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Inheriting property

It may be that your property was held under “joint tenancy”, meaning that your partner prepared a Will which indicated that it would automatically pass to you in the event of their death.  Alternatively, you may have simply been named as the beneficiary of the property in a Will, or perhaps the property was owned as a “tenancy in common”, in which case you may again have been named as the beneficiary in the deceased’s Will or have been nominated as such in accordance with the laws of intestacy, if no Will was prepared.

Whatever the circumstances, if you have inherited a property, you must then decide whether you want to keep it, or whether you want to sell it and live off the proceeds. Should you choose to rent it out, be aware that you may be required to pay tax on the money you receive or if you sell it, you may have to pay tax on any profit that you make.

As part of the probate process, it is vital that you provide an accurate probate valuation of the deceased’s home.  This will also include any land attached to the property.  The best way to do this quickly and accurately is to use the services of a chartered surveyor or estate agent, although you will be charged a small fee for this.

Be warned that if the property you inherit still has an outstanding mortgage attached to it, you will automatically become responsible for the monthly mortgage payments on that property.  If you fail to make those payments the property could, as in normal circumstances, be repossessed by the finance company. It is vital in this instance to seek qualified financial advice, to avoid becoming saddled with considerable debt.

It may be that you are not ready to take on a house and all the financial implications associated with it at this stage, in which case it may be left to you in trust.  This means that it will be managed for a period of time, by the current owner or “trustee” until such time as it can be transferred to you.

Inheriting a property is essentially being left a gift of a considerable amount of money.  As such, legal and financial advice should be sought to ensure that you retain as much of that capital as possible, without inheriting a serious debt, too.

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