Can you sell a house before getting probate?

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always a difficult time. On top of dealing with the feelings of loss and grief you’re experiencing, you may also be responsible for administering the deceased’s estate, either as the executor of their Will or the most entitled inheritor if they died without leaving a Will.

If there isn’t a surviving joint owner – typically their spouse – then one of the most significant actions you’ll need to take is dealing with the deceased’s house and any other property they owned. This is on top of dealing with their final bills, clearing any debts, and organising the funeral.

To deal with an estate, you’ll often need to get a grant of probate. Yet, it’s possible to take care of several elements of an estate with just the death certificate rather than the grant of probate.

Is selling the deceased’s house one of them?

What is probate?

Legally speaking, probate is the entire process of dealing with the deceased’s estate. However, it’s often used to describe getting the grant of probate itself.

You can learn more about probate from our guides below:

Can you sell a house before getting probate?

First up, remember that if there’s a surviving joint owner that full ownership of the property will automatically pass to them.

So, for example, if your husband or wife has sadly died, and you jointly owned your home, you wouldn’t need probate to sell the house if you decided you no longer wanted to live there.

However, you might be asking this question if you’re dealing with the estate of your last surviving parent, parents who had separated and not re-married, or other relatives.

Do you need probate to sell their house?

The answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean you’re not able to do anything.

Legally, you cannot exchange and complete the sale of the property before you have a grant of probate. However, you can put the house up for sale, conduct viewings, and even agree to an offer without having the grant of probate. That said, depending on how you plan to sell the house, some estate agents may not be willing to advertise the property until you have a grant of probate. In contrast, others may be happy to do so, providing you can show evidence that you’ve applied for probate.

Are there any problems with selling a property that has been subject to probate?

Selling a house that forms part of a person’s estate doesn’t necessarily have to come with any added complexities on top of those usually associated with selling a property.

Depending on the property’s value and who has inherited the property – or will benefit from selling it – there may be Inheritance Tax to pay before you can get a grant of probate. If the deceased didn’t have much cash or their wealth was tied up in their property, you may need to cover an Inheritance Tax bill yourself before claiming it back from the estate once the property is sold.

Do I need to transfer ownership to my name before selling the property?

No. If you have the grant of probate that confirms you have the right to deal with the estate, you should be able to sell the property without any issues. However, you will need to provide the new owners with an original version of the grant of probate or letters of administration along with the property deeds when you complete the sale.

Need help with probate? Contact LawPlus Solicitors

Contact us here to get started with your probate application and for help in dealing with a loved one’s estate.

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