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What Is Probate Property?

Written by, Marija Petkova

Updated May, 2, 2022

If you’re named in someone else’s will as an executioner, chances are, you might have to apply for probate. 

But what is a probate property, how does it work, how much does it cost, and can you sell or live in a house that’s under probate?

Let’s find out.

What is a Probate Property?

Probate is a legal process that deals with the assets of a deceased person. It confirms that a will is valid and determines who has the authority to administer the deceased person’s estate.

When legal representatives talk about probate property, they usually refer to the entire estate, rather than just the property portion of it. 

Who can apply for probate?

The task of administering the estate falls on the person that has been named as executor in the will. This could be a family member, a friend, or a professional organisation, such as a firm of solicitors. 

If the named executor doesn’t want to administer the estate, they can renounce their role. They can also choose to have ‘power reserved’ to them if there is another person that can act as executor on their behalf. 

When someone dies without a will, their closest living relative, usually the next of kin, can apply for probate.

What is a Grant of Probate?

The Grant of Probate is a legal binding document that proves the validity of the will and confirms the Executor’s authority to deal with the deceased person’s estate

The Grant of Probe allows the executor to distribute the assets by the incrustations of the will. This document remains a permanent record of evidence on the probate registry.

How much does probate cost?

The costs and fees of probate property in the UK vary depending on the person that’s carrying out the work. Solicitors usually charge by the hour or at a fixed rate.

There’s also a fee of £273 for applying for probate if the estate’s value is over £5,000.

What happens once the probate property changes owners?

Once the house in probate is transferred to beneficiaries, they’ll become the official owner (s). What they decide to do with the property is entirely up to them. 

They can put the probate property for sale, rent it out, live in it, or keep it empty for the moment.

Can You Empty a House Before Probate?

If the property’s value falls below the inheritance tax threshold, which is £325,000 in the UK, it’s possible to clear the property of possessions before probate. 

However, it’s best to seek legal advice before initiating a house clearance to avoid any potential disagreements.

To avoid any legal issues that may arise, the best option is to get a valuation of the possessions, including furniture, antiques, and other items of potential financial value.

When is probate required?

Probate is required when the person who has died owns significant assets and property in their sole name. If a bank or another financial institution asks for a Grant Probe or a Letter of Administration (also called ‘Grant of Representation’) then there’s likely a need for probate

An application for probate may not be required if the deceased person was a joint landowner, or jointly owned property, shares, or money. The assets may automatically pass to the other owner. 

There’s also no need to apply for probate if the person only had savings in their name.

Can You Live in a House During Probate?

If you already live in the house at the time when the decedent has died, you may continue to live in it until the probate ends. However, if the house is a property of the estate and you want to move after the probate starts, then you need to secure permission from the executor/administrator of the estate to move into it.

Selling a house in probate

You can potentially put a house on the market before acquiring a Grant of Probate, but you’ll need to have all beneficiaries on your side. Even if they all agree to put the property on the market, you won’t be able to sell the probate property until probate has been granted. 

How long does it take to sell a house in probate?

Once you are granted permission to sell the house, the selling process is similar to the sale of any property. 

Before settling on a price, it’s best to seek advice from an estate agent. They will help you identify all the valuables in the property and pick out a good price.

How to sell a house without hassle?

If you’re searching for a quick and trouble-free probate house sale process, then you have a couple of good options to choose from. You can sell the property through an auction house or via a home buying company that specialises in buying probate property.

Another option is to sell the house to an iBuyer. This can help you skip the preparation procedures, upgrades, and repairs that might need to be done on the property. 

Buying a house in probate

If you’re buying a probate house from an estate agency, then it’s likely that you will be dealing with an executor rather than someone who has once lived on the property. 

Since executors only have limited knowledge of property, compared to a person who has lived in it, you may want to do some research and additional checkups to determine if it’s the right choice for you before making an offer on a probate property in the UK.

You could also get a building survey done before buying the property, which will give you access to details like the home’s central heating and electrical systems.

Bottom Line

Probate is a complex process that involves a lot of tax, legal, and financial work. If you’re a part of the process, it’s essential to know the proper legal procedure to avoid any legal issues that might come your way. Understanding probate will also help you figure out how you can opt out of it and what you can do if you’re considering selling or buying a probate property in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

What happens when a house goes through probate?

When a house goes through probate, the executor or the closest relative of the deceased is in charge of administering the estate. This involves organising assets, possessions, and money and distributing them as an inheritance, as well as paying debts and taxes. 

How long does probate take when buying a house?

The Grant of Probate is generally issued within 4 weeks of application. The probate process can take up to 6 months or longer to be completed, depending on various circumstances and the complexity of the probate estate. 

Do you need probate to sell a house?

If you sell a house without probate when you don’t have the authority to do so, you could face legal consequences and even a criminal charge. That’s why it’s important to under what is probate property and your rights concerning it. 

My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.