Question: I been left quite an expensive property by my uncle. I have a business which is deeply in debt and would like to sell the property as soon as possible.
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
I am one of two executors, probate has not been granted and the property is still in my uncle's name. Can I get on with selling it?
Answer: During the administration of your uncle's estate you and your co-executor have the power to deal with the property but you must act together - that is, you must both be party to the contract and to the subsequent transfer.
As executors, also known as personal representatives, you do not need to transfer the property into your names before selling it, but the grant of probate will need to be issued before you can complete any sale.
This is because your buyer will need to see a certified copy of the grant of probate to ensure that all proving personal representatives - those mentioned in the grant of probate - are parties to the contract.
If your co-executor agrees, you can certainly market the property, accept any suitable offer and issue a contract even before the grant of probate is issued. However, you will be unable to exchange contracts unconditionally until the grant of probate is issued, although your buyer may be prepared to exchange contracts conditional upon its being issued within a certain time.
If the grant of probate is not issued within that time limit, then the contract will fail.
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Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors www.ttuk.com.