When your parents pass away, not only do you have to deal with all the emotional turmoil but you will also need to understand the legal position regarding the ownership of their house. In this article, what to do with parents house after death, we take a look at the options open to you.
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For a free initial discussion on how we can help deal with the legal implications of dealing with your parents’ house after they have passed away, get in touch with us today. We will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help ensure you understand your rights and also avoid the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.
What happens to the house?
Under normal circumstances, your parent’s Will will specify a named person to deal with the estate (or the deceased’s next of kin if there is no will). They are responsible for the legal affairs and will often obtain ‘probate’ (where there is a will) or ‘letters of administration’ (no will), which enables them to act as the personal representative. Probate also enables the personal representative to transfer or sell the property.
If the property is to be sold, probate gives the personal representative the authority to sell it in accordance with the terms of the will. If the property is registered and the person who died was the sole owner, then the personal representative will often either “Assent” the property to the person(s) who inherits it (beneficiaries) or “Transfer” the property to someone else.
If the deceased was a joint owner and the partner is still alive, you would normally just register the death with the Land Registry, along with an official copy of the death certificate. Probate is not required to deal with the property but may be needed if the deceased’s estate warrants it.
A lot will depend on what the deceased owned and what the beneficiaries intend to do with the property. Whatever is decided though does not have to be rushed and is usually dealt with several weeks after the death and the reading of the will.
What are the implications of owning the house as a Joint Tenant?
If your parents own their house with each other as a joint tenant, upon one of them dying the house will not pass under the terms of their Will but will instead automatically be gifted to the surviving joint owner. If for whatever reason the house is not registered at the Land Registry, the executors should place a copy of the death certificate with the deeds to the house. If the house is registered at the Land Registry the executors should contact the Land Registry to remove the surviving partner’s name from the register of owners.
What are the implications of owning the house as a Tenant in Common?
If your parents own their house with each other as a tenant in common, then the surviving party’s share of the property will be gifted under the terms of your Will i.e. they can choose who they would like to gift it to. If there is no Will then the intestacy rules will determine who inherits the deceased’s share of the house. The executors (or administrators if your parents did not leave a Will) will need to obtain a grant of probate (or a grant of letters of administration) from the court to transfer their share of the house to the new owner. They will then need to employ a conveyancer to transfer their share of the house to the new owner or owners.
The importance of writing a Will
Knowing in what capacity your parents own their house is, therefore, important. Additionally, it is essential that your parents write a Will so that their final wishes are clearly laid out.
A Will is a legal document explaining your last wishes and can include who you would like to leave your assets to, what your funeral arrangements should be and also perhaps setting up trusts for loved ones to ensure their financial security, or instructions to leave something to your favourite charity.
How we can help
We have a proven track-record of helping clients write their Will and deal with the process of probate. We will guide you through all the necessary legal due diligence in a comprehensive and timely manner. We firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.
How to Contact our Wills and Probate Solicitors
It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and possible implications of dealing with probate matters. We can provide the support and guidance you need to get through the process as simply and straightforwardly as possible.
To speak to our Wills and Probate solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or allow a member of the team to get back to you by filling in our online enquiry form. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.