Pitfalls Of Probate

A house left unoccupied due to probate can be a dream find for buyers looking for a bargain and a quick purchase but, for the owner of an empty probate home in a sorry state of repair, selling on the property can often be hard as well as heartbreaking. While probate is still ongoing, the price of being an heir can quickly become cumbersome, as maintenance costs and unoccupied house insurance can both be hard to bear.

empty home in probate

Long distance

When the property you inherit is some distance away from your main home, looking after it can be hard. Even a house in good repair can quickly degrade and any empty home is likely to become a target for nuisance criminals or squatters. Keeping it secure can be another unforeseen expense, and will be a top priority if you hope to gain unoccupied property insurance. All insurance providers will need to know that steps have been taken to make your empty property difficult to break into, but no security is one hundred percent effective and a property is always vulnerable when you aren't around to keep an eye on it.

Bills and services

The bills and services payable on the property will not simply stop when a house falls empty, so you will have a lot of companies to contact when you take control of the estate. Things like heating may need to be kept operational, as most unoccupied home insurance policies will require the heating system to either remain operational during the winter or be completely drained down. Not taking such action leaves plumbing at risk when freezing weather sets in, and frozen pipes can burst to cause a great deal of damage. This is a risk in the eyes of any unoccupied house insurance provider.

Legal obligations

To get probate granted, you may have a legal obligation to get the property valued in order to prove the will's validity. This could involve paying out yet again, particularly if you do not intend to put the property on the market straight away. Many estate agents will offer a valuation service for a fee, but this fee will often be deductible if you decide to instruct them to sell the house on your behalf. Often people hope to sell on a house as quickly as possible when it is subject to probate, in order to avoid the added expense of upkeep, but until it is sold the beneficiary is likely to be responsible for sourcing unoccupied property insurance.

Premium sale price

Though some wish to hold out for a premium sale price, this might not be the best idea. There is a common misconception held by both buyers and sellers, that probate granting is likely to be complicated enough to hold up a sale. In fact, this is usually not the case, but when a property is above the inheritance tax threshold it can take slightly longer. Probate might be challenged when a property is sold within the year at less than its market value, but this is reputedly quite rare. Houses that sell for substantially more might also be challenged. There is usually a council tax exemption for the initial six months, but it might become payable at fifty percent after this.


Though many standard insurers are reluctant to offer unoccupied house insurance to a property that is left empty for more than three months at any given time, but this is not the case with HomeProtect. With HomeProtect you can get a competitive quote for unoccupied home insurance online, regardless of how long your property might be empty for.

Applying For Probate

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What is needed for grant of probate?

If the deceased has left a will then it will usually name someone to act as the Executor of their estate. If you are named, you may need to apply for a grant of probate from the Probate Registry. If there is no will then you must apply for a grant of letters of administration, and the court will appoint the Executor of the estate based on a set order of priority. Usually, the next of kin to the deceased.