Selling a deceased estate can be a daunting and complex process. For many people it follows the death of a last surviving parent, making it a very emotional time as well. However the right knowledge and support will help make a challenging time easier to handle.
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions relating to deceased estates in Australia (and specific requirements for WA).
What is probate and how do you apply for it?
Probate is a certificate granted in WA by the Probate Office of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. It means that the deceased’s Will has been proved as valid and registered, and that the executor (the person nominated to administer the Will) has been granted authority to administer the deceased estate. Probate can be applied for at any time after 14 days from the death of your loved one. It generally takes around 4 weeks to come through.
What do you do once probate has been granted?
Once probate has been granted, you (assuming you are the executor of the Will) are responsible for distributing the estate to beneficiaries according to your loved one’s wishes. As executor you are also responsible for hiring deceased estate lawyers and a real estate agent to ensure everything is done legally and with complete transparency.
Can you sell the property before probate is granted?
No. However, many people like to sell as quickly as possible after probate is granted, especially if there are multiple beneficiaries, such as inheriting property with siblings. So it is a good idea to set the wheels in motion by obtaining an appraisal and selecting an agent to work with.
Can a beneficiary buy the house?
If there is a partial distribution of the estate and you are one of the beneficiaries, you can buy the house if you can afford it, as long as none of the other beneficiaries object. It is often not advised however because it can cause disputes between family members and disputes are always best avoided in deceased estate matters.
Do you have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the sale of a deceased estate?
If you sell the property within 2 years you can usually avoid Capital Gains Tax. That’s why selling within that timeframe makes sense to gain maximum value from the inheritance.
Click here for more information on probate from the State Government Public Trustee, which includes a link to the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
If you are selling a property you have inherited, contact us to guide you through the process. Rest assured we will do so with the utmost professionalism and care every step of the way.