Dealing with property following the death of a loved one can be challenging, as there is a myriad of considerations that you will need to make. This handy infographic guide offers an easy-to-understand overview of the process.
Who Is Responsible for Transferring the Ownership of the Property?
When a person passes away, their property will need to be transferred to another party. In most cases, the beneficiary has already been stipulated in the deceased’s Will.
The personal representatives (sometimes abbreviated to PRs) are individuals who have been entrusted with the responsibility of managing the transfer of ownership. The personal representatives will be the Executors named in the Will.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Personal Representative?
The personal representatives will most likely need to obtain a grant of probate so that the transfer of property ownership can proceed. This is an official document which gives the Executor authority to administer the deceased person’s Estate as a Personal Representative.
They must also take responsibility for making any necessary funeral arrangements. They also must cover the costs of the funeral. In situations where the personal representative is not a family member, then the family will make the arrangements and then send the invoice to the personal representative.
Some other core responsibilities taken on by the personal representative may also include:
- Establishing the value of the estate
- Paying any inheritance tax that is due
- Covering any private debts which owed by the estate
- Distributing the assets to those entitled to them
Acting as PR comes with many important responsibilities, and as such it is strongly advised to seek professional advice from a qualified solicitor.
Transferring Property Ownership After Death
The specifics of the transfer process will vary depending on how the property was owned. You can check the title to the property with the Land Registry. If it is registered, a copy can
be downloaded from the website quite easily.
How to Transfer A Property That Was Registered to A Sole Owner
Generally speaking, the most straightforward cases are when the property has been registered in the name of a single individual. The personal representative can transfer the property (termed an ‘Assent’) the property to the beneficiaries. Alternatively, they can transfer the property to trustees who will hold the property for the beneficiaries on trust.
If you plan to sell the property you will require Probate, however you will not need to supply a copy of the Death Certificate. However it is important to note that even with uncomplicated estates, it can take between two to three months to obtain this.
How to Transfer A Property That Was Registered to Joint Owners
There is a slightly more complex process involved in transferring the ownership of properties that have been registered in more than one name. You will first need to register the death by providing an official copy of the death certificate to the Land Registry. If the widow or widower of the deceased wishes to remain living in the property, you simply need to notify the Land Registry. Any mortgage provider will also need to be notified.
If the property has not been registered with the land registry, a transfer of ownership will trigger a need to register the property and this can add significantly to the time required to deal with an estate. You will also need to obtain the title deeds from the deceased person’s solicitor or bank, or possibly from their home.
What If There Is No Will?
In cases where someone has died without a valid will, their property must be shared out according to the “rules of intestacy”. These stipulate that only married or civil partners and certain close relatives can inherit the property. Someone (usually a close family member) will be appointed as an Administrator. To become an Administrator, you will need to apply to the court for a Grant of Letters of Administration.
Selling A Property Following the Death of the Owner
If the beneficiaries do not wish to have property transferred into their names, the executors will need to sell it. If you plan on selling an inherited property there are a few things you will need to bear in mind as the sale of a Probate property is slightly more complex than typical property transactions. Contracts for the property ownership cannot be exchanged until probate has been obtained, so a realistic timescale for the granting of probate should be given to estate agents and prospective buyers.
Read this Infographic to Learn More
If this issue affects you, then you might be interested in this handy infographic guide from I Will Solicitors which goes through some of the most important points regarding the transfer of property after death. It outlines what actions you need to take depending on how the property was owned and also includes some handy information for executors when selling the property.