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Who Owns a Property During Probate in the UK?

Property Saviour » Inherited Property » Who Owns a Property During Probate in the UK?

When a property owner passes away in the UK, their estate, including any property they owned, must go through the legal process known as probate before it can be distributed to the beneficiaries. During this period, the question of who owns the property and has the right to live in it can be complex. Let’s explore the various scenarios that determine property ownership during probate.

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Ownership Depends on How the Property Was Held

The ownership of a property during probate largely depends on how the property was held by the deceased:

  1. Sole Ownership: If the deceased was the sole owner of the property, it becomes part of their estate and cannot be sold or transferred until a Grant of Probate is obtained. The executor named in the will, or an administrator appointed by the court (if there was no will), is responsible for managing the estate, including the property, during probate.
  2. Joint Ownership: Properties can be jointly owned in two ways:
    • Joint Tenants: If the property was owned as joint tenants, the surviving owner automatically inherits the deceased’s share of the property. In this case, probate is not required for the property to pass to the surviving owner.
    • Tenants in Common: If the property was owned as tenants in common, the deceased’s share passes to their estate and is subject to probate. The surviving owner does not automatically inherit the deceased’s share.

Who Can Live in the Property During Probate?

Whether someone can continue living in a property during probate depends on their relationship to the deceased and the terms of the will, if one exists:

  • Beneficiaries: If a beneficiary is set to inherit the property, they may be allowed to live there during probate with the executor’s consent. However, the executor must act impartially and consider the wishes of all beneficiaries.
  • Tenants or Lodgers: Those with no ownership claim to the property may be permitted to stay during probate, but the executor can impose time limits or charge rent.
  • Surviving Joint Owners: If the property was owned as joint tenants, the surviving owner has the right to continue living in the property.


It’s important to note that even if someone is allowed to live in the property during probate, they must follow guidelines to protect its value as an estate asset. This may include restrictions on making significant changes or renovations.

Selling a Property During Probate

Selling a property during probate can be challenging, especially if it needs updating or repairs. Estate agents may struggle to find buyers willing to take on a property that requires significant work.  This can lead to the property sitting on the market for extended periods, accumulating holding costs for the estate. Some of the cons of selling a property via an estate agent during probate include:

  • Delays: If the property needs repairs or updating, it may be difficult to find a buyer, leading to long delays in the sale process.
  • Uncertainty: Even if a buyer is found, they may pull out if they cannot obtain a mortgage due to the property’s condition, leaving the estate back at square one.
  • Costs: Estate agent fees, typically 2-3% of the sale price, can eat into the estate’s value. The estate will also need to cover holding costs, such as utilities and council tax, while the property remains unsold.
Who Owns a Property During Probate
If there are significant delays with probate, buyers found via estate agent may pull out leaving you with abortive legal fees to pay.

Should You Sell to Property Saviour?

Selling to a reputable cash house buying company like Property Saviour can provide several advantages:

  • Speed: Property Saviour can buy the property in as little as 10 days, providing a quick resolution for the estate.
  • Certainty: As genuine cash buyers, Property Saviour does not require mortgages or bridging loans, eliminating the risk of the sale falling through.
  • No Fees: Property Saviour does not charge any fees and will even contribute £1,500 towards the estate’s legal costs.
  • Any Condition: Cash house-buying companies like Property Saviour will purchase properties in any condition, removing the need for the estate to pay for refurbishment or repairs.
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Property Saviour Price Promise

  • The price we’ll offer is the price that you will receive with no hidden deductions.
  • Be careful with ‘cash buyers’ who require a valuation needed for a mortgage or bridging loan.
  • These valuations or surveys result in delays and price reductions later on.
  • We are cash buyers.  There are no surveys.
  • We always provide proof of funds with every formal offer issued.

We'll Pay £1,500 Towards Your Legal Fees

  • No long exclusivity agreement to sign because we are the buyers.
  • You are welcome to use your own solicitor. 
  • If you don’t have one, we can ask our solicitors for recommendations.
  • We share our solicitor’s details and issue a Memorandum of Sale. 

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