Jan 23, 2024

Selling a House During Probate


This simplified guide for England and Wales provides a basic overview. Specific situations might require further legal advice.

Dealing with an estate which involves a home or piece of land that need to be sold? Selling it involves probate. This guide explains the key steps and answers common questions.


What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of managing a deceased person’s estate. This includes valuing assets, paying taxes, debts, and distributing remaining assets (like houses) to beneficiaries, as per the will (if any).

Do I need probate to sell a house?

Generally, yes. Without a “grant of representation” (probate), you lack the legal authority to sell. However, there are exceptions:

  • Joint ownership: If the deceased jointly owned the house with a surviving spouse or partner, they might not need probate to sell.
  • Property trusts: If the house is held in a trust, the trustee may handle the sale without probate.

Selling a house during probate:

  1. Value the estate: Determine the total value of all assets, including the house.
  2. Pay inheritance tax (IHT): If due, settle the IHT before applying for probate.
  3. Obtain the grant of representation: Apply for the grant after valuing the estate and paying any IHT. This confirms your authority to manage the estate, including selling the house.
  4. Prepare the house for sale: Make minor repairs, decorate, etc., to enhance its value.
  5. List the house: All of our valuation managers are expertly trained to market the property.
  6. Accept an offer: Once you receive a suitable offer, you can accept it on behalf of the estate.
  7. Exchange contracts: When both parties agree on the terms, contracts are exchanged, making the sale legally binding.
  8. Complete the sale: Once all legal requirements are met, the sale can be finalized, and remaining funds distributed to beneficiaries.

Can I market the house before getting the grant?

Technically, yes, but with caveats:

  • Executors: As executors, you can market the house before the grant, but buyers and agents must be informed it’s contingent on obtaining the grant. Delays or issues could lead to complications.

General recommendation:

  • Seek legal advice: Consult a probate solicitor to navigate the legal intricacies and ensure smooth execution.

What will I be asked for when I list the property?

Before we can market the property for you, we will be required to see a copy of the will or other legal document confirming who the executors are.

All executors who are listed on the document will be required to provide photographic identification and address identification, as well as signing our Terms of Business. Only executors of the will are allowed to list a property, not beneficiaries of the will.

You will also need to gain as much information as possible regarding the property in order to complete the Property Information Questionnaire, as well as documentation for the solicitors once a sale has been agreed. Examples of useful information to know includes any structural changes to the property, restrictions/covenants and potential guarantees/warranties.

Need further help?

Contact our local branches today to receive further advice, or to book a free valuation of your probate property.


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Michael Tuck Lettings in Quedgeley have managed our rental property for the past 11+ years.

During this time their professionalism has never dropped. In the early days, Ian, Graham and Vikki-Lee were a huge help to a novice landlord. I’m pleased to say they are still there with a helping hand. Claire has always been the nudge I needed for the necessary insurance and safety checks. Having had some difficult times over the past couple of years I would like to say a special thank you to Lianne who has been there to help wherever she could.

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Linda Parker

I cannot recommend Michael Tuck Estate Agents enough.

They were so professional and so prompt with their communication. In particular we would like to mention Charlie for his regular updates and extremely helpful service in the sale of my mothers house. We were in a particularly long chain, and he went over and above to assist us in the communications between the buyers and sellers in order for our chain to proceed. He even contacted Solicitors and helped progress the exchange.

“We are certain if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have sold our house! We cannot thank him and his team enough.”

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If we were to need help selling our homes in the Gloucester ara again they would be the first phone call i’d make.

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The same applies to other staff when answering queries etc.

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I have been a customer of Michael Tuck Lettings in Abbeymead for coming up to 2 years now.

I would like to highlight Kurt and James for there forever ending support and excellent communication. Their joint efforts have filled me with confidence in the ability to keep my family safe in a home we love.

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Miles and the team have been brilliant from start to finish during the sale of our house.

Miles especially went above and beyond with sales chasing when I think most other people would have probably given up! Really happy with the service.

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Anna England

I was recommended Michael Tuck Estate Agents in Abbeymead by a friend, thank you friend!

I would like to say a big thank you and well done to the team who are very friendly, helpful and have taken the strain out of what was a fairly long house sale.

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Jane West

Michael Tuck Lettings in Abbeymead have been a fantastic letting agents looking after our house for the past 17 years.

We have recently sold the house with the sales department.  Kurt has looked after us incredibly well during the 17 years of lettings and Tony, Andy and Chloe have made the selling very easy. Thank you

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I have recently bought and sold through the Gloucester branches and cannot praise Miles and the team highly enough.

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