Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult and hardest times in anyone’s life. And often, if you were close, you may be the one left with the responsibility to clear and sell the property they lived in.
This can be a highly emotional task, sorting and clearing a home full of family possessions (often with sentimental attachments) and large amounts of correspondence with solicitors and other companies.
The official term for selling a property you’ve inherited is called probate property. Probate is the granting of legal authority to an Executor or family member to administer and disperse the Estate of the deceased, this can include property, money, possessions, and other financial assets.
If the deceased died with a valid Will, a Grant of Probate is needed. If they did not have a Will at the time of death, you’ll need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The Grant of Probate gives you, the recipient, the right to sign contracts on the deceased person’s behalf, such as those rights needed to sell a property.
Gaining Grant of Probate usually takes between 6-12 weeks. If no inheritance tax is due, probate can usually be granted within 6 weeks, however, if the estate value is taxable, then Grant of Probate can take longer, but should be granted within 12 weeks.
Whenever you inherit property, you will need to have it valued before applying for probate, even if you are not planning on selling it. This is because property is usually the majority of an Estate’s assets, and valuation will be essential when determining the amount of inheritance tax, you will need to pay.
When preparing a probate property for sale, bear in mind there are strict rules. Here are some of the most common questions answered:
Can I sell an inherited property before probate is granted?
As an estate agent, we can market the property for you before probate has been granted. We can also carry out viewings on the property. If you receive an offer, you are happy with while waiting for probate, you can accept this and agree a sale, but until probate is granted you will not be able to proceed any further to completing the sale.
Can I sell a house in probate?
A property sale can be agreed ‘in’ or ‘under’ probate (during the time Grant of Probate is being applied for). But you will not be able to exchange contracts or any funds until probate is granted, neither will you be able to use any funds from the estate to pay for any expenses. If you choose Arden Estates to market your probate property, we will ensure any potential buyers are made aware that the date the property completes its sale may be subject to delays due to probate.
Can I sell a property once probate is granted?
Yes, once you have received the Grant of Representation, you can exchange contracts and complete the sale of your inherited property.
How long does it take to sell a probate property?
Selling a probate property can take a little longer than a standard sale of a property, and how long it takes can depend on several factors. As mentioned earlier, applying for probate can take up to 12 weeks. However, most property sales now take around 16 weeks to complete, so awaiting Grant of Probate shouldn’t affect things too much. Plus, this gives you time to sort through the property and the items within it.
Some vendors choose to sell probate property via auction. If this is an option, you’d like to discuss we’d be happy to provide you with more details.
If you require help selling a property you have inherited, please contact us, we’d be happy to provide a free valuation and take away some of the stress you may be feeling during what can often be a difficult time.