What is probate and what does it mean when selling or letting property?


What is probate?

Probate is the legal and financial process of dealing with the property, money, and possessions of a person who has died. Broadly, it means getting official permission to carry out the wishes in someone’s will and includes the process of administering someone’s estate, including any properties. Probate can also be expressed as the process of proving that a will is valid, if a will exists, and confirming who has authority to administer the estate of the person who has died.

The person who has to carry out the steps in the probate process is the executor. Often, the deceased will have named this person in their will – up to four people can be assigned to share the responsibility. However, if no name has been provided by the deceased, the executor will be the next of kin.


Sell or let a probate property? 

Helping you understand the options around a probate property is the first stage to address. Naturally, dealing with a property after someone close has died can be a strain and a daunting process during what is often an emotional and difficult time. At Nicol & Co we have helped many people with their probate property needs and are well equipped to answer any questions you may have.

Over the years, our team have become experts in this particular area and understand the legalities and processes involved in either selling or letting a probate property. We also understand the emotional stresses during this time. Our number one aim is to make sure we are here to support you, to take the strain away and make the process as smooth and as efficient as possible, so you can focus on other things that we know matter to you.

Our team are knowledgeable about the probate process in the UK and can advise and offer guidance on the best route that suits your needs, preferences and timescales. Whilst many decide to sell the probate property, others choose to keep it and explore opportunities around letting the property out, either in the short, medium or long-term future.

If you are unsure whether to sell or let the probate property, there are several factors to consider including the current property market, local house prices and rental values of similar homes nearby. 

Your decision may be based on your personal situation and plans – perhaps you are looking to live in the property long term but not ready to move in yet. Or you may wish to sell the house in the quickest possible way to free up finances. The long term rise in the value of the property should be considered, as well as current house market trends and local house market prices. 


Helping you let and manage a probate property

Letting your probate property could be a good financial investment option, and our experienced lettings team will be able to advise you on every aspect, including:

  • What the lettings route would entail if you decide to let your probate property
  • What the current local rental market looks like
  • What the rental demand for properties like yours is at the moment
  • What estimated rental income your probate property could expect to yield
  • What your legal obligations would be as a landlord
  • Which Nicol & Co property management options  would best suit you and what fees you can expect 


Looking after and maintaining properties to a high standard is part of our lettings team’s everyday work and we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service to all our landlords. This helps to ensure the value of a property is maintained and often increased. 

We can help look after the probate property for you, either in the short or long term and whether you are selling or letting the property. The sales process can take time, and our local property maintenance teams can ensure the property is well maintained, lawns mowed and indoor and outdoor spaces kept clean to make sure it is appealing when viewings begin. 

If you decide to let the property, we can offer a fully managed service and take care of ongoing maintenance as well as dealing with any issues arising to make sure the property is kept in good shape throughout the tenancy and retains its value.


Dealing with the sale of a probate property? 

If you decide to sell the property, we have outlined some of the key considerations and stages during the probate sales process.

Selling a probate property isn’t the same as a standard residential property sale. The process involves legal obligations that have to be adhered to. A solicitor and the sales team at Nicol & Co can help explain each step and guide you through the process. At a glance, here are a few aspects to consider.


Who is responsible for the probate property? 

If there is a Will, the executor named can apply for a Grant of Probate. This might not be necessary if the property was held in joint names. 

Obtaining a Grant of Probate allows you to handle the Will of the deceased person including the sale of their property. It is important to apply for a Grant of Probate as soon as possible as the process of obtaining the document can take several weeks.


What is involved in the probate sale process? 

After determining whether a Grant of Probate document is necessary, and gaining it if needed, you can begin the process of selling your probate property. 

  • Valuation

Getting an accurate valuation for the property is important for inheritance tax purposes. If a property is thought to be valued improperly you will need to pay the underpaid inheritance tax. Make sure you call out a trusted estate agent who understands probate sales and who has solid knowledge about current, local property prices. As mentioned earlier, Nicol & Co have proven experience and success in dealing with probate sales so you’ll be in safe hands.

  • Sale ready

Ensure the property is sale ready, windows and doors have working locks and possessions are cleared within the property. Check if any refurbishment or repairs are required and action these as appropriate

Regular visits to the property are strongly advised when it is vacant, just to check on everything. You can instruct a management company to look after it before and during the sale. We can help with this at Nicol & Co through our property management services, so get in touch with the team if you need help.

  • Listing the property

Working closely with a professional, local and experienced estate agency is important, they’ll be able to provide the guidance you need to make the process as straightforward as possible. They can organise the marketing and carry out viewings. They will also speak to the buyers and communicate with the necessary parties including conveyancers. 


How quickly can a probate property be sold? 

Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to selling a probate property quickly. All legal obligations must be met to ensure everything is done correctly and carefully, but like with all sales, at Nicol & Co we’ll work hard and proactively to make your probate sale as quick and efficient as possible, whilst at the same time striving to secure the best sale price possible. 

We often list and sell properties before probate has been granted subject to us being instructed by all executors. The property cannot exchange or complete until probate has been granted, which we inform all interested parties of, and we make sure that everyone is informed throughout the process.

At Nicol & Co we will liaise with all executors who are assigned to the probate sale; up to a maximum of 4 executors can be assigned by law. We can update all executors together, or alternatively provide regular updates to one designated party who then updates the others. We are flexible to meet the requirements of each probate situation and work with each executor or executors to suit your needs.

If you would like help in selling a probate property, let us know and at Nicol & Co and we will help to ensure it is sold efficiently.


How can Nicol & Co help? 

At Nicol & Co we understand dealing with a probate sale or let can be difficult. Our team has experience in helping customers sell or let a probate property in Worcestershire and can make sure we provide the support and clear communication needed. We can point you in the right direction, keep you informed and help you along the process. 

From checking in on your property every week if you find it too difficult to recommending expert conveyancers, we can be there for you. 

If you’re looking to sell or let a probate property or find out more information about how we can help, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

We have three branches for you to visit, or if you prefer giving us a call or sending us a message get in touch here