Selling Inherited Property

Inherited property

A Brief Guide to Selling Inherited Property

One good reason to sell a house in a hurry relates to the inheritance of property. Of course, if you’re not living in the home, you’ll probably want to sell it as quickly as possible. But that can cause some emotional heartache along the way.

Selling an inherited property entails a few formalities to negotiate carefully and sensitively. Here are a few tips and snippets of advice to get you started.

Establish your relationship with the property

Inheriting a house doesn’t give you the automatic right to sell it. Even if you are the person named who will receive the house in a will, you must apply for probate before selling it legally. However, if you’re handed a share of the estate as a direct beneficiary, the process could be a lot simpler.

What is probate?

Applying for probate gives you the right to deal with the deceased’s estate. For example, suppose you are an executor of the will. In that case, you can request a grant of probate from the probate registry giving you the authority to deal with the estate, access bank accounts and share money between named beneficiaries. If a will wasn’t left, however, a close friend or relative can apply. Find out more about how probate works here.

You don’t need probate if:

  • You have a joint bank account with the deceased.
  • The value of the estate is less than £5,000
  • You and the deceased jointly owned the inherited property.

If you are a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate, once property and assets are sold, the proceeds are shared amongst all legal beneficiaries.

Paying inheritance tax when selling an inherited house

The chances are you will need to pay inheritance tax if you’re receiving a large sum. If you’re selling an inherited house to pay the tax, you will need to apply for probate at the earliest opportunity. Please do not wait for probate to list the house for sale, but it will require granting before a transaction completes. If you plan on keeping the home to live in or rent out, you might be able to pay the inheritance tax in instalments.

NOTE: If you have a share in the property and sell it, the inheritance tax will need to be paid on the total sale price before any proceeds can be shared out.

You won’t be taxed if you’re a legal beneficiary — only the deceased’s estate is taxed. However, you may have to wait for your inheritance, as debts and various fees will need paying and settled first.

How much tax is payable?

There is no inheritance tax payable on an estate worth less than the current amount set by HMRC — a solicitor will let you know the current tax threshold well in advance. The executor or administrator of the will needs to pay any tax owing. The total amount is payable six months after the person has died — although extensions can be agreed upon on a case by case basis. The rate at which tax is due changes, but it doesn’t usually stray too far from the 40% mark. You can reduce this percentage by donating at least 10% of the estate to charity. You will need to pay capital gains tax on any profit you make from the sale of inherited assets.

Don’t forget utilities.

Inherited property often comes with a myriad of issues to resolve before selling. For instance, you may need to use funds from the estate to clear final gas, water and electricity bills. You should also check that there is no outstanding council tax bill. And the chances are the house will be empty for a period when you’re selling it, so make sure you have vacant house insurance.

Selling inherited property

You can sell inherited property once you pay all taxes and comply with all the legal procedures. Just be aware that the probate process must complete before a sale can go through.

Inheriting property is a bittersweet time for anyone. It’s, it’s always lovely to receive a windfall, but it comes at a time you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one.

How to sell inherited property quickly

If there are taxes and fees to pay, the faster you can sell, the quicker you can get everything settled and start coming to terms with your loss. A growing number of people choose to sell directly to quick sale firms as they can often complete a property purchase within just a few weeks. There are several advantages associated with this course of action:

  • No need for marketing
  • No need for property viewings
  • Bypass price negotiations
  • Conveyancing is simple
  • No property chain
  • A guaranteed sale price
  • Receive the proceeds in as few as two weeks

While you may receive slightly more for the property by selling it on the open market, you will have to prepare for delays and complications — the last thing you need when settling and distributing an estate.

Associated articles on dealing with an inherited property are here.

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