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Can an estate agent market/sell a property before the Grant probate is issued?

(10 Posts)

My mother is trying to buy a new house - it's being sold by the late owner's children. When she made the offer that they accepted, their solicitor had not yet applied for probate. That was over three months ago, and things are still dragging on - we don't know if they have probate now!

Dh and DBIL are also in the process of selling my late MIL's house - they did probate themselves, and didn't put the house on the market until they'd got the Grant - and their EA wanted to see that Grant.

We are wondering whether the EA selling the house my mum wants to buy is acting legally, in marketing a property without a grant of probate. It certainly seems a risky thing to do, as the sale can't go through without the grant, and mum could still withdraw - there are a number of similar properties available - and the EA would have to start the marketing process again. Tbh, that is what I am going to advise mum to do - her house has sold, and she could be out - and homeless (living with my dsis) in under a month! But she'd then be a cash buyer.

LadyOrangutan Wed 24-Jun-15 22:52:53

The house that DH and I bought was under probate and the grant hadn't been given when it was put on the market. We offered on the house in April and it took until August for the grant of probate to come through.
You can absolutely legally put it on the market without the grant of probate as long as you don't lie to your buyers (I think)

Thank you Lady.

babybarrister Thu 25-Jun-15 15:48:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Spickle Thu 25-Jun-15 18:55:39

Yes you can market a property before probate has been granted.

But you can't exchange and complete until after probate has been granted.

Thank you all.

If I can ask a supplementary question - how long is reasonable, for getting the Grant of probate? Mum offered on the house in March, and at that point, the sellers' solicitor hadn't even applied for probate - I would have expected him to have done so, in a timely fashion, once mum's offer had been accepted, but this solicitor doesn't seem to have any sense of urgency whatsoever.

In contrast, dh and dbil did their own probate application, and although filling in the forms took a few weeks (as we live in Scotland and Dbil lives in the south of England, and both work long hours), they seem to have done it faster than this solicitor, and have their Grant.

Dh and I think mum should tell the sellers that she will pull out, unless she gets a clear schedule of what still needs doing and when it will be done, including a firm date for completion - but I think mum will not want to play hardball like that. I think she wants this particular house, and is willing to wait and wait, whilst the sellers and their solicitor dilly and dally.

LadyOrangutan Thu 25-Jun-15 19:48:14

The probate on the house we were buying took ages too. We kept hassling the estate agent who in turn hassled the solicitors/sellers.
Can you find out how many beneficiaries there are? One of the reasons ours took so long was because there were three beneficiaries and if a document needed to be signed by all three, the solicitor would post it to A. Who would sign it and then post it back to the solicitor, who would then repeat the process with B and then C. Don't ask me why they couldn't all meet for one hour on one day and sign everything together angry but that kind of snails pace took ages.

LadyOrangutan Thu 25-Jun-15 19:49:16

And we didn't bother playing hardball, the estate agents knew they could lose the sale without us having to say so. The fact that we were hassling them meant that we were impatient to get it done.

snowman1 Thu 25-Jun-15 20:05:31

Hi not a solicitor but have some experience of Administering estates. Depends on the assets they hold- overseas assets, especially USA, can add years to the process. I know of ones which are still unadministered 4 years on as no one can agree value of land, Despite an offer on the table to by it. Do go back to their solicitors for an idea
Of time. In reality I would say 6-9 months for an estate which is relatively straightforward so maybe slightly over the iht threshold. They are also looking back to previous years to carry forward spousal iht allowances - check if there is a delay on that as paperwork will go back to 1975!

Draylon Wed 01-Jul-15 14:43:07

I'm doing Probate on my late Mother's Estate, myself. It's straight forward, her IHT threshold is £650k (I think, thereabouts) as we could combine it with dad's; so the Estate came in under that. No overseas stuff to contend with, no need to publish in the relevant Gazette (no skeletons in cupboards!).

Mother passed away on Feb 8th this year. I should get Probate this week- I swore the Oath privately to 'save time', but what's holding us up is Winchester Probate Service. They've lost my paperwork once (luckily just the Oath, not the other stuff!); they reckon from receipt of sworn Oath to issue of Probate is taking 7 working days, but I'm on Day 15 now and cannot actually get to speak to a person at all at the office!

I did crack on with the paperwork, though- it's taken large amounts of my time with documents flying around but I did get 6 copies of the Death Cert as advised so several financial institutes could be working on it simultaneously; but although you're supposed to register a death within 5 days of it occurring, the fastest appointment I could get, in Southampton, was 10 working days!

So possibly 5 months if Winchester Probate don't screw up again.

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