Are You Managing a Deceased Person's Property?

Are You Managing a Deceased Person's Property?

Responsibility for the Property

When a homeowner passes away, the Executors or Administrators of their estate shoulder the responsibility of managing their property. In this article we briefly consider what that responsibility entails.

Firstly, it's important to:

  • limit access to the property to the executors or their agents, although this can be challenging if multiple individuals have keys

  • change the locks is advisable to ensure security, especially before a Grant of Probate is issued, during which period only the executor should remove items from the property

  • inform the insurance company promptly, this is crucial, particularly if the property becomes vacant. If the existing insurance terms don't apply, specialised unoccupied property insurance may be necessary. At Lawson West, we work with several brokers who can help arrange this. It's also essential to notify utility companies promptly to organise payment arrangements for services

  • obtain a property Probate valuation. When it comes to probate valuation, Estate Agents typically offer to provide Probate valuations, and we recommend obtaining three. For taxable estates, a formal 'Red Book' Valuation from a RICS Surveyor is advisable.

Basic maintenance expenses, such as gardening, can be covered by the estate. Lawson West can provide access to a trusted maintenance provider for upkeep and inspections.

Instructing the Estate Agent

Only the Executor or Administrator named on the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration can instruct an Estate Agent. It's wise to refrain from marketing the property until the Grant of Probate is obtained, as this process can take up to 16 weeks for a simple case, avoiding unnecessary stress for both sellers and buyers.

Tax implications

If the property sells for more or less than the Probate valuation, it can have tax implications such as Capital Gains Tax on gains or potentially an Inheritance Tax refund on losses. Seeking professional advice is advisable to navigate these scenarios.

If you're an Executor of an Estate containing a property, we can assist you with all aspects of administration, alleviating the pressure and responsibilities. For help with any aspect of Probate work, please contact our expert team at Lawson West, Contact Us.

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