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Here’s what you need to know if you are selling a property after someone has died

PUBLISHED: 14:14 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:14 08 February 2019

Selling a house after someone has died requires a number of additional considerations, says Emma Willison

Selling a house after someone has died requires a number of additional considerations, says Emma Willison

Graham Oliver

If you are acting as an executor or administrator for an estate, there are a number of things to be mindful of when selling the property, as Emma Willison from Spire Solicitors explains.

Emma Willison, of Spire Solicitors LLP. Picture: Spire SolictorsEmma Willison, of Spire Solicitors LLP. Picture: Spire Solictors

There are a number of factors to consider when selling a property after someone has died – otherwise known as a probate property.

•Grant of probate

Before you can sell the property, you will need to obtain a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration as the Land Registry will not transfer the property to a buyer unless the grant has been received.

•Who pays for the cost of selling a probate property?

The deceased’s estate should bear the costs of selling the property. As the conveyancing process is the same as any other property transaction it should not incur any greater legal costs.

•Inheritance tax

Inheritance Tax is paid if a person’s estate is worth more than £325,000 when they die. If the estate is subject to Inheritance Tax and HMRC have not yet agreed the amount of Inheritance Tax due, HMRC will use the sale price of the property as opposed to the property’s date of death value. This can result in an increase in Inheritance Tax due to HMRC. Executors and administrators should keep this in mind when selling a property as part of the administration of the estate.

•Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

If you are selling a property that was not the deceased’s main residence, executors and administrators need to be wary of CGT. The value of the property for CGT purposes is the value at the date of death. If the property is not sold for some time after the issue of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and the value of the property increases, the executors or administrators may incur a CGT liability. However, executors or administrators can use their CGT allowance in the tax year the death occurred, and for two years after death.

•Other considerations

If a property is vacant for more than 30 days, the executors or administrators will need to inform the insurers. If the property is damaged after death and the insurers have not been notified about a change in the policy, they may refuse a claim.

If the property has an outstanding mortgage, these payments will still be due until the property is sold and the mortgage can be repaid. Executors and administrators should ensure that all mortgage payments and utility bills continue to be paid. These expenses can be claimed back from the estate.

If you would like to discuss any points in this article further, please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077.

This column is sponsored by Spire Solicitors.

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