Can you sell a property before Probate is granted

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Yes, you can; we at “Sell House Fast 4 Cash” are happy to buy a property while you wait for Probate to be granted.

You can contact the Probate Legal Advice website if you require free legal advice on any probate matter. 

Yes, you can put a property up for sale before the Probate is granted, but you cannot complete the sale until the Probate Registry (Court) has issued a Grant of Probate. 

This can cause issues for both the seller and the buyer, as obtaining Probate and administering an Estate can sometimes be a long process.

We explain what you need to do if you are selling a property that needs Probate, along with what it means for you as a buyer if you are buying a Probate sale house.

It’s estimated that one in ten properties in the UK is a Probate sale. A Probate sale is when the property owner has died, and the property needs to be sold. In the Probate process, this is known as liquidating the asset.

Selling a Property that Needs Probate

If you are an Executor named in the Will or have been granted letters of administration to administer the Estate of a loved one who died without a Will. It is your job to make sure that you manage the Estate efficiently.

You will need to realise (liquidate) all the assets in the Estate before you can distribute the assets as per the Will. Or sometimes before you can pay all the inheritance tax due. To complete any property sale, you would need a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration, also known as a Grant of Representation.

As an Executor or Administrator, you will need to know how much the property is worth to calculate the value of the Estate for Inheritance Tax. Hence, getting the property on the market before Probate is granted is a good idea.

You can ask a local estate agent to carry out a valuation of the property for you. HMRC will expect you to obtain more than one valuation, and it would be wise to get three. It would help if you informed the estate agent that it’s a Probate sale so they can manage any potential buyer’s expectations.

The property’s value usually forms a significant part of the entire Estate, which includes adding any cash, investments, insurance policies and contents from the property.

You will need to ascertain if the deceased person had any debts (also known as liabilities), including the funeral account, utility bills, Council Tax and sums owed to family members or friends. The liabilities need to be deducted from the value of the assets held to determine if any Inheritance Tax is payable.

This is all part of applying for a Grant, and you need to ensure the figures provided are accurate.

You may need to work on the property before putting it on the market to ensure you get the best price. This could include giving the property clean and good airing. You could even buy some plants or flowers to brighten it up.

You’ll need to instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor to help you with the property sale. It would help if you informed them that it is a Probate sale, so they know the situation.

Once you have the Grant, you can exchange contracts, and after this, the buyer is legally obliged to buy and cannot pull out without incurring fees which means you have secured the sale.

Buying a Probate Sale Property

You should be aware from the outset that the property you’re buying is a Probate Sale. This may mean that the process will take longer or be more complex.

You can get as far as exchanging contracts, but it is often not recommended that you exchange contracts without seeing the Grant.

By exchanging contracts, you can be confident that the seller is committed to selling to you as they cannot pull out without incurring fees at this stage; however, you are similarly tied down to the transaction. 

Therefore, you should keep an eye on how long your mortgage offer is valid, as this could run out if time goes on.

Talk to your mortgage lender, as they will undoubtedly extend the offer for you if you explain the circumstances.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal and financial process in dealing with the property, money and assets of someone who has passed away. Before the ‘next of kin’ or executor named in the Will can claim, sell, distribute or transfer any of the assets, they will likely have to apply for Probate.

The Grant of Probate is an official legal document that executors of the Will, will be granted before they can take control of the assets. If there is no will, the official document will be called the Grant of Letters of Administration and granted to close family members.

This legal document acts as a confirmation of an individual’s legitimacy to take control of the Estate. 

This will allow this individual to sign contracts on behalf of the Estate, for example, the contract to sell a house.

When is Probate not required?

Whether or not you will need to apply for Probate depends on the financial position of the deceased person at the time of their death.

Probate may also not be required if the person who passed away was a joint landowner with yourself, you were on a property, or you jointly owned shares and money. In these situations, it is more than likely the assets will automatically pass onto you without the need for Probate. joint tenants

What is the probate process?

Before this article, you may never have heard of Probate before, and we have already thrown loads of information about it. To help you thoroughly understand what Probate is, we’re going to talk you through the process, helping you get to grips with each step along the way:

Step 1

Step 1 involves identifying all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities. Put simply, assets are all the ‘things’ the deceased owned before passing away, including property, money, shares, etc., and liabilities are all the debts that were owed, including loans, utility bills, etc.

Specialist wills and probate solicitors will do this.

Once you have established all their belongings, you can calculate the Estate’s value. This is important as if it is over a certain threshold, you will have to pay Inheritance Tax – more on that later.

On top of looking at assets and liabilities, a probate solicitor will also look at who is entitled to the assets by either looking at any Will left or referring to Intestacy Laws if there is no will.

Step 2

The next step is arranging the payment of Inheritance Tax if the value of assets is above the threshold. It’s important to note that even if you’re not required to pay Inheritance Tax, you will need to submit an Inheritance Tax return to avoid facing a penalty.

Your solicitor will also apply to the Probate Register for the Grant of Representation, which proves they have a legal responsibility to deal with the deceased’s Estate.

Step 3

Now, you wait.

And after waiting, you *should* be given the Grant of Representation, and you can now go on to sell the deceased assets if that’s what you wish to do. Of course, you can settle any liabilities if you have enough money to cover these.

Step 4

Nearly at the end now!

Your solicitor will draw up a statement of accounts that will list all payments in and out of the Estate. At this point, any money left will be listed to be split amongst the beneficiaries.

At this stage, the estate accounts will be sent to all executors for final approval.

Step 5

Before any assets can be distributed, there will be a final check that there haven’t been any challenges to the Estate. If there haven’t, all assets will be transferred and split amongst the beneficiaries.

How long does it take to sell a house through Probate?

There’s no definite answer regarding how long it takes to sell a house through Probate, but it suggests it can take between 12 to 14 weeks for Probate to be granted. That’s not including the length of time it will then take to sell the house on the market, which can be MONTHS, sometimes longer… this report.

According to, Probate can take six months to a year and then you have to try to sell the house, meaning you could be looking at well over a year from applying for Probate to completing the house sale. Help and Advice

‘Why does the process take so long?’ You may be able to answer that question after seeing what selling a house that needs Probate entails…

Selling a house that needs Probate

As an executor of the Will and having the Grant of Letters of Administration, it is your responsibility to manage the Estate correctly. Before being able to sell or distribute any assets, you may need to liquidate the assets or pay any Inheritance Tax which is due (we told you we’d come back to this!).

To know how much Inheritance Tax you need to pay, you must first be aware of the value of the property you wish to sell. Please contact at least three qualified estate agents so they can give you valuations on what they feel the property is worth.

We say The Revenue Office recommends three different estate agents as this. It’s also important to tell the estate agents the house is in a probate sale, so they can consider what buyers will expect when they give a valuation.

In most cases, the property’s value makes up most of the Estate’s total value. For example, if the value of the Estate is over £325,000, then you will have to pay Inheritance Tax before you’re able to gain access to the assets. Inheritance tax is charged at a rate of 40%.

You will only pay inheritance tax on the amount over the £325k threshold. 

However, it is essential to note that once you get Probate and sell the property, you will have to pay capital gains tax on the profit made.

You will not be able to exchange or complete a sale until you are given the Grant of Probate, which is why the ‘selling a house that needs probate’ process can take over a year.

Do not wait months on the open market after going through Probate.

What documents will I need for Probate?

These are some documents you will need to give your solicitor to work out the value of the Estate to apply for a Grant of Probate. You will be required to provide a death certificate for the deceased person and a list of outstanding debts. These may be found in the deceased’s files, or you or your solicitor will have to request them from various organisations. These include:

What to do if there is no will

If someone dies without leaving a will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. If this happens, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their Estate, which are things like property, personal belongings and money.

Who can deal with the deceased person’s Estate

Generally, a close relative like a child, spouse or parent will have the legal right to sort out the Estate of the person who has died. 

Applying for a Grant of Letters of Administration

To be able to administer someone’s Estate, you usually need to apply to the Probate Registry for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration. You can ask your solicitor to help you with applying for a grant, or you can make a personal application.

When you get the Grant, you become the ‘administrator’ of the Estate. The Grant provides proof to banks, building societies and other organisations that you have the authority to access and distribute funds that were held in the deceased’s name. The overall process is often called ‘obtaining probate’, though technically, this term applies where there was a will.

If Inheritance Tax is due on the Estate, some or all of this must be paid before a grant will be issued. You can find out more at the links below.

Find out more about Probate in Northern Ireland.

If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership

If the deceased had an estate worth £250,000 or less, then everything goes to the husband, wife or civil partner.

If the deceased had an estate worth over £250,000, then the husband, wife or civil partner won’t automatically get everything. They will receive:

personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes

£250,000 free of tax (£450,000 if there are no children) and the interest thereon

if one child, one-half share of any residue remaining, or if more than one child, one-third share of any residue remaining

The rest of the Estate will be shared by the following:

children (or, if none, grandchildren) will get an equal share

if there are no children or grandchildren, surviving parents will get a share

if there are no children, grandchildren or surviving parents, any brothers and sisters will get a share (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)

if the deceased has none of the above, the husband, wife, or registered civil partner will get everything

Can I market a house before Probate is granted?

We often ask, Can I market a house before Probate is granted? Below we answer this question, amongst others familiar when dealing with a probate property sale.

How Long Does Selling a Probate Property Take?

Selling a probate property can take much longer than a regular sale. According to this report, granting Probate can take around 12-14 weeks. Then the sales and conveyancing process can take several months, as with an average house sale.

The UK Care Guide suggests allowing 6-12 months with an average of nine months for Probate to complete, with the most complex cases sometimes taking several years.

Inheritance tax, at a rate of 40%, must be paid on estates of more than £500,000 if left to the deceased person’s children or grandchildren.

According to this report, granting Probate can take around 12-14 weeks.

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