Probate loophole closed by move online
The pandemic and moving applications online have caused further delays to the probate process. But that’s not the only headache beneficiaries and solicitors have had to deal with this year. We discuss why the computer is very definitely ‘saying no’ when it comes to selling properties left in wills before probate has been granted.
The issue was uncovered by Solicitors for the Elderly, a specialist group of lawyers, when one of its members was navigating their way through the new MyHMCTS system for a client.
As is often the case, a property had been put on the market before the grant of probate was received. After five months of waiting for the grant, the solicitor logged onto the system to see the following message:
“Unfortunately your request to expedite the grant was denied. We are no longer expediting cases due to house sales. We stress that properties or any assets should not be put on sale before the grant is issued.”
Dicky Davies, business development director for Tower Street Finance says: “This could cause particular problems for those liable for inheritance tax (IHT) and waiting for a house sale to go through before they miss the HMRC deadline. It will also have a knock-on effect on the housing market.
“We know a lot of people are keen to sell their property before the stamp duty holiday ends on 31 March 2021 and this development could mean they miss that deadline too – and be landed with yet another potentially steep tax bill.
“Both of our unique products, IHT Loan and Inheritance Advance, can help anyone who finds themselves in this situation. We can advance a proportion of a Beneficiary’s inheritance or the funds to pay IHT much sooner – without waiting for the grant of probate.”