Can you put a house up for sale before probate?
Inheriting property is a generous gift from a departed loved one. Sometimes though, you may wish to sell that property. Perhaps it reminds you of your loss. Perhaps you would rather have its monetary value. So, how long do you need to wait? Can you put a house up for sale before probate?
In short, yes. You can start the process of selling a house before the probate process is complete. However, you cannot actually sell the property until probate is granted.
Here is what you need to know about the probate process and the stages of selling a house you can go through before it is granted:
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal right to deal with the estate of someone who has passed away. Probate can only be applied for by someone named as the executor of a will. In England and Wales, the right arrives in the form of a legal document called a Grant of Probate.
When there is no will, a similar right called a Grant of Letters of Administration should be applied for. In Scotland, the process is slightly different.
If you are an executor, applying for probate can be done personally. That said, many executors rely on their solicitor to handle the process as it means you will not need to interact with family members or other concerned parties.
Can You Put A House Up For Sale Before Probate?
Yes, it is possible to put a house up for sale before probate has been granted. To reiterate though, you won’t be able to complete the sale or exchange contracts until you get probate.
This means that if you are lucky enough to find a buyer quickly, they will need to be happy to be kept on hold until you receive your Grant of Probate. You will want to be clear about this upfront in case the buyer takes the delay as motivation to buy something else.
As an executor, one thing you can and should do whether you are selling the house or not is to get a professional valuation.
You’ll need to have this ready before you can complete the probate application process. This is because a valuation is needed in order to calculate the correct Inheritance Tax that will be due (this is based on the total value of the deceased’s estate).
A sensible valuation normally involves getting estimates from two or three different estate agents to make sure you are getting an accurate figure. You can then put the house on the market (with the above understanding).
Can A Deceased’s Estate Be Sold Without Probate?
No. You will not be able to sell or administer any part of a deceased person’s estate before you receive your Grant of Probate (or, in some cases, the Grant of Letters of Administration). You won’t have the legal right to do so without it.
It’s also worth reinforcing that even though they don’t technically “own” the property, it is the executor of the will who is able to sell a probate house on behalf of the estate. They can only do this if that is what is specified in the will and it is in the interest of the beneficiaries.
If you are to receive the house because you are the beneficiary of a will, you will normally need to wait for probate to be complete and ownership of the house to be transferred to you before you can sell it.
How Long Before I Can Sell A House In Probate?
After you have a valuation, you can put a house in probate up for sale right away. Again though, you cannot actually sell it before you receive your Grant of Probate.
It is worth knowing that it can take anywhere from eight weeks to twelve weeks for probate to be granted. This can be even longer if there are any issues or if the circumstances surrounding the will aren’t clear for any reason.
As the executor, it is also worth bearing in mind that you are responsible for making sure the property is protected during this time. Capital Gains Tax may also be due if the property has taken so long to sell that its value has changed (very possible in today’s volatile market).
Get The Help You Need To Administer An Estate
If this is your first time being the executor of an estate (and even if it’s not), specialist legal expertise is invaluable.
For over a hundred years, when people in Shotton, Connah’s Quay, Queensferry, Ewloe, Hawarden and Buckley have needed friendly will and probate solicitors, they’ve turned to E A Harris.
Get In Touch Today.
Let us help you put apply for probate, administer an estate, and find out how to put a house up for sale before probate smoothly and easily today. Complete a Free Online Enquiry or give us a call on 01244 917 82.