A common conversation in the sale and purchase of residential property is around a Grant of Probate.
When a person dies, a Grant of Probate is needed to evidence that the Executor or Executrix has the ability to sell the deceased person’s property.
A Grant of Probate is applied for by the Executor or Executrix if the deceased person had a Will. If no Will is located, the deceased is classed as Intestate and a Grant of Letters of Administration is required instead.
The mechanism is, but acquiring a Grant of Probate can be difficult if the Estate, the term used to group a deceased person’s assets, is complicated. Complications can be caused by a plethora of reasons but is usually due to a high number of assets and/or assets which aren’t easily administered.
The other difficulty is the time taken to obtain a Grant of Probate once the Grant is applied for at the Probate Registry.
In fairness, the Probate Registry had, up until recently, achieved an 8‑week turnaround post covid and thanks to a new electronic system. However, as of January 2023, they announced the standard time period was increasing to 16 weeks.
In a nutshell?
Before a probate property is marketed for sale, ideally, the Grant needs to be obtained. Obviously, not all parties are that patient but I would be very wary of making an offer on a property where the Grant had not been obtained and at the very least, had been applied for at least 10 weeks in advance.
Just a reminder that you cannot exchange contracts without a Grant of Probate.