, in which case, we would recommend Hunters Estate Agents, who are experienced in probate and have RICS accreditation.

Items for Auction

Once you have chosen the items you wish to keep and those you want to be cleared or donated, you may have some items that you would like to sell through auction. At Cullen’s Clearances, our experience means we can identify and quote the market value of goods and locate the right dealer or auction for you to sell through. If you choose to go with one of the dealers we recommend, we can help deliver the items for you, or we can purchase them directly from you to ensure you receive the best financial outcome and the most convenient method.

We currently buy good quality antiques, furniture, collectables, jewellery, electronics, gold and silver. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you, or if you have some images of the items, please send them via email, and we will be able to give you a quote of value.

How much needs to be cleared

Before you call to arrange clearance, you should let us know how much needs to be cleared. One of our Luton trucks would hold the equivalent of one single garage full of items and furniture, which is around 20 cubic yards or three builders’ skips. If you can quote how much of the truck your items would fill, we can provide an accurate quote over the phone. Alternatively, one of our team can visit you at the property at your convenience and assess the cost to clear the items that you have. We will provide you with a written quote with no obligation, and if you find a cheaper quote, we will do our best to price match.

Clear It

When you have decided what to keep, what to sell and what to donate, you should decide which services will be of most use to you:


When choosing a removal company, always use a reputable business which is part of the British Association of Removers (BAR) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS). Ensure they are fully insured for collection and transit and that they have CRB checked.

Alternatively, you could hire a van and do the removal yourself. This will save some money, but of course, you will have to move everything yourself too, and this could be very difficult, especially if there are a lot of bulky items like furniture. Packing and loading carefully can make an impact on whether your items arrive at your new location safely.


Donating items to local charities or organisations is a great way for furniture or other items to be reused by someone less fortunate and help a good cause. Please be aware that charities can only accept items that have the correct Fire Safety tags and materials, and some electrical items might not be accepted.


If you have access to a large vehicle and decide to save money by disposing of the items yourself, you will need to consider the rules of your local authority. Some may charge for numerous or excess trips to the local tip, so call ahead to find out if this is the case. You will also need a waste carrier’s licence to carry waste to a licensed transfer station.

Skip Hire

You may also consider hiring a skip. This would, of course, be dropped off outside the premises to be filled. Skips are charged at a flat rate, but they require a skip permit and parking suspension from the local council if they are parked on the road. Prices vary dependent on the size of the skip, as well as the parking suspension and permit costs. Certain items, such as hazardous waste (fridges, freezers, etc.), can not be placed in a skip and would have to be disposed of correctly.

Property Clearance and waste disposal companies

The simplest solution to dealing with a probate clearance is to call Cullen’s Clearances. At Cullen’s Clearances, we can clear, load and dispose of everything you need to get rid of, from single items to multiple truckloads. We charge by volume cleared, so you won’t pay for skip space you don’t use, and we donate and recycle wherever possible.

Alternatively, there are a lot of waste contractors or ‘Man & Van’ operators you will find in your local directory. If you wish to opt for one of these, ask for a reference, proof they are licensed to carry waste, and confirmation that their employees are CRB checked and insured before you make any bookings.

We also recommend that you research the company in Check a Trade, where all companies are vetted and monitored, to avoid choosing a rogue company. Cullen’s Clearances are also part of the Check A Trade scheme.

Confidential Documents

Take care of your confidential documents, as identity theft is a growing problem in the UK. Dispose of bank statements, credit card records and health records by shredding them. Be careful if you are taking on a house clearance for a deceased relative, as you may need some personal documents at a later date, so only shred anything you are sure you will not need. If in doubt, check with your solicitor or the executor dealing with the estate. More information on identity theft can be found via the Home Office.

Your health and safety are vital when dealing with house clearances and sorting. If you are moving items that have been left undisturbed for some time, you are likely to encounter a lot of dust during the process. Ensure plenty of windows are open before you begin, and wear a dust mask, gloves and eye protection. You may need to wear helmets, especially in a basement or attic, and keep yourself hydrated during the process.

For good practice, when lifting heavy items, take care and bend your knees, keeping your back straight. In addition, if you are carrying bulky items with someone else, always have a strategy as to how you will lift the bulky item and indicate where you will move it to – this helps avoid accidents. A useful Health and Safety guide to manual handling can be emailed to you if necessary.

Next Steps

You have all the knowledge needed to make the probate process as stress-free and efficient as possible. But if it was too much soak in, why not call one of our helpful team today on 0800 033 7930 or email us at [email protected] and we will go through the process for you and help point you in the right direction.

The next steps from here are to look into our Probate ServicesProbate ValuationsProbate House Clearances, and Probate Cleaning services to get professional support through each part of the probate process.

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