Can I Sell An Inherited Property?
Posted on 5th June 2020
If your loved one has died leaving you their property in their Will, or under the rules of intestacy, you may be wondering whether you can sell it, and how. Selling a house can generally be achieved quickly; via auction, using an estate agent, or through a property buying agency. There is no right way for the property to be sold. It will depend on your individual needs, such as any financial requirements or required time scales.
What is an inherited property?
An inherited property is a property left under a person’s Will, which the executor of their estate has the rights over. They will be responsible for dealing with the property and its sale or transfer. Alternatively, a property can be inherited under the rules of intestacy (which you can read about in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston’s blog, here). In cases of intestacy, the administrator of the estate will be entitled to deal with the deceased’s property (after Probate has been obtained).
Can I sell an inherited property?
If you are the executor or the administrator of a deceased person’s estate, you would usually be entitled to sell the property. Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston have explained the difference between these two roles in our blog, here. However, in order to have this legal entitlement, normally a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration would be required. Our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster have explained what Probate is in our blog, which you can read, here.
Generally, the only exception to the rule about the requirement for Probate is when the person dealing with the estate is a joint owner of the property (so the property would need to be held as joint tenants, not tenants in common). Joint owners can generally deal with property without the need to obtain Probate.
Are there limits on selling inherited property?
There are no limits on how an inherited property can be sold; as discussed briefly above, you may decide to sell the property on the open market (using a local estate agents), you may agree a private sale with someone you know or through private advertisement, auctioning the property may be the best option, or you may decide to contact a private property buying company to see what offer they would make you.
It's up to the executor or the administrator to decide which is the best option for the property, based on the current climate and what is best for the beneficiaries of the estate.
What price is a fair price for the property?
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Preston are not experts at valuing property; we’re just experts in dealing with the legal process of obtaining Probate and selling the property on behalf of the estate.
In general, before Probate is obtained, any property should be valued by at least one estate agent. When instructing our Probate Solicitors in Lancaster or Preston to deal with an estate, we will usually recommend obtaining three free property valuations so that an average property value can be included on the Probate application. The Executors and Administrators of an Estate have a duty to ensure an accurate valuation of a property is provided on the inheritance tax forms (which need to be completed with every application for Probate, regardless of whether tax will be payable).
Once you have received the valuations, you don’t need to necessarily choose the highest or the lowest one. As the person legally entitled to deal with an estate, you can choose not to proceed with any of the valuations, or set what you believe to be a fair price yourself. However, our Probate Solicitors in Preston would explain that whatever price you choose, it should always be in the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries due to receive the proceeds of sale or the residuary estate.
Does the property have to be sold?
No. If there are two or more beneficiaries of the estate, and they would prefer for the property to be transferred to one of them (with an equivalent part of the estate being paid to the other) or to be transferred into joint names, this can also be done. If there is only one beneficiary, the house could be transferred to them outright, if this is what they want, and if it’s possible for the estate.
Will Probate be required if the property is not being sold?
Yes, in most cases, even if the property is being transferred and not sold, Probate will still be required in order to take effect to the transfer.
How can I obtain Probate?
Contact our Probate Solicitors in Preston who can deal with the application for Probate on your behalf. Our team offer excellent fixed fees and have over 15 years’ experience in dealing with Probate applications on behalf of the loved ones of a person who has passed away.
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