The short answer to this question is that it depends on how the house was owned. We look at the reasons why Probate may or may not be needed, what Probate actually is and some of the benefits and drawbacks of selling a house when Probate is needed.
For free initial advice and guidance call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we will help you.
Roughly one in 10 properties on the market in the UK is a Probate sale. This data came from a survey carried out by Move With Us estate agents in 2015. This means you have a very good chance of either being involved in a Probate sale or a Probate purchase at some point in your life.
What is Probate?
The term 'Probate' refers to an official legal document called a Grant of Representation, which is sometimes needed to wind up the affairs of a deceased person. This document will be issued either to the Executors named in the Will or, if there is no Will, the closest family members, and it confirms their authority to administer the Estate. The process of obtaining the Grant and using it to administer the Estate is commonly referred to as Probate.
If there is a property in the Estate, Probate will usually be needed before it can be sold. It won’t stop you from putting the property onto the market, but the Grant of Probate will be needed to complete the sale.
As part of the Estate administration process you’ll need to get the property valued anyway as it forms part of the Estate. The Estate value is needed to calculate whether there is Inheritance Tax to pay, and for when you’re completing the Probate application.
Once you’ve received an offer on the property, you can exchange contracts if you’re an Executor in the Will, but the property sale cannot complete until the Grant of Probate has been provided to your Solicitor.
In this article, we are assuming that Probate is required, but there may be no need for Probate. This depends on whether the property was owned jointly, and if so, whether it was owned as joint tenants or tenants in common.
For a property owned as joint tenants, ownership will automatically transfer to the surviving owner, and Probate will not be needed.
For free practical advice following a bereavement, call 03306069584. We can help you with the practical steps, and if you need Probate, provide a no obligation fixed-fee quotation.
These days, many couples own their property as tenants in common rather than joint tenants. Tenants in common own their house in separate percentage shares, and what this means is if one owner dies, their share won’t automatically pass to the survivor. People often do this to try and ensure their children receive the benefit from their share of the property. Tenants in common can leave their share of the house in their Will to someone other than the surviving owner.
If you are a surviving tenant in common and you want to sell the property, seek advice from a professional Probate Specialist who can help ensure you are doing the right thing.
Co-op Legal Services can help you if you have a house to sell and you need help with Probate. We offer a complete Probate and Estate Administration service to take the stress out of the Probate process.
Contact us to make an appointment with one of our Probate Consultants who can meet with you at home (in England or Wales) to offer practical help and advice and provide you with a fixed price Probate quote.
For free initial advice and guidance call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we will call you.