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How to manage Probate property sales

7th December 2022 by Kate Mansfield

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Selling a property is one of the most stressful events we can go through and dealing with this after the loss of a loved one can be exceptionally difficult. We take a look at probate property sales and give you some tips to help you manage this challenging process.

After someone’s death, if there is a property to be sold it is likely to take some time. This is because their personal representative will need to obtain legal authority to carry out the sale by obtaining either a Grant of Probate or, if the deceased did not leave a Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration.

Valuing the property

You will need to have the property valued along with the deceased’s other assets. It is important to try and obtain accurate values as the total figure is what the Inheritance Tax payment will be based on and any shortfall will have to be made up promptly or interest and penalties may be payable.

Obtaining a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration

You will need to obtain either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration from the Probate Registry. Once you have paid the Inheritance Tax, if any is due, you can send the application form together with the original Will and a cheque for the application fee.

This first stage of the process can take many weeks, depending on how quickly you can obtain valuations of the assets and how busy the Probate Registry is.

Marketing the property

You can put the property on the market in the meantime if you wish, but you will not be able to complete the sale until the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration has been received. As the conveyancing process also takes time, it is often the case that buyers are happy to make an offer and start work before the Grant is received.

Our top tips for dealing with a probate property sale

Consider whether you should clear the property before it is marketed.

Clearing a property can take time, particularly if it belonged to a close family member. You are likely to want to take your time going through their possessions and ensuring that you find the right home for them all.

By clearing the property before you market it, you can avoid the stress of having to clear it later on when completion is imminent. Alternatively, you may decide to keep the furniture in place, but it can still be very helpful to remove most of the smaller items so that you leave yourself less to do.

Find important documentation as you go through the deceased’s paperwork

As you go through the deceased’s personal effects, look out for documents relating to the property that could be useful in the sale. As well as the title deeds or copies of the legal title, this could include planning consents, building regulations approval and guarantees for work that has been carried out, such as the installation of new windows.

You should put this to one side and pass it to your solicitor once you start the sale process.

Get Professional help

If you are an executor or administrator, it is open to you to instruct a solicitor to deal with the estate administration on your behalf. The process can be time-consuming and is often complicated, so if you are particularly busy it is likely to be easier to ask a professional to step in.

If you do decide to instruct a solicitor, Laceys can also carry out the conveyancing, providing you with a comprehensive service.

If you have any further questions please contact a member of Laceys Wills, Probate and Trusts team on 01202 377984 or our Conveyancing team on 01202 377800.

Kate Mansfield

Partner — Private Client

Direct dial: 01202 377853


kate mansfield
  • “We have had the pleasure of Kate’s sensitive and unwavering professional support for a number of years. She has always been able to combine her deep expertise, with practical context and a tone of voice that gently escorts you through, often difficult decisions. We could not recommend Kate highly enough, both professionally and personally.”

    Simon Bennett

  • “Kate was extremely knowledgeable, straightforward to deal with as well as sympathetic during what was a difficult time. I felt in good hands!”

    Elisabeth Bonelli

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  • “Mrs Mansfield has been exemplary in every respect. She is an excellent listener and has the ability to explain complex issues patiently and emphatically. We are fortunate in having her as our legal adviser.”

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Kate is a Partner in our Private Client Team and has 25 years’ experience in private client work, specialising in wills, tax planning and estate administration. Kate has worked in this area since she qualified and has assisted thousands of families and individuals.

Kate qualified as a solicitor in 1995 after obtaining a 2.1 in Law from the University of Kent. She completed her training contract with Laceys and became a partner in 2002.

Kate is a full member of the Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners (STEP) and sat on the STEP committee for 6 years. She has also taught on the Legal Executives course at Bournemouth & Poole College.

Kate enjoys the personal side of the work and the satisfaction of assisting the bereaved and families with complex affairs, whether it be complex financial aspects or those where a diplomatic hand is required. She prides herself on being able to explain the legal position in plain English.

Out of the office she enjoys keeping fit. She enjoys going to the gym and getting out into the Dorset countryside on her road bike. Cooking, particularly baking, is also a passion.

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