What is a probate house sale?

What is a probate house sale?What Is A Probate House Sale? A probate house sale takes place after someone has died when their estate sells a property that they owned. To enable a sale to be completed, there are several steps to go through. We take a look at these and the order in which they need to occur.

At Lockings Solicitors, we represent clients in dealing with estate administration. This includes calculating whether Inheritance Tax will be payable, applying for a Grant of Probate and carrying out the conveyancing transaction, often referred to as a probate house sale.

We have a large amount of experience in these areas of law and we are also very understanding at what we know is likely to be a difficult time. If you would like us to represent you in winding up an estate, we will work proactively to deal with the process promptly and efficiently.

We will always make sure that you are kept up to date with the progress of the transactions and that we are available to speak to you as needed to answer any questions you may have.

Our pricing will be clear from the outset in respect of any services that you require, such as winding up the estate, obtaining a Grant of Probate or dealing with the sale of a property.

As well as in-depth legal expertise, we are known for the high level of service we provide to our clients. We have flexible availability so that you can meet with us at a time to suit you.

We offer a free initial chat to enable you to ask us about the process as well as any other queries you may have. 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.

Probate sale meaning

Probate is the term often used to refer to the winding up of someone’s affairs after their death. It can also refer to the Grant of Probate. This is the document that gives legal authority to the executor to administer the estate.

The administration process includes collecting in all of the estate’s assets, preparing estate accounts and distributing the net estate to the beneficiaries.

As part of the probate process, it is often necessary to sell the deceased’s home or other property. The steps involved in dealing with this include:

  • Valuing the estate
  • Calculating whether Inheritance Tax is due
  • Paying Inheritance Tax
  • Applying for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration
  • Going through the conveyancing process
Valuing an estate

To enable you to find out whether Inheritance Tax will be payable, the first stage in the process is to find out the net amount of the estate. To do this, you will need to value all of the assets and liabilities in the estate.

Assets include property, cars, valuable items and personal possessions as well as cash, investments and savings. Liabilities include tax that is due, the outstanding amount on a mortgage, bills and credit card balances.

A house or flat can be valued by looking at sales of similar properties or a surveyor or estate agent can be asked to prepare a formal valuation for probate purposes. This can be recommended if the property is unusual or if the estate is close to the Inheritance Tax threshold.

Financial assets can be valued by writing to the asset holder with a copy of the death certificate and asking for a value as at the date of death.

You may need to obtain a formal valuation for some valuable items such as antiques or art.

The total amount of liabilities can be deducted from the total assets to give a net figure for the estate.

Calculating and paying Inheritance Tax

Before you can apply to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate, you need to pay Inheritance Tax, if this is due. This is decided on the value of the net estate. There are a number of allowances and exemptions to be taken into account. For example, everyone has an initial allowance of £325,000. If the deceased was married and their spouse predeceased them, their spouse’s allowance can be transferred to the deceased’s estate if it has not been used.

No Inheritance Tax is payable in respect of gifts left to charity. If more than 10% of a net estate is left to charity, it reduces the rate of Inheritance Tax payable from 40% to 36%.

Calculating Inheritance Tax can be complicated, with some aspects payable on a sliding scale and additional allowances available if property is passed on to descendants. If you need help with this, we can deal with the administration on your behalf and advise you of the amount that is payable.

A substantial number of forms need to be completed and sent to HM Revenue & Customs. As well as the main form, there is a form for each type of asset, including properties owned by the deceased.

The Inheritance Tax payment needs to be sent to HM Revenue & Customs at the same time. It is the executor’s or administrator’s responsibility to pay this, but it is possible to use money held by the deceased in a bank, building society or National Savings & Investments account if available. If you believe that payment may be a problem, we can discuss the options with you, which include asking HM Revenue & Customs if payment can be made in instalments.

Applying for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration

A couple of weeks after the Inheritance Tax forms have been submitted and the tax paid, an application can be sent to the Probate Registry for a Grant of Probate.

If the deceased did not leave a Will, the application is for a Grant of Letters of Administration. The Probate Registry regularly take several months to process an application, depending on their backlog.


It is not possible to complete a sale until a grant has been issued but it is possible to get things ready in the meantime. Because of recent delays at the Probate Registry, we recommend considering waiting to agree a sale until the grant is received to reduce the risk of the transaction being derailed by matters outside of your/our control. If you do agree a sale, your buyer needs to be clear that no completion can take place until the grant is received.

We can deal with both the estate administration and the conveyancing on your behalf if you wish, so that you have a seamless service.

We can check the title and let you have the preliminary forms to be completed so that as soon as the grant is received and a buyer has been found, the contract papers can be issued.

Contact our East Yorkshire probate solicitors

At Lockings Solicitors, we provide a leading service for executors and administrators in winding up estates and selling probate property. We know that you are likely to have questions and we invite you to call us for a FREE initial chat so that you can go through any queries you have and discuss your situation. To take up our offer, 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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