My Parent Has Just Died, How Can I Sell Their House As It Is Now Empty?

This is a question we are often asked at Willsons Solicitors.  The second parent dies, the former childhood home remains empty and for practical reasons it is best to sell the property sooner rather than later.

It is vital on someone’s death that the executors obtain Probate as you have no legal authorisation to sell a property before Probate is granted, unless your name is already on the title deeds.

Probate can take several months to obtain and although you can put the property on the market for sale before Probate you cannot complete a sale without Probate so it is important that you make the Estate Agents and your Solicitors aware at the time of placing the property on the market that you do not have Probate at that stage.

The situation is even more complicated if there is no Will as in those circumstances the house cannot even be placed on the market until a grant of letters of administration has been obtained.  Letters of administration is the equivalent of probate where there is a Will.  

If you do not make the Estate Agents or your Solicitors aware then this can hold up a sale.

When selling the property via Probate, as a seller you only have limited title guarantee.  Buyers Solicitors will be made aware of this.

There is no legal obligation upon you to renovate or improve the property as the property is being sold as seen and it is up to the buyer to obtain a survey and carry out their own investigations.

Another situation that we are commonly contacted about is where the house owner, usually a parent, has had to go into a care home and will not return to their home and the property needs to be sold. Often the person dealing with the sale will have a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs.  The Power of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian to be valid before a property can be sold using the Power of Attorney, this is the case even if the donor (the person making the Power of Attorney) still has mental capacity.

It can take between 6 to 10 weeks for the Office of the Public Guardian to register this.

Find out more information

If you wish to talk to our conveyancing team about selling a property this way and when you should put a property on the market please call and speak to Nick Churm on 024 76387821.

If you would like to talk to someone about making a Lasting Power of Attorney, call and speak to Claire or Chelsea on the same number.