If you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, you or your family might have responsibilities thrust upon you that you were not expecting. This may involve dealing with their estate – including their property.
We understand that this will be a difficult time for you, and you will likely want to get through the process as quick as you can so that you can focus on other family matters and grieve with your loved ones.
Unfortunately, it can take some time to progress through probate. This is especially the case when property is concerned. You may have to decide between keeping the property or selling it, either because you don’t want to inherit the property or because you need the funds to divide the estate between other beneficiaries.
Our team here at EasySale may be able to help if you find yourself in this situation. Let us explain in more detail the importance, and the potential difficulties, of probate when it comes to dealing with property.
What does probate mean?
Probate is sometimes needed after an individual passes away. It is an important process that relates to the fair and legal distribution of the deceased’s estate according to their will or the rules of intestacy.
If the deceased has left a will, then there should be a named individual who is the executor of that will. This means that they will be responsible for administering the deceased’s estate and assets, if they agree to do so.
Provided that the estate contains solely owned property, this individual must begin the application for a grant of probate which, when granted, will prove that they have legal permission to administer the estate.
A grant of probate is supposed to take around 8 weeks to be awarded, but it is common for it to take much longer.
If there is no will, or if the will is proven to be invalid, then letters of administration must be applied for instead.
Can you sell a house before probate?
No, you cannot sell a house you have inherited without applying for and receiving a grant of probate.
If the property was solely owned by the deceased, then probate will be needed to verify the will and (if valid) determine who shall inherit the property with a grant of probate. Before this grant is issued, the property is not yours to sell.
Can you sell a house while in probate?
No, you will need the probate process to be finalised before the grant of probate is issued, meaning that you can not sell property while probate is ongoing.
Fortunately, you do not have to sit around waiting for your grant of probate to be awarded before beginning the sales process.
To get a head start on the sale, you can list a property for sale but halt the process before completion and resume once the grant of probate has been awarded. This process allows you to sell the property quickest using traditional sales methods, but it relies on you finding a buyer who will agree to purchase with no guarantee of a completion date.
Often houses that are inherited can be in a state of disrepair. While it is possible to sell a house in this state, why not take advantage of the fact that you must wait to sell the property by performing some renovations before completion?
Probate can be a tricky area to navigate for the general population who are inexperienced on the matter. Here are a few key terms that you must know if you are to begin applying for probate.
The estate of the deceased is everything that they solely owned at their time of death. This is made up of cash, stocks, property, and other possessions.
Jointly owned possessions will usually pass on to the living owner(s).
Probate is the process of proving that a deceased person’s will is valid, and determining who will be in charge of administering their estate by assigning an executor of will with a grant of probate.
Grant of Probate
This is the document that is needed before an executor of will can legally distribute the deceased’s estate.
Executor of Will
An executor of will is the individual in charge of administering the deceased’s estate and who will have to apply for a grant of probate. Often, an executor of will is chosen by the deceased and stated within their will. There can be a maximum of four executors of will for a single probate application.
If an executor of will is not specified within a will, then beneficiaries from the will can apply to become an executor of will, with up to four people being able to act as executors at once.
Administrator of Probate
An administrator of probate is someone in charge of administering the estate of the deceased, acting as the equivalent of an executor of will.
Rather than applying for a grant of probate, they will need to apply for a grant of letters of administration.
When an individual dies without leaving a will, or if they have a will but it is proven invalid, then this is known as intestate and their estate will be managed according to the rules of intestacy.
Selling a house in probate
As mentioned, it can prove difficult to find buyers for houses in probate when relying on estate agents.
Here at EasySale, we can offer our services to houses in probate and even assign our specialist probate solicitors to help progress as efficiently as possible.
We can offer up to 85% of market value and get all paperwork in order so that completion can take place at the earliest opportunity.
If you would like to know more, or if you would like to get a quote on a property you own, then please get in touch today.