Selling a property can be a painstaking process.
But dealing with it when the house belonged to a loved one who has passed away can be incredibly difficult.
So here are some handy hints from our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team on how you can best manage the process.
It may take time
After someone’s death, if there is a property to be sold it is likely to take some time.
This is because their personal representative will need to obtain authority to carry out the sale by getting a Grant of Probate or, if they did not leave a will, a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Valuing the property
The property in question will need to be valued along with the deceased’s other assets.
Try to get accurate values as the Inheritance Tax due will be based on the total amount. Any shortfall needs to be made up or interest could be payable.
Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration
You will need to obtain either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry.
Once any Inheritance Tax is paid, if any is due, you can send the application form with the original will and the application fee.
It could be a lengthy wait for this stage, as it depends how quickly you can obtain valuations of assets.
Marketing the property
A property can be put on the market but you cannot complete the sale until the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration has been received.
The conveyancing process can also take time so buyers are often happy to make an offer before the grant is received.
Consider clearing the property
Clearing a property can take time, particularly if it belonged to a close family member.
Their possessions and furniture will still be there and you will need to ensure anything is kept that is sentimental or valuable.
By clearing the property before you market it, you can avoid the stress of having to clear it later on when completion is imminent.
It also helps to give the property a fresh coat of paint to appeal to more buyers and this is easier with an empty property.
Alternatively, you may decide to keep the furniture in place, but it can still be helpful to remove the smaller items so that it looks clutter-free and that you leave yourself less to do.
Find important documentation
As you go through the deceased’s personal items, keep an eye out for documents relating to the property that could be useful in the sale.
Things like title deeds or copies of the legal title, or consent for planning, building regulations approval and guarantees for work that has been
carried out, such as the installation of new windows.
This can be given to the solicitor once the sale process has begun,
If you are an executor, you could instruct a solicitor to deal with the estate administration on your behalf.
As we have explained before, the process can be time-consuming and there are many factors to deal with so it is often advised to instruct a solicitor to deal with it on your behalf.
Our team can help you to reduce the amount of inheritance tax you might otherwise pay by administering an estate yourself.
If you’d like to speak to one of our probate experts, you can call our team on 01772 799 600.
Article by Nicola Birchall, chartered legal executive