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.

Sounds sim­ple?

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.

Read more about our exten­sive Wills and Pro­bate Ser­vice and how our expert team of Pro­bate Lawyers and Solic­i­tors can help you. Alter­na­tive­ly, get in touch with us for more information.