Selling an Inherited Home: A Complete Guide

Inheriting a home or property is a unique situation that carries both emotional and practical considerations. Whether the home holds sentimental value or becomes an additional responsibility, selling it requires a thoughtful and informed approach. 

Typically, the Executor of the will is responsible for managing the inherited home, but they are usually a beneficiary of the estate too. Although these first three steps are the responsibility of the Executor, it’s important that all beneficiaries are kept in the loop throughout each one. Open communication about the valuation and potential sale of the property can help prevent conflicts.

  1. Get the house professionally valued
    Obtain a professional property valuation to determine the home’s value to ensure it is accurately reflected for probate. This step is also crucial for setting a realistic selling price and ensuring you get a fair return on the property should you decide to sell.

  2. Get probate
    Before you can sell an inherited home or property, the estate will need to go through probate. This is a legal process that validates the deceased’s will and grants you the authority to manage the property. Nothing belonging to the deceased can be sold or distributed until a grant of probate has been approved by the court. Click here to read our blog about probate and its process.

  3. Title Transfer
    After probate, the title of the home needs to be officially transferred into the name of the Executor. Working with a trusted lawyer is highly recommended to ensure all required documentation is completed and filed correctly. 


Does the home have to be sold?
Not necessarily, however all beneficiaries must be in agreeance about whether to keep or sell the house. It’s important to be aware of the tax implications of your decision, though. Capital Gains Tax does not need to be paid if the deceased estate is sold within two years of the date of death, but will be incurred post this date.  Outstanding debts must also be settled prior to selling, including mortgages, property taxes, utility bills and other financial obligations associated with the home. If the decision is made to sell, the Executor is responsible for distributing the profits from the sale to each of the beneficiaries.


What about personal items in the home?
Address the personal belongings left in the home with care and sensitivity. The will may dictate if certain personal belongings should go to a specific person. If not, decide what to keep, donate or discard while respecting the memories and sentiments attached to them.


Who can support me during this process?
An experienced probate lawyer can guide you through the legal process to ensure stress is minimised during this already emotional time. A real estate agent or property valuer can ensure the inherited property is accurately appraised, and a psychologist or counsellor can work with you through your grief.

Selling an inherited home involves a careful balance of legal, financial and emotional considerations. By understanding the steps involved and seeking professional support, you can navigate this journey with confidence. 
Remember that you’re not alone: Waters Lawyers are ready to assist you at every stage, ensuring a smooth and respectful process as you transition from inheriting to selling a home.
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