Probate is a hugely important process when a loved one passes away. By sorting out their affairs, including property, money and belongings, it ensures that everything is dealt with correctly. However, probate can also be complicated, and it is completely natural to have some questions about the details surrounding it.
Often, when a property is inherited via probate, the recipient is keen to sell it straight away. If the house no longer holds value anymore, or if the individual agreed with the deceased person prior to their death that it would be sold, then it is common to want this process completed quickly. So, once you have inherited a property via probate – how long before you are allowed to sell it?
We Buy Any Home’s blog below gives you a definitive answer to this question.
Do I need a solicitor for probate?
No, you are not legally required to bring in a solicitor to assist with probate. It is strongly recommended that you seek legal advice (and support) however if you do not have experience and expertise in this area. This is because probate can be complicated, and it might also give all parties involved ‘peace of mind’ to know that an independent solicitor is handling everything.
In a typical situation, a solicitor will be responsible for valuing the estate, collecting all assets, making sure that all tax and debts are paid off, and distributing everything in accordance with the Will. Depending on the circumstances, this can be quite a complicated process – especially if there are lots of relatives involved, and lots of properties to take care of.
If you wish to complete probate without hiring a solicitor, then you can apply to do this online or via the post. This will typically involve contacting relevant financial institutions to discover the estimated value of the estate (including any inheritance tax due) – and then completing forms which enable you to distribute the assets accordingly. Other considerations may be overseas assets, gifts made within 7 years before the death, and any assets held in trust.
Is probate expensive?
As with most legal matters, the cost of probate will vary depending on the professional you hire for the job, as each one has different rates.
Typically, you pay a fixed cost for the application fee, which is around £140 upwards. From there, solicitors may charge anywhere between 2% to 5% of the estate’s value for their services. For example, if the estate is worth £200,000, the variable costs will range from £4,000 to £10,000 plus VAT.
How long does probate take?
If you’re wondering how long probate takes, then you aren’t alone.
In the United Kingdom, it takes on average between 9 to 12 months for the Grant of Probate to be obtained, and for the estate to be successfully dealt with. With simple estates, it is possible for the process to be completed after 6 months, but even this is quite rare.
The process of paying all necessary tax, applying for forms, and completing and submitting forms, is usually what results in probate taking so long. For example, you will usually receive the grant of probate or letters of administration 16 weeks after submitting your application, and it can take even longer if you need to provide additional information.
While some people believe that completing probate yourself enables you to get it done quicker, this is not necessarily the case. The long wait for certain forms is unavoidable, no matter who is making the application, and hiring a solicitor also makes it less likely that time-consuming mistakes are made.
How long after probate can you sell a property?
You can sell a property as soon as probate has been officially granted. While it is possible and legal to put the house on the market before the Grant of Probate, you cannot actually complete the sale until after it is granted.
In some situations, you can sell a house before probate is completed if a partner or spouse with whom the deceased jointly owned the property is named on the title deeds. As a second example, if the deceased person was a joint tenant of the property, then the property is automatically transferred to the surviving joint tenant, meaning that no probate is needed if it’s sold.
Should I be worried about probate?
Probate is not necessarily something that you need to worry about. Hiring a solicitor to support you is valuable not only for their expertise, but because they can give you peace of mind. When an expert is in control of everything, it reduces the extent to which you need to get involved. When you are likely to be already mourning a loved one, solicitors can make the process much less problematic.
If you are keen to sell an inherited house in a short time-frame, then We Buy Any Home can help. Contact us today for a valuation.