Selling as an executor

Selling the property of a deceased family member or friend can be upsetting, but hopefully our guide will make the process a little easier. If you are named as the executor in the will, either solely or with another person, you may be responsible for arranging the sale of the deceased’s estate and carrying out the terms of their will. There may be named beneficiaries you will be responsible to. Francesca Harris tells us more...

Grant of probate

If the deceased owned the property in his or her sole name, a grant of probate will be required to enable you to sell or transfer their property. This is an order from the court to confirm your name as an executor in the will, which usually takes up to 12 weeks to be confirmed and potentially longer depending on the complexity of the estate.

The grant of probate application process requires you to complete a financial account detailing the deceased’s assets and liabilities, with balances or valuations at the date of death. You can ask three estate agents to value the property, taking the average of the three as the property’s value. Alternatively, you can employ the services of a surveyor to give you a full professional valuation. You should seek the estate’s solicitor’s advice as to how you should obtain a valuation.

Property titles

You’ll need to be in possession of the property’s title documentation. It is most likely that the property will be registered with the Land Registry, and this should be a straightforward process. However, some properties that have been owned for a long time may not be registered, and a registration with the Land Registry via the estate’s lawyer may be necessary before a sale is completed. A solicitor should be instructed to check the title entries to look for restrictions affecting the property or defects in the title.

You cannot complete the sale before you have the grant of probate, but you can bring the property to market and begin the process of marketing.


You will need to make sure that the property remains insured after the death of the owner and so you should contact the deceased’s insurance company to make them aware of the occupant’s passing. You may be required to provide a copy of a death certificate. As the executor you will have to pay other costs, so finding the right insurance is important. Inheritance tax

The executors of the estate will have the responsibility of paying off debts, distributing the money and assets in accordance with the will as well as paying any inheritance tax. The tax calculations can be complicated, and you’d need to take advice from a professional.

Selling the property and obtaining the best price

As an executor you will need to discharge your responsibilities, which include making sure you achieve the best price. Bear in mind that you have a duty to the beneficiaries to make sure the property is sold at the appropriate value.

Our experience tells us that off market sales are not the way to go under these circumstances because of the lack of transparency in the process. Selling the property through the open market will give you access to a comprehensive campaign of marketing, ensuring wider exposure and more chance of achieving the best price, protecting your position as executor.

We take charge of many sales where probate has not yet been granted, but, in our experience, probate and the conveyancing process, if run in parallel with each other, will tend to coincide roughly at the same time. Although you can’t exchange contracts until the grant of probate has been issued, progressing with the sale in this way saves an enormous amount of time.

Jackson-Stops has decades of experience when dealing with probate sales and we understand this can be a tricky time for all. Our professional staff will make sure that the sales process will be stress and anxiety free, so please feel free to get in touch to arrange a valuation or an initial chat - we would be delighted to help.

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