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10th December 2021

What is Probate Property?

Probate refers to the legal right to manage a deceased individual’s estate after they have died. This generally includes all of their assets such as their home, wealth and investments and any other possessions. Probate property, therefore, refers to the management of the sale of the deceased individual’s home. Before this can occur there are several legal processes that need to follow.

Unfortunately, the complexity of the legal procedure can add to the stress of the situation. Within this article, discover a simple guide for the sale and purchase of probate property. We’ll cover the legal processes, documents and terminology to offer a hassle-free experience.


Applying for Probate

After a loved one has passed away, you may consider applying for a ‘Grant of Probate’ in order to manage their assets. However, there are certain restrictions on who can access this responsibility. Certain conditions determine who can access probate and what occurs to the money and possessions that have been left in their responsibility

  • Joint Ownership

A surviving partner does not need to file for probate if the property or assets were held in common with another person. The entire ownership of any jointly owned property or assets are transferred to them.

  • The Executor of The Will

Whether or not there is a Will can restrict whether probate can be applied for. If there is a Will, the named executor of the Will has the responsibility. Before they pass away, the individual will generally leave instructions for each of their assets. This frequently concerns who gets the house and how their money and belongings are distributed. The executor is responsible for ensuring that the beneficiaries gain access to the pre-defined assets.

Alternatively, if there is no Will, the closest living relative can apply for probate. There is a process of intestacy that determines the closest living relative to inherit the estate. Living partners, if unmarried, do not have legal access to assets unless they are co-owned.


Selling a Probate Property

After determining who will be responsible for the assets of the deceased individual, a Grant of Probate will need to be acquired. This document gives the responsible party the legal right to sell the property. It is a good idea to get this document before attempting to sell the property. Not having the right documents is generally the most common delay during conveyancing for probate properties.

Once the Grant of Probate has been obtained, the sale process can begin. However, it is not uncommon for these types of property sales to be complex. Before beginning the process you should be aware that the conveyancing process for probate properties can be considerably longer than typical sales. You should expect a wait time between six to twelve weeks if you are dealing with a complex probate property.

Despite this longer sale period, you should ensure there is enough time to sort out the rest of the property. Don’t let time run out because you’re selling the house before dealing with other items within the property. It might take several days to sell or dispose of furniture, gather essential papers, and clear out the rest of the home.


Buying a Probate Property

If you’ve spotted a probate property on the market, you could find yourself a bargain. These properties are typically sold at a marked-down price as executors won’t often hassle for full market price. They do come with more of a challenge, however. As the property is sold by an executor, rather than the homeowner, you’ll likely have to do more research into the property to ensure there are no hidden surprises.

Executors often won’t have a great insight into the property and won’t have all the supplementary documents. This information would typically inform you of the conditions of certain installations, like the boiler and electrical supply. Instructing a certified surveyor to inspect the property is a wise move for properties such as these. They can give a comprehensive insight into the quality and condition of a property. Any repair defects or structural issues will also be highlighted.

Generally speaking, the purchase process should be fairly similar to any other property. Whilst conveyancing may take longer, the process won’t change for you as the buyer. However, you should become aware of any responsibilities that purchasing the house could reveal. Your conveyancing solicitor will be able to make you aware of these during the purchase process.


Final Thoughts

The sale of probate property is challenging for the loved ones of the deceased individual. It is important during this period to surround yourself with compassionate professionals who will work to complete the sale of the property seamlessly. By locating and providing the necessary documents, you can ensure a quick and easy sale.

Alternatively, the purchase of a probate property should follow a fairly simple process. The key factor to consider is the lack of information that you will have access to in regards to the property and its history. You should be sure to investigate thoroughly before committing to a significant investment.

For buyers and sellers of probate property, the key thing that can simplify the process is working alongside experienced and proficient conveyancing solicitors. Working alongside a compassionate team to complete the transaction will reduce the hassle and stress associated with buying or selling a probate house.