Selling a property you have inherited

To sell an inherited property can be a very difficult thing, only made harder by the fact that it is happening in the wake of losing a loved one. There are many boxes to tick and formalities that can make the process quite stressful and tricky, but with the right guidance, you can reduce the weight of the task and sell the property in your time. At Probate Purchasers, we understand that this can be a challenging and trying time, so we have put together this guide to ease any worries you may have.

Probate sale of property

Your relationship to the property needs to be established, as you will still need to apply for probate before you can legally sell it, even if you were mentioned in the will as the one who will inherit it. Probate is the right to deal with someone's estate after they have passed away, so if you are the only executor or person that is handling the estate, you can apply for a grant of probate from the probate registry.

However, you will not need a probate if you already own a joint share of the property, have a joint bank or building society account with the owner, or if the sum of money left in the account was very small.

If no will was left, a relative or close friend can apply to the probate registry. However, in this case, they will apply for what’s known as ‘grant of letters of administration’. If this is granted, they will be known as ‘administrators’ and have the same authority as executors.

Applying for probate

You can apply for a probate by yourself or, if you prefer, through a solicitor. But before you send off any of the paperwork, there are a few things you’ll need to check.

Firstly, you'll need to go through the paperwork and establish the assets and liabilities left by the deceased. Be sure to go through the property, bank accounts and building society accounts. Some may be more complex and will include investments and personal effects. You will also be required to send a death certificate to anyone that you want a final statement from.

Once you've thoroughly checked the paperwork, you can complete a probate application form and an inheritance tax form, which you can send off, along with a death certificate, the original will, three copies of the will with any amendments, and the application fee. The probate office will send you an oath, and for this, you will need to go to either a commissioner for oaths or a local probate office.

What if you’re paying inheritance tax?

If you want to sell and you’re paying inheritance tax, you will need to apply for probate as above. You can put the house on the market before you have probate, but a sale won’t be able to go through until the probate process is finalised. However, if you'd rather keep the property but are worried about the costs of tax, you can choose to pay it in instalments, which are usually once a year for ten years.

This also works in a similar way if you’re the executor and planning on selling so you can split the fee amongst the beneficiaries. Just take into account that inheritance tax will need to be subtracted from the total of the house sale before it is split.

What about utilities?

There are a number of potential payments that may need sorting out when trying to sell your inherited property. These might include final bills for utility providers like gas, electricity and water, and bills or potential court action of unpaid council tax. As the house is empty, you will also need to buy empty house insurance.

You will need to make sure that all of these payments are up to date and settled before selling, and notify the companies that provide the bills of the owners passing.

Capital gains and inheritance tax

If a person's estate is worth more than £325,000, you will need to pay inheritance tax. You will need to pay this if you are the executor or the administrator of the will, and you can use funds from the estate to pay this. There will be a maximum of six months after the person has passed away to pay the tax. The rate is 40% on anything above the threshold, and it can be reduced to 36% if 10% or more of the estate is donated to charity.

Capital Gains tax is the tax on the profit you make from the sale of the assets you have acquired, but you won't have to pay any unless the property is sold during probate and the value has risen since the person passed away.

Who will sell the property?

There are several options when it comes to selling the property you have inherited, and many people opt to go through an estate agent or an online estate agent, as they believe that they can sell your home for the best price and save you a lot of money. Other people choose to sell the property through a ‘fast house sale' company, and this may be because the house is in bad condition or the situation is particularly sensitive.

At Probate Purchasers, we are here to guide you through the property buying process, whether you're unable to deal with the financial commitments of maintaining a property or you're just looking for a quick sale.

We are very experienced in buying inherited homes all around the UK quickly, ethically and discreetly by purchasing directly through executor and beneficiaries, cutting out the middlemen and saving you money.

We aim to take the hard work, and the pressure, out of dealing with a deceased loved one's estate, and our specialist probate team are aware that every situation is unique, so they will work with you in a sensitive and transparent manner to get you through the process. Get in touch today to start the process.

Tim Jackson