Dealing with probate properties can be a daunting task, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the process. If you’ve been left a property in someone’s will and are eventually looking to sell it, here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get to grips with what’s involved with probate properties.
What does probate mean?
Probate is the name of the legal process that you need to go through if you inherit property from someone who has died (unless you are a spouse or civil partner). The house, along with all the assets of the deceased person, have to be valued in order to validate their will.
At the end of the process, a Grant of Probate will be issued and, at that point, you’re able to sell the property if you wish. The process helps to establish the legal chain of ownership of the property and until the grant is formerly issued, the property has to remain in limbo.
How long does probate take?
There’s no set time for how long the probate process can take, but it depends in part on the complexity of the estate and the level of the assets. Sometimes it can be slow, so a property might remain in limbo for a while before anything concrete happens.
In general, if the estate is non-taxable and there’s no Inheritance Tax to pay, it can take an average of about six weeks to complete. Where Inheritance Tax does need to be paid, the process can take longer and it could take 12 weeks or longer for the Grant of Probate to be issued.
Are there any issues involved in selling probate properties?
Once you’ve been granted probate, you can go ahead and embark on selling the property if you wish. You do need to remember that you’ll be liable to pay the same legal costs that you would for any property sale, plus you might need to pay additional costs if, for example, you need to pay to have the house professionally cleared.
If you’ve inherited the property from an elderly person who hasn’t managed to keep up with upkeep on the property and it’s not in the best state, then you may wonder whether it’s best to do it up before it’s sold or sell it as it is.
There’s no easy answer and it depends in part on how much work needs doing and your financial situation. If a large renovation project would be involved for you to bring it up to standard and it’s going to cost a lot, it can make more sense to sell it as it is and let the buyer complete the project to their own tastes.
Not renovating a probate property first shouldn’t affect the sale. You’ll of course get a lower price for it, but it can free you up from the financial responsibility of property ownership. Depending how the property is marketed, you could even achieve a quick sale.
If you’ve inherited a property within the London and M25 area and are looking for advice on selling it, call us today on 0800 634 5892.