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Buying and selling probate properties : every question answer

Buying and selling probate properties opens up many questions that we shall answer.

What Is Probate?

Probate is where a person is permitted by a court to manage the estate of somebody who has died.

Probate is a legal condition that entitles a person to collect assets, pay debts, and divide assets between the benefactors of the deceased person’s will.

What Happens When A Property Owner Dies?

Before their death, the owner of a property will usually specify a person who will manage their estate once they have gone.

Some owners die unexpectedly and don’t say who will be the executor of their will. In these situations, it falls to their next-of-kin: close family members.

It’s then the job of family members to get Probate from the court and begin the process of carrying out the will.

If there is no will, then the assets are divided up according to the law among the next-of-kin.

Often, there’s no need to sell an inherited property immediately on the death of the property owner.

Next-of-kin or the benefactors in the will can take their time and decide what to do over the following weeks and months.

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What Is The Cost Of Selling A Probate Property?

The cost of selling a probate property shouldn’t be any higher than selling a regular property.

However, there may be costs associated with getting a probate property into a saleable condition, such as house clearance fees.

Inheritors of probate property may also have to pay vacant property insurance if a property remains unoccupied for more than 30 days.

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What If The Sale Price Differs From The Valuation?

The sale price is usually similar to the valuation of the probate property on the death of the owner.

However, sometimes the sale price can go up between the estimate and the sale.

If the sale price appears higher on the inheritor’s tax return, then they could be charged capital gains tax.

However, capital gains tax will not apply if three independent valuations have been carried out or if you make improvements to the property.

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Can An Inherited Property Be Sold Prior To Probate Being Granted?

If your name is on the deed – for instance, if you are a spouse of the deceased partner – then you can sell a house before Probate is granted.

However, in all other cases, you cannot.

To sell the house, you need to apply for a Grant of Probate.

You can, however, begin advertising the property for sale beforehand.

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How Long Is The Wait For The Grant of Probate?

The wait for a Grant of Probate depends on the circumstances of the inheritance.

If there’s no inheritance tax to pay, obtaining a Grant of Probate takes around six weeks.

Where tax is due, the Grant of Probate may take twelve weeks.

In urgent cases, courts may deliver a Grant of Probate in as little as two weeks.

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What Documents Are Required For Probate?

Usually, a solicitor will require that you give them the following documents to apply for Probate.

  • The deceased person’s National Insurance Number
  • Property deeds
  • Bank statements
  • The will
  • The death certificate
  • Mortgage information
  • The solicitor will then use these documents to complete the probate application process.

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How Can I Obtain A Copy Of The Will?

You are not allowed to see a will unless you are an executor of the estate and have a Grant of Probate.

If you have both, then you may obtain a copy of the will. You can look through the deceased person’s files or folders to find the will.

You can also apply to the dead person’s bank to see if they hold a copy.

The solicitor who oversaw the writing of the will may also have a copy.

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What Mistakes Are Typically Made By A Novice When Handling Probate?

People who are new to the somewhat complicated process of handling Probate can often make mistakes.

The following are common things that they get wrong:

Failing to keep records.

Probate is a complicated process involving courts, creditors and beneficiaries.

If you have been given Probate, then it’s essential to keep records of transactions, and what you’ve done, just in case any of these stakeholders want to find out more information or know where they stand legally.

Paying out money before paying inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax on an estate can be substantial.

Many novices start distributing money to the parties specified in the will before deducting inheritance tax from the total value of the estate.

When they receive the inheritance tax bill, they then have to go around collecting payment from each person and may have to foot the entire tax bill themselves.

Failing to execute the will precisely.

Novices may be too trusting of relatives and friends of the deceased.

Friends/family may claim that they are entitled to certain items, even when they’re not specified in the will.

Misunderstanding the will.

Novices may not accurately interpret the will and not understand which assets should go to whom.

Executors who aren’t sure about who should get what should seek professional advice.

Can You Provide A Property Valuation for Probate?

It is recommended that people get at least three independent property valuations to determine how much inheritance tax is payable.

If you come and speak with us, we can offer a property valuation to determine how much the inherited property is likely to sell for.

How Can I Protect The Property Before It Is Sold?

Property-buying companies, like BPC, can buy a property in as little as 48 hours.

However, they can only buy it once you have the Grant of Probate. Before the Grant of Probate, the property cannot be sold to anyone, including a property-buying company.

It can take up to twelve weeks for the court to issue a Grant of Probate which presents issues for inheritors.

For instance, insurers may no longer cover a property on the death of the owner.

To protect the building and contents for those twelve weeks, you may need to take out additional insurance.

If you require a property valuation on inherited property, get in touch with BPC today.

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