Taking care of probate is not always straightforward. There are lots of different factors to consider – so it is important that you take care to meet all requirements throughout the process. Bringing in a solicitor to support you through the process can be extremely valuable and can give everyone peace of mind.
When you bring in expert support, it can also provide clarity on what you are and aren’t allowed to do. For example, you may be wondering: who has the right to sell probate property? We Buy Any Home’s blog below gives a definitive answer to this important question.
What is an executor?
The executor is the person named in a Will who will sort out of the estate of the deceased person. The executor is responsible for taking care of money, property and possessions. This role may also involve communicating with solicitors; ensuring inheritance tax is taken care of; selling a probate property; making sure any empty properties are secure; and much more. There can be a lot involved in the role and that’s why it is not always an easy position to be in.
Who can sell probate property?
Probate property can only be sold by the executor of the estate, or the individual who has been granted probate. This person is the one who has the legal power to take these actions.
There is no time limit within which you must sell probate property – you can take as long or short as you wish. However, the important detail is that the grant of probate has been approved, because you cannot legally sell a house without this.
Most experts in this area recommend that you consult with all relevant parties before making important decisions about the deceased individual’s estate. Even if you are not legally required to take their opinions into consideration, it is a courtesy to inform them of what is happening in advance, so it doesn’t come as a surprise. This is particularly important if the property being sold has emotional significance for some of your friends or family.
If you have any questions or concerns at any point of selling probate property, it is strongly recommended that you seek expert legal support.
How many valuations should I arrange for a probate property?
When you are selling a probate property, it is important that you get it valued by a reliable, independent company. It is generally recommended that you seek two or three different valuations so you can compare and reach an accurate figure. The valuations will be important for the executor because they will need to outline the deceased’s total assets and liabilities, so that Inheritance Tax can be calculated. HMRC also recommends that you have items worth over £500 valued professionally.
Keeping a probate property secure while no one lives there
The probate property needs to be kept secure while no one is living in it. This is the responsibility of the executor.
Once the house is empty, you should ensure that all security measures are working and sufficient to keep the property safe. If there are not currently any security systems on the property, then you should make enquiries about installing them as soon as you are allowed to.
Empty properties are frequently exposed to damage, vandalism and fraud. If something bad happens to the property which affects its value, then the executor can be personally liable in some circumstances.
Do I have to sell a probate property after someone dies?
All the individuals named in the Will are entitled to transfer the home into their names, if they wish. This means that you are not required to sell the property, because the house will legally belong to you.
From this point onwards, it is entirely your choice whether you live in the property, rent it out or sell it further down the line. Just ensure that Inheritance Tax is taken care of in the meantime.
How do I pay inheritance tax?
Depending on the value of the deceased person’s estate, Inheritance Tax may need to be paid. Currently, up to £325,000 is tax-free, but anything over that is usually taxable at 40%. Remember that you can hire a solicitor to take care of all these matters – including making sure that Inheritance Tax is paid properly – if you wish.
Is a probate property less desirable for a buyer?
Sometimes, potential buyers may be less keen to purchase a probate property. It is not always the case that the executor/person in charge of the sale knows every intricate detail about the property, because it was not necessarily theirs. There may also be other complications, such as Grant of Probate delays.
With that being said, probate properties can often be chain-free, which is desirable for a buyer because it makes it less likely that the deal with break down. In truth, probate properties are just as valid as any other type of property, and if you can take steps to ensure a smooth sale, you should be able to get a fair price for the house.