Probate Guide Probate Guide

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 Services, Probate Valuations, Probate 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%.

Guide to Probate

Free guide to the probate process.

1. 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 affects 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.

2. 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 reports covers:

  • 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 in order to comply with Inheritance Tax liability with HM Revenue & Customs. Cullen’s Clearances are well-versed in carrying out probate valuations of chattels in accordance with 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, jewelery and general house contents and everything is valued by an experienced dealer with more than 5 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 sale. The Cullen’s Clearances team are able to 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.

3. Items for Auction

Once you have chosen the items you wish to keep and those you want to be cleared or donate, 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 in good quality antiques, furniture, collectables, jewellery, electronics, gold and silver. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you or alternatively if you have some images of the items please send them via email and we would be able to give you an quote of value.

4. How much needs to be cleared

Before you call to arrange clearance, it’s best for you to quote how much you have to be cleared. One of the Cullen’s Clearance Luton trucks would hold the equivalent of one single garage full of items and furniture, which is around 20 cubic yards or 3 builders’ skips. If you can quote how much of the truck your items would fill, we can provide an quoted 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.

5. 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:

(a) Removals

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 is 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.

(b) Donation

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.

(c) Disposal

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 carriers’ licence to carry waste to a licensed transfer station.

(d) 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.

(e) 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, 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.

6. And don’t forget.

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. 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 find via the Home Office.

Your personal health and safety is 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.

7. Now you can relax!

Now just relax, you are armed with 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.

How we work

We made a little video to help explain what we do and how we work, sit back and enjoy

Reuse Rehome Relove

95%+ of items get reused, rehomed & reloved

Every clearance gets our Reuse, Rehome & Relove™ guarantee. 95%+ of all the items we clear get reused and donated to local charities, sorted and recycled at our recycling facility, or upcycled and rehomed with local families.

Donating to charities

Donating furniture and appliances to charities

We donate usable furniture, appliances, and goods cleared from homes and businesses to local charities, our partners include Cancer Research UK, Debra, Merton Giving, Spear, The Ollie Foundation,, and Better World Books.

Eco Friendly House Clearances

Planting 1000s of trees to offset our carbon footprint

Not only do we divert over 95% of items cleared from landfill but we're also planting 1000s of trees and offsetting 100s tons of carbon with our partner Ecologi. Our aim is to make every single clearance we do eco-friendly.

Trusted House Clearance Service

A trusted local family business

Our reputation is important to us, that’s why we are recommended, vetted, and monitored by Checkatrade; a vetted, approved, and accredited SafeContractor, CHAS, and Constructionline contractor; and an Environment Agency Registered Waste Carrier. We're also ISO Certified, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 which shows our commitment to operating our business at the highest of professional and environmental standards.

Cullens House Clearance Awards

A Multi-Award Winning Service

We're incredibly proud of being a multi-award winning company. We have been awarded the Climate Action Award in the 2021 Merton Best Business Awards and Best Property Clearance Firm in the Probate Research Awards 2021. Over the past decade we are thankful for being recognised by multiple organisations as a company working to achieve the very best service for our customers and environmental standards for our business.

What customers say about us...

We're proud of the service that we provide and we hope that all of our customers are too. That's why we are independently rated on Checkatrade. All of our previous customers can independently review us on Checkatrade, of which previous customers have rated our services excellent at 9.9 out of 10.

9.9 out of 10
Based on 400+ reviews
  • House clearance

    Excellent service and professional job. Arrived at the appointed time and office was easy to deal with in terms or booking and confirmation. Highly recommend... Kilmarnock, Verified Review

    House and rubbish clearance

    I cannot recommend Cullens enough. The team were really lovely and courteous and cleared everything very quickly and efficiently, handling breakables ... Guildford, Verified Review
  • House cleared

    Absolutely brilliant. Had to clear mother's house. Office staff very helpful. Men worked very hard. Very polite and courteous. Good thing about this company... Epsom, Verified Review

    No contact clearance

    No contact clearance. Really easy process from booking to collection. I put everything on the drive and when the guys turned up they loaded it quickly... Surrey, Verified Review
  • Rubbish removed

    Brilliant service! Cullens Clearances were amazing from start to finish. Super fast replies and quote. Staff have been amazing and removal team... Carshalton, Verified Review

    Flat clearance

    This is the second time I have used this company. The gentlemen that came to my flat were friendly, courteous and respectful to me and did the work... London, Verified Review
  • Valuation of chattels for probate

    Derrick was prompt and efficient and the valuation report was just what I wanted. Highly recommended... Cambridge, Verified Review

    Office cleared

    Prompt, efficient, helpful and extremely obliging... Hereford, Verified Review

Contact Us

You can contact us below using the contact form, by email on [email protected] or by phone on 0800 033 7930