The legal requirements of selling a property you have inherited

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Bereavement is one of life’s most difficult circumstances, and should you find yourself responsible for a deceased loved-one’s property, you may feel daunted by the task of selling it.  Though the process can be complex and differs from case to case, we’ve de-cluttered and renovated the information, to provide you with a simple and non-stressful guide to the legal requirements.

Applying for a grant of representation

In order to take responsibility for a deceased person’s assets, including their property, you need to apply for a grant of representation.  This is a court-issued certificate which gives you the right to deal with the estate.  Even if you are expressly named executor in the deceased person’s will, you still legally require a grant before you can sell the property.  Gov.uk outlines the main steps in applying, including completing a Probate Application and Inheritance Tax form and swearing an oath (most probably at your local probate office).You may wish to enlist the services of a solicitor when going through this process.

Joint-ownership

If your spouse or partner has died and the property is jointly in your name, you probably won’t require a grant of representation to sell.  A joint owner has the right to sell over anyone named executor in the will.  The HMRC allows you to check the title deeds to the property, which should provide you with the necessary information on what documents you need before you can go ahead with a sale.

Inheritance Tax

Depending upon the size of the estate, you may be required to pay Inheritance Tax.  This is a necessary step in your grant application, and involves valuation of the property.  It’s possible to use a property surveyor to obtain a valuation, or to take the average of at least three quotes from different estate agents.

Avoiding Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) may come into play if your property remains unsold for a long while.  As The Gazette explains, you may be liable to pay CGT if the value of the property increases above its date of death value. As it stands in 2017, you’ll have to pay CGT if the profit made is over £11,000.  It may be in your best interest, therefore, to find a good deal as quickly as possible after obtaining your grant of representation.

Sources of help

The above may seem a complicated and lengthy ordeal, but there are companies that are willing to shoulder much of the burden.  Probate Purchasers is dedicated to reducing the stress and emotional strain of selling a property you have inherited.  At a time when you might be feeling rather adrift, they will sensitively and expertly help you navigate the sale process.  They are founding members of The National Association of Property Buyers, which speaks for their credentials.  Their services are free of charge, and they will cover your legal fees.  Crucially, they’ll also take on tasks such as house clearance, to limit your emotional stress during this difficult time.

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