Selling A House

Selling a House During Probate

Selling a house you have inherited following the death of a loved one is both an emotional task and a challenging process. Probate is the legal process of validating a will, and, when selling a house during probate understanding exactly what’s involved, such as probate sales, executors, beneficiaries, and inheritance tax, makes the process a […]

Selling a house you have inherited following the death of a loved one is both an emotional task and a challenging process. Probate is the legal process of validating a will, and, when selling a house during probate understanding exactly what’s involved, such as probate sales, executors, beneficiaries, and inheritance tax, makes the process a lot more straightforward.

Do you have to sell a house after someone dies

While it’s not mandatory, selling a house after someone dies is often a practical decision. Factors like maintenance costs, inheritance issues, and the wishes of beneficiaries may influence this choice. Alternatively, the beneficiaries in the will can transfer the home into their names and onto the deed. The property can still be sold at a later date.

What is a Probate Sale?

A probate sale involves selling a property from the estate of a person who has died, with a view to distributing assets among beneficiaries. The process ensures a legal and transparent transfer of ownership and the executor of the will is responsible for organising the sale of the property and paying off any debts and tax from the proceeds. Probate can take up to 12 weeks, or longer if any issues arise.

Is it easy to sell a house through Probate?

Selling a house through probate can be complex due to legal requirements. Executors must follow specific procedures, obtain court approval, and address potential challenges, making the process more intricate than a standard sale. A solicitor can help you apply for probate by making the process easier and making sure you do not submit any wrong information.

Can I sell a house without probate being granted?

Selling a house without probate being granted is challenging as a sale of the property of a deceased person cannot be completed without a probate document. Probate is necessary to establish legal authority over the deceased’s estate and facilitate a lawful property sale, but you can put the property on the market during the process.

What is an executor?

An executor is an individual appointed in the deceased’s will to manage their estate. They play a crucial role in executing the deceased’s wishes, including selling property during probate. If you are an executor, you will be responsible for organising the sale of the property, paying off any debts, ensuring any inheritance tax is paid and distributing the assets listed in the will. The executor is required to start to organise the distribution of the estate within 12 months. This is called the ‘Executor’s Year’.

How long does an executor have to sell a probate property?

The timeline for selling a probate property varies., but it can take 12 weeks or more to be granted probate, depending on the complexity of the case. Executors should act diligently and should always consider factors like property maintenance, market conditions, and the complexities of probate procedures when considering timelines.

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is an individual entitled to inherit assets, including property, from the deceased person’s estate. In probate sales, beneficiaries’ interests must be considered during the property sale.

Do all beneficiaries need to agree before a house is sold through probate

It is always better if beneficiaries agree on the sale of a house through probate, not all beneficiaries need to agree for a house to be sold through probate and the executor can, in fact, sell the property without consensus. The beneficiaries will be notified of any decisions made by the executor and can be challenged if they think the executor is not acting fairly. For example, the executor has the responsibility to achieve market value for the property so if they are not doing that, the beneficiaries can challenge the sale. Court approval and adherence to legal procedures are paramount during this process.

What is inheritance tax

Inheritance tax is a tax levied on the estate of a deceased person. It applies to the value of assets, including property, passed on to beneficiaries. In the case of a probate sale, it is the responsibility of the executors to ensure inheritance tax is paid accordingly.  Inheritance tax is due to be paid within 6 months of the estate owner’s death, therefore if the property takes longer than this to sell, penalties may be incurred.

How much inheritance tax will I pay on an inherited property I sell

The amount of inheritance tax on an inherited property depends on factors like the property’s value, the relationship between the deceased and beneficiary, and any available exemptions. Professional advice is crucial for accurate calculations. There is a tax-free allowance of up to £350,000, or £500,000 if the property is left to grandchildren. Any amount over this is subject to 40% inheritance tax. 

Your estate is worth £500,000 and your tax-free threshold is £325,000. The Inheritance Tax charged will be 40% of £175,000 (£500,000 minus £325,000) = £70,000.

If you leave the property to grandchildren there will be no tax to pay. 

According to the Government webiste, The estate can pay Inheritance Tax at a reduced rate of 36% on some assets if you leave 10% or more of the ‘net value’ to charity in your will. (The net value is the estate’s total value minus any debts.)

The main residence allowance will also decrease for properties over £2,000,000. 

Steps to selling a property through probate:

  • The Executor applies for probate – £273 for an estate over £5,000 – which can take around 12 weeks
  • A solicitor is appointed – to help with any issues around the title deeds
  • The property is valued – Get a valuation from several agents to ensure the market rate achieved
  • The property is prepared for sale – This may involve some maintenance or cosmetic improvements
  • The Property is placed on the market – This can be done before probate is granted, but the sale cannot be completed until the probate document is issued
  • The sale is completed – Although if a low offer is accepted by the executor that is not considered to be market rate, the beneficiaries can challenge the sale
  • Funds are distributed – Inheritance tax and other debts are paid and money distributed


Key aspects to consider when selling a property through probate

Understanding Probate:

Probate is the legal procedure ensuring the deceased’s will is valid. Executors manage the process, which includes distributing assets, paying debts, and selling property.

Legal Requirements:

Compliance with probate laws is paramount. Seek guidance from legal professionals to navigate this complex process successfully.

Valuation Challenges:

The executor is responsible for ensuring the property is sold for market value. Professional valuation from an estate agent is essential, considering market conditions to avoid potential disputes among beneficiaries.

Dealing with Beneficiaries:

If you are the executor os a will organising a probate sale, open communication with beneficiaries is vital. Keep them informed about the sale process, addressing concerns promptly to help avoid conflicts.

Market Conditions and Timing:

Consider current market conditions when selling during probate. Assess whether it’s advantageous to sell immediately or wait for a more favourable market. Speak to all beneficiaries, where possible to agree on a plan of action. Strategic timing can impact the property’s final sale price.

Estate Agent Selection:

Choosing an experienced estate agent familiar with probate sales can help to ensure the process runs smoothly. 

Preparing the Property:

Invest time in preparing the property for sale to help to achieve maximum sales value and attract potential buyers. Address any necessary repairs, declutter, and present the house in the best possible condition. A well-maintained property enhances its market appeal.

Navigating Emotional Challenges:

Selling a property during probate often involves emotional challenges for the family. Make sure you communicate well with all involved, sharing relevant information and being open to discussions and addressing concerns quickly, to make the process more manageable for everyone involved.


Selling a house during probate requires a delicate balance of legal compliance, communication with beneficiaries, and strategic decision-making. However, you can get professional advice from experienced solicitors and estate agents to ensure a smooth process, without any issues and unnecessary delays. 

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