When dealing with the estate of someone who has died, selling a house is often the most complicated and time-consuming task. We take a look at the steps that you will need to go through before the property can be sold and answer the question “Is Probate Needed To Sell A House?”.
At Lockings Solicitors, we deal with estate administration and probate conveyancing. We can advise you on issues such as Inheritance Tax, who is entitled to inherit if there is no Will and whether you will need a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Our probate lawyers are understanding and approachable. We know that this is likely to be a very difficult time for you and if you ask us to represent you, we will always deal with matters sensitively, providing support and guidance and ensuring that we are available to speak to you when needed.
We have a high level of experience in probate issues, to include dealing with complex and high-value estates and where there are challenging family circumstances.
We offer a free initial chat so that you can talk to us about your situation and ask us any preliminary questions you may have. We can also discuss issues such as costs and the likely timescale involved. You can ring us on 01482 300 200, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly.
If you are dealing with the administration of an estate and there is a house to be sold, you will need either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration. This is the document that gives you legal authority to deal with the deceased’s affairs.
If the deceased left a Will, this will generally name one or more executors. These are the individuals who will be responsible for dealing with the winding up of the estate. They will need to apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate.
Where no Will was made, the deceased’s estate will pass under the Rules of Intestacy to close family members in order of priority. One of those entitled to inherit will usually deal with the administration of the estate. They will need to apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Letters of Administration appointing them as an administrator.
While a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is not always needed, if the estate includes a property that is to be sold, then it is always necessary to obtain a grant.
There are several stages to securing a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration, as follows:
· Register the death
· Work out the net value of the estate
· Calculate how much (if any) Inheritance Tax is due
· Complete the Inheritance Tax forms
· Pay the Inheritance Tax
· Submit an application form to the Probate Registry for the grant
One of the first administrative tasks following a death is to register this with a registrar. This can be done in person or online and should be dealt with within five days of the date of death. You can buy copies of the death certificate and you may want to purchase several as they will need to be sent to most of the organisations that the deceased had dealings with.
You will need to find out the net value of the estate so that you can determine whether Inheritance Tax is payable. You should write to all of the organisations where the deceased had holdings or where money is owed and ask for a balance as at the date of death.
You will also need to value the deceased’s personal possessions such as their car, furniture, jewellery and art. If they owned a property, the value of this should be included. You can either obtain a probate valuation or value it by looking at sales of similar properties in the area.
Once you have a total figure for the assets, you should deduct any money owed by the deceased at the date of their death, such as an outstanding mortgage, credit card debts and tax liabilities. This will give you a net value of the total estate.
You should also find out the value of any sizeable cash gifts made by the deceased in the seven years before their death, as Inheritance Tax may be payable on these if they exceed £3,000 per year.
Using this net figure, you can work out whether Inheritance Tax is payable. The calculation can be complex as there are allowances that can be used and if large cash gifts have been made in the previous seven years, tax may be payable on these on a sliding scale.
No Inheritance Tax is payable on the first £325,000 of a net estate or where the balance above this threshold is left to a spouse, civil partner or charity. Where the deceased’s spouse or civil partner has died previously and did not use all of their £325,000 allowance, the remaining balance can be transferred, making a total potential allowance of £650,000.
Inheritance Tax on the part of the estate above the allowance threshold is normally paid at a rate of 40%.
Once you have the figures available, you can start filling in the Inheritance Tax forms. There are usually several to be completed, one for each type of asset and liability that the deceased held, plus a main form.
If Inheritance Tax is owed, this must be paid before a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration will be issued. There is a deadline of the end of the sixth month after the date of death by which payment should be made.
You can usually use savings or investments held by the deceased to pay this, if available. You will need to write to the asset holder and ask them if they will agree and what their process is for requesting payment. They will generally send the money directly to HM Revenue & Customs.
Once the forms have been sent to HM Revenue & Customs and the Inheritance Tax paid, you will need to wait around two to three weeks, then you can send your application for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration to the Probate Registry.
There is a form to be filled in and you will need to send the death certificate and the original Will plus any codicils as well as the application fee.
HM Revenue & Customs will confirm receipt of the Inheritance Tax payment directly to the Probate Registry.
The process of obtaining figures and dealing with the calculations and form-filling can take several months. It is time-consuming and where an executor is busy, it may take them some time to deal with all of these preliminary matters before the application can be sent.
The Probate Registry will also take several months to deal with the application for a grant, depending how busy they are. Realistically, it can take several months.
You do not have to wait until you have received the grant to market the property however. Once you have sent the application to the Probate Registry, you can start looking for a buyer as the conveyancing process will also take several months to complete.
If you are an executor or an administrator and you are winding up an estate after a death, we can deal with the Inheritance Tax forms and make an application for a grant on your behalf. We will give you a clear estimate of the likely costs at the start and answer any questions you may have.
Our conveyancing solicitors are also able to deal with probate property sales so that you have a complete service under one roof if required. You can ring us for a FREE initial chat on 01482 300 200, email us at email@example.com 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 and beyond.
If you are a customer of Lockings Solicitors and we have contracted with you online you may be entitled to use the EU Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform to assist in resolving any dispute with us. This service can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/odr.
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