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Wills & Probate: Dealing with Property

October 17, 2016  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

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A person’s estate comprises finances (money, investments and savings), businesses, property and possessions, all of which should be detailed in their will. A person’s liabilities will also need to be considered after their death, including any outstanding debts, such as a mortgage. In many cases, property is the main asset left in a person’s will, and often falls into both categories: as both an asset and a liability.

Assets (and liabilities) usually pass on to living relations and friends via a person’s will. If there is no will, the estate will be subject to intestacy rules (which is why it’s important to keep an up-to-date will, especially if you’ve had any major changes to your circumstances, are going through separation, or are part of a co-habiting couple).

When dealing with wills and probate, it’s best to seek the help of a solicitor to help you apply for probate and deal with the administration involved – especially when property makes up part of the estate, as the situation can become complicated when dividing up shares in a property, or if there’s still money owed on the mortgage.

For example: if a property is jointly-owned and left to the surviving owner in the will, the ease of the process will depend on whether those named on the deeds are beneficial tenants or tenants in common. Beneficial tenants will automatically inherit the remaining share of property, while tenants in common will need to apply for probate or letters of administration.

If a property is being passed on as an asset and there is an outstanding mortgage, the lender may require the balance to be paid off immediately, or there may be an insurance, endowment, or mortgage protection policy in place to cover this. In many cases, the property is sold and the mortgage balance is paid from the proceeds, with any profit distributed according to the will.

It’s essential to get legal advice when dealing with any issues relating to a will, especially when there are complex issues such as property involved. Your solicitor should help you work through each aspect of probate and administration and help to take the weight off your shoulders. Get in touch with the team at Frances Lindsay & Co to discuss probate issues or assist you in drawing up your own professional will.

 

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