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When Can The Property Of A Deceased Person Be Sold?

When someone dies, there is often a question left hanging for relatives about when their property can be sold. There is no single answer to this, but instead the timeframe will depend on certain circumstances. The first thing that needs to be done is to work out how the property is owned. If there is another owner’s names on the deeds, for example, and they are living, then the property can’t be sold without their permission.

The easiest way to find out how a property is owned is to order an official copy of the register. This will come from HM Land Registry, but remember that not all properties will be on this register; if a property has not been sold for many decades, which is entirely possible, then it may not be registered at all. Another point to bear in mind is that even if you do have the deeds they may not be the most up to date if they are extremely old.

There are a number of ways in which a property can be owned. It could be in the sole name of the deceased, or join names with someone else. It could even be ‘tenants in common’ with another person (or sometimes multiple other people).

If the property is owned solely by the deceased, then a grant of probate will be needed before the property can be transferred or sold. Any inheritance tax due on the property must be settled before the grant of probate can be issued.

Any property that is owned as tenants in common will also need a grant of probate before anything can be done with it. However, it is important to note that all owners must be participants in the same unless you are only selling the deceased’s share of the property.

If the property is owned jointly, then no grant of probate is required. The property transfers directly to the surviving owner and if they wish to sell the property they can do without any special permissions required. Remember that the Land Registry must be informed that there is now just one owner of the property rather than two, as this makes selling much easier.

Although the property can’t be sold until probate has been granted, it is a good idea for those who are expecting to inherit the property to get it ready for sale during this time (assuming they want to sell it at all). This will make it much quicker to put it on the market when the time comes. Start by clearing the property of the deceased’s belongings, and carrying out repairs and decorating work.

You can even start marketing the property and look for a buyer, although they must be made aware that the property cannot be transferred to them until probate has been granted.

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