Selling a house in probate

When it comes to selling a house in probate there’s more than a small amount of confusion in what for most people is already a stressful time. Whilst there is always the option of using a fast house buyer like ourselves and getting us to deal with it not everybody wants to go down that route.

So, what is probate?

The probate process is in place to ensure that a will is proven to be correct and that it is a valid document. It then will make sure that the executor of said will is processed in line with the deceased’s wishes. A grant of probate is required for the executor to have the legal right to process the assets.

Selling a house if there’s no will

If there was no will, the representative will not have a grant of probate, instead, they will be given a letter of administration to allow them to sell the house and dispose of the deceased’s other assets. Only once there is either a letter of probate or a letter of administration will the executor be able to manage the assets.

How long does it take to get a letter of probate to sell a house?

Executors will have to apply to receive a grant of probate, after this is done, the process takes around 4-6 weeks, usually. There are cases in which this can take a bit longer. Delays are normally due to problems surrounding inheritance tax payments due, or if there were mistakes on the application forms. We can work with you to help you sell a house with inheritance tax due. Quite often when filling out these forms people will work with a solicitor usually making the process a little bit faster.

Is it easy to file for probate?

Filling for probate can get a little tricky, this is not to say you can’t do it yourself, but the level of detail required can get a little daunting. This tends to be the case with larger estates with multiple assets or complex properties.

What information is needed when you file for probate?

To obtain a grant of probate you will need quite a lot of details about the deceased party, such as

  • bank details
  • Property valuations
  • Full details of investments and savings
  • Details of any cash gifts made within 7 years of their death for inheritance

This can take weeks, or even months to gather, especially if the details are not readily available and because of this, the process can sometimes take up to a year to complete.

How much does it cost to obtain a grant of probate?

There are two ways to look at this, the application cost of £215 for an individual or £115 for a solicitor. And then the solicitors’ fees, which tend to be around 3-5% + VAT, but this can vary based on complexity and size. You should always check these fees before agreeing to work with a solicitor.

How do I apply for probate?

If you’ve found yourself in a position where you need to apply for probate then you should follow the below steps.

  1. Gather information on the deceased’s estate, you will need this so you can fill in the forms to obtain the grant of probate. You will need to report the full value of the estate to HMRC. This will then be used to apply inheritance tax.
  2. Apply for a grant of representation, this will take 4-8 weeks. If tax is due, this will need to be paid 1st.
  3. Follow the will and divide up the assets as wished, if there was not a will this gets more complex and will probably take about 6 months.

If the will was not contested this should be the end of the matter. However, wills can be contested for one of four reasons

  1. The will wasn’t signed in the proper legal method
  2. The will was written under duress
  3. The writer lacked mental capacity
  4. The will was written in a fraudulent manner

If any of these apply, and the case is strong enough, the will can be dismissed the administrator will have to reapply to distribute the assets in a more appropriate manner than was outlined in the will.

This is hard to estimate a time frame for as it differs on a case-by-case basis.

If any of this is a little too daunting as we said at the start of this guide we can help buy your house in probate so you can unlock cash to pay for things like inheritance tax.


Picture of Bobby Turner

Bobby Turner

Market research, writer & property specilaist for Zoom Property Buyer. Over 10 years in property sector. Previously at WhatHouse?