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Whether relocating to a new neighbourhood or wanting to downsize your lifestyle, selling a home can offer many benefits for homeowners. Putting your property on the market lets you gain extra cash outside your day job. It also allows people to start a new life chapter immediately and gain freedom.

Although this endeavour may be exciting for many people, it can also be emotional and distressing for others, mainly if they sell the property after a loved one dies. This time can be highly emotional for the family members that the deceased left behind to deal with the home. It may also be stressful, as they should navigate the legal and financial complexities of selling a house.

While feeling lost may be understandable, gracefully handling things is necessary to remove one thing from your to-do list. Therefore, you must work with a reputable probate and estate administration solicitor. These hardworking legal experts will help with all aspects of winding up an estate and make the process as easy as possible.

This article will define probate, how to get one to sell a house, and how it affects a house sale. We'll also discuss the timeframe for probate property sale and estate administration.

What Is a Probate?

Probate means how people manage a deceased person's estate, which includes obtaining legal permission to handle their affairs. Officials will grant this consent through the Grant of Letters of Administration or Grant of Probate, depending on whether the dead individual left a Will.

However, if the deceased party didn't leave a Will, the administrator, the person handling the estate, is typically entitled to inherit under the Rules of Intestacy. They also need a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration if the estate includes a property.

What Are the Advantages of Getting Probate to Sell a House?

Obtaining probate is crucial when you sell a house that belonged to a deceased individual. It gives the property's executor the legal authority to manage and sell the asset, making the process much easier and less stressful. It also promotes accountability and transparency in the sale of the property, which can help build trust between all parties and ensure a smoother transaction.

Moreover, probate can reduce the risk of legal disputes by providing proof of its legitimacy. It also legally protects the executor's decisions and shields them from any legal liability or challenges from beneficiaries or other parties.

Can I Hire a Solicitor to Help Get a Probate?

Although probate can help you manage the deceased person's assets and promote transparency, getting it alone can be time-consuming and confusing, mainly if you don't know much about the legal process. Working with a reputable solicitor can help you get advice on legal issues, navigate the complexities, and prepare for the application.

4 Steps to Get Probate to Sell a House

After defining probate, this section will explain how an administrator can get probate to sell the property.

1. Value the Estate

When applying for a grant, you must determine the value of everything the deceased person owned and owed. Assets are all their valuable possessions like property, cars, money, and household items. On the other hand, liabilities include debts like mortgages, credit card balances, and taxes owed. You can get the estate's net value by deducting the total liabilities from the assets.

2. Calculate the Inheritance Tax

Whether or not the person should pay the Inheritance Tax (IHT) depends on the deceased person's estate. The IHT is a tax that government officials impose on the deceased individual's assets and money. Although the rate is usually 40%, it's only charged on the portion of the estate that exceeds the tax-free threshold of £325,000.

You should also know that any cash gifts the deceased individual made in the seven years leading up to their passing may also be subject to tax on a sliding scale. Moreover, calculating IHT can be complicated, but a professional solicitor can help ensure you pay the correct amount and use all possible allowances.

3. Pay the Inheritance Tax

Before applying for a grant, you must pay the Inheritance Tax by filling out forms and submitting them to HM Revenue & Customs along with the required payment. However, if you don't have enough money to cover the tax, your solicitors can guide you on paying it elsewhere. These include the deceased's bank, building society, or National Savings & Investment (NS&I) account.

4. Obtain a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration

After two weeks of submitting tax forms and payment, you can apply to the Probate Registry for probate or Letters of Administration grant. The application should contain the original Will (if available), codicils, the application form, and the fee.

However, you must be extra patient, as the Registry may take several months to process the application. The office may also take longer if they receive queries or experience delays from HM Revenue & Customs.

How Does a Probate Affect a House Sale?

You cannot sell a deceased person's house until you have the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. Due to the unpredictability and lengthy process of obtaining these documents from the Probate Registry, it's not advisable to advertise the property for sale before receiving them. You should also remember that delays in the Registry have been common in recent months.

However, the stress doesn't stop after the officials give you a grant. Remember that there's a 10-month window where someone can claim the estate. It could happen because a close family member of the deceased feels they should receive more than what was in the Will or intestacy rules. It also occurs because they believe what the dead had given them is inadequate to support them.

This situation also implies that you shouldn't distribute the estate until you eliminate the possibility of a claim, even if you've sold the property within the specified time. In certain instances, making partial payments to the beneficiaries may be feasible, and your solicitors can offer guidance on this if you need it.

What Is the Timeframe for Probate Property Sale and Estate Administration?

When an estate's affairs conclude depends on other institutions' timely responses to correspondence and requests. Although your solicitors try to move things along quickly, remember that dealing with the Probate Registry typically takes a long time.

Once they receive the grant, they must distribute it to all the organisations where the deceased had assets. This step means shutting down their accounts and collecting any policies. However, it's not an easy process; it may take a few months.

Once you find a buyer, the conveyancing process can happen simultaneously, usually taking a few months to complete. When everyone gathers the assets and pays off the debts, your solicitor will create thorough estate accounts determining the amount owed to the beneficiaries.


Selling a home can be stressful for families with deceased loved ones, and nobody wants to deal with the complexities of getting probate as it can affect the house sale. You can help everyone navigate through this challenging time by working with a reputable property solicitor.

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