How does probate affect a house sale?

How does probate affect a house sale?

How does probate affect a house sale?

If a house needs to be sold after a death, the estate’s executor or administrator will need to obtain a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Administration. We take a look at the process involved and answer the question “How does probate affect a house sale?”

Our probate and estate administration solicitors deal with all aspects of winding up an estate, to include calculating Inheritance Tax, applying for a grant, selling property and preparing estate accounts. We have extensive experience in dealing with estate administration and will work proactively to avoid delays.

You will find our probate solicitors to be understanding at this difficult time and if you ask us to represent you, we will make everything as easy as possible for you. We always make sure our communication is clear and jargon-free and we are happy to go over the process with you as needed to make sure you know what is happening and what stage has been reached.

We have flexible availability, so that you can speak to us at a time convenient to you, and we will make sure that you are aware of our pricing from the outset. As well as our legal expertise in dealing with estate administration and property sales, we are also known for the high level of client service we provide.

We offer a free initial chat so that you can speak to us and discuss your situation. You will also be able to ask us any preliminary questions that you may have about probate and property sales. You can ring us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We represent local clients in Beverley, Hull and York as well as those from across East Yorkshire.

What is probate?

The term probate is often used to refer to the whole estate administration process. It also refers to the Grant of Probate which is the legal document that gives authority to the estate’s executor to deal with the deceased’s affairs.

If the deceased did not leave a Will, then the document that is needed is a Grant of Letters of Administration. The person dealing with the estate is then referred to as an administrator. The administrator will usually be someone who is entitled to inherit under the Rules of Intestacy. These are the rules that set out in order of priority who will inherit when there is no Will.

A Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration will always be needed if the estate includes a property.

How do I get probate to sell a house?

A grant is obtained by applying to the Probate Registry. The steps involved include:

  • Valuing the estate
  • Calculating Inheritance Tax
  • Completing Inheritance Tax forms and schedules and paying the tax due
  • Completing the probate application form
Valuing the estate

The first stage in obtaining a grant is to value all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. Assets include everything of value owned by the deceased, including property, cars, savings, cash, valuable items and household goods such as furniture.

Liabilities include outstanding mortgage balances, credit card debts and tax liabilities. The total amount of liabilities is deducted from the total assets to give the amount of the net estate.

Calculating and paying Inheritance Tax

The value of the net estate will determine whether Inheritance Tax is payable. It is also necessary to take into account cash gifts made by the deceased over the seven years before their death as tax may be payable on these on a sliding scale. Calculating Inheritance Tax is not straightforward and we can deal with this on your behalf to ensure that the right figure is paid and that all available allowances are used.

Inheritance Tax needs to be paid before the application for a grant is sent. This involves completing a range of forms and sending them to HM Revenue & Customs together with the amount due. It may be possible to pay Inheritance Tax from the deceased’s bank, building society or National Savings & Investment account and we can advise you on this and your options if sufficient funds are not held to cover the tax.

Obtaining a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration

Around a fortnight after the tax forms and payment have been sent, an application can be sent to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. This will need to include the original Will, if there is one, plus any codicils as well as the application form and the fee.

The Registry are currently taking several months to process an application. If they have queries or there is a delay in HM Revenue & Customs forwarding the paperwork to them, it could take longer.

How does probate affect a house sale?

It is not possible to complete the sale of a house held by a deceased’s estate until the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is available. Because of the length of time taken and the unpredictability of the Probate Registry, which has experienced large delays in recent months, we do not recommend marketing a property until the grant has been received.

Once a grant has been issued, there is a ten-month period during which a claim could be made against the estate. This could be because an individual closely related to the deceased believes that they are entitled to be provided for, but the deceased’s Will or intestacy rules do not leave them anything or they consider that the amount they will receive is insufficient to give them reasonable financial provision.

This means that even if the property sale is complete within this timeframe, it is not advisable to distribute the estate until the risk of a claim has passed. In some cases, it may be possible to make interim distributions to the beneficiaries and we can advise on this if necessary.

Timeframe for probate property sale and estate administration

Winding up an estate depends largely on other organisations responding promptly to correspondence and applications. We always work proactively to move matters along without delay wherever possible, but dealing with the Probate Registry is generally a lengthy process.

After the grant is received, we will need to send it to all of the organisations where the deceased held assets so that they can close accounts and cash in policies. This can take several months.

The conveyancing process can take place simultaneously, once a buyer has been found. This is generally also taking several months to complete. After all of the assets have been collected and liabilities discharged, we will prepare detailed estate accounts, to include calculating the amount payable to the beneficiaries.

If you would like to discuss the estate administration process, including with regard to a property sale, we will be pleased to hear from you.

We provide a full probate service, to include sale of property. For information about the costs involved in dealing with probate, see our probate pricing guide.

Contact our East Yorkshire and York area probate solicitors

We offer a free initial chat and we will be able to answer questions that you have about the process and related issues such as likely timescale and costs. You can call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. As well as helping local clients in Beverley, Hull and York, we also act for clients from across East Yorkshire.

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