Stop wasting time: everything you need to know about probate property
Probate, it’s one of those things most people know nothing about until a crucial time, when they are dealing with the estate of someone they loved, who has recently died.
What is probate?
Probate relates to the process by which a will is proven to be valid, and the estate is administered according to the legal process – resolving all debts, claims and dividing the remaining estate amongst the beneficiaries.
Probate is the responsibility of the executors named in a will, usually, close friends or family, though sometimes there are professional executors named, who receive a few for their work. Lay executors, undertaking probate responsibilities may see to all the work themselves or appoint a probate solicitor to complete the work on their behalf.
Grant of probate
If you are the executor of a will, you will need to apply for a grant of probate, by sending the original will to the probate office, this process establishes the validity of the will. Before doing this, you first need to establish what assets (or debts) the deceased had, including bank and building society accounts, investments, property and personal effects. Each of these institutions will need a death certificate and should also be asked for a final statement. Most assets will remain frozen until probate has been granted, though funeral expenses should be paid before.
In many cases, an estate will include a property, the value of which will need to be established. A written valuation from an estate agent or surveyor is the most straightforward and robust way of dealing with this, especially if you are communicating with the HMRC and may have to pay inheritance tax. Currently, the inheritance tax threshold for an estate is £325,000. You could try to establish the value of a property yourself, by looking at other similar properties in the area; if you are going to do this, consumer champion Which? has some handy advice to guide you through the process.
Selling a probate property
Dealing with a probate property can be complicated, especially if you trying to oversee it from some distance away and feeling in an emotionally overwrought state. Selling a probate property can be difficult, in part because of the legal process that must be given due care and attention. However, a second issue can be that probate properties are not always in the best state of repair and in many cases will have been empty for some time. Be assured; there are ways to make the process easier, without the need to undertake a host of DIY jobs or even to complete a house clearance.
If you have a probate property that you want to sell, then choosing a purchaser that specialises in such properties might be your best option. You’ll be offered a discreet and timely service, from a team that understands the stress of dealing with an estate. By purchasing properties direct from executors and beneficiaries, they can also save you money by cutting out the ‘middlemen’. You won’t have to go through the rigmarole of dealing with estate agents, keeping the house looking spotless or supervising the viewings of potential purchasers. What’s more, you’ll also be offered a guaranteed cash sum, what could be easier?
So there you have an overview of the probate process and probate properties in particular and some additional resources where you can find out further information.