When a person dies, if they owned property in their sole name this will need to be transferred to a beneficiary or sold as part of Probate. Here are some things to consider if the home needs to be sold.
Applying for a Grant of Probate
Probate is the legal process for dealing with the distribution of a person’s estate after they have died. To start the Probate process, a Grant of Representation is required. The sale of the property cannot be completed until the Grant of Probate has been issued.
Getting the property valued
It is essential to obtain a proper valuation of the property; backdated to the date of death. To ensure an accurate figure, it is a good idea to get more than one valuation.
Get the contents valued
As well as the value of the property you should also consider its contents. This will need to be valued as part of the deceased’s Estate. You should also locate and secure any valuable items in the house (e.g. jewellery, share certificates etc.).
Protecting the property
One of the first things you should do is make sure that the home is secure. Particularly if it is empty. Check that it is safely locked up, and switch off the appliances and water. You should also remove valuable items that might be at risk of theft.
Make sure the home is insured
Under some insurance policies, a home is not insured if it is left sitting empty for a certain period. Likewise, the death of the policyholder could terminate the policy. Contact the home insurance provider to inform them of the situation and find out what you should do next.
Locate the Deeds
If the property was owned for several decades, the Title might not have been registered at HM Land Registry. In such situations, you’ll need the Deeds to prove ownership.
Let the relevant organisations know
As well as the insurance provider, you should also contact anyone else involved in the property. For example, the local council and utility providers.
Instruct an estate agent and conveyancing solicitor
You can put the home on the market while you’re awaiting the Grant of Probate. But be aware that it can take 3-6 months for a Grant of Probate to be issued (even longer in more complex estates).
Prepare the home for viewings
It is always a good idea to give a home a thorough appraisal before letting viewers in. Where appropriate, consider what needs tidying, fixing etc. to showcase the property at its best.
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To speak with one of our specialist Wills & Probate Lawyers, please call us now on 0117 952 0698 or Make A Free Will Enquiry and we will discuss your current circumstances with you and explain all available options available to you.