Two men - Kung fu fighting - in normal dress


I have a quick question.

Can I sell the deceased’s home before receiving a grant of probate?



Dear Simon,

For all it’s alliterative beauty, there’s no such thing as a quick question.
But, I digest… deliberately.

When I was a lad, only big names, the stars super, the recognisable names, could get wealthy from sport. You had to be in the centre, or at least the penumbra, of such happenings as the Thriller in Manilla, and the Rumble in the Jungle to make serious money as a sports participant.
If you weren’t one of the top ten golfers or top tennis pros, if you weren’t one of the stars super,  the best, if precarious living you could otherwise make in sport would have been comparable to that of a  accountant of the top class, an army officer of the highest ranks, or even a top-flight barrister. Remember, BBC paid £1,000 for its first rights to broadcast football on TV. In those days you needed £4,000 to buy a pedestrian two-up, two-down in Carshalton.

When I were a lad, martial arts were the height of all fashions; ‘twas the trend that birthed Kung Fu the TV series, Carl Douglas’s song Kung-Fu Fighting in selling  more than 11 million copies topped the charts everywhere, and you might remember Hai Karate being the Lynx Africa of its day.  In so fertile an environment germinated the rumour of a Kyokushinkakin Knock Down Contest – this was one of those big purse, winner-take-all competitions. It wrapped itself in the cloak of the slightly soiling phrase last man standing.  That contest, like most of the day, was only open to men.

In the first, by your question I understand your query to be about selling a house—as a home cannot be seen, sequestered or sold.
Did not Burt Bacharach write a song since recorded by no fewer than thirty eight acts including 
Shirley Bassey, Ramsey Lewis and Lulu called A House is not a Home?

Naturally, you know what probate is – it is simply permission to dispose of the property of the deceased person. Without such permission, you can do nowt.

You wish to hand over the key and get the cash quickly, but of whose house do we speak? Whose house are you planning to sell? To whom did the house belong? Did the house belong to the deceased, was it owned with another person, was it owned with another person who has since died, or was it owned by a trust?

If the building was owned with someone else as joint tenants, notwithstanding the provisions of any will, the property would pass to the surviving co-owner. No ifs, no buts, no maybes, no perhapses. As the property now belongs to the survivor, it may be sold.  The conveyancer should seek sight of the death certificate, and there might be minor HM Land Registry formalities to endure, but you don’t need a grant of probate to sell such a property. This would not affect the inheritance tax position one way or the other.

Like with the lightly-famed Kyokushinkakin Knock Down Contest, in which the last one standing wins, if you’re the sole proprietor of a property, you don’t need permission from the courts, you don’t need the grant of probate to sell the property. In all other occasions, you need the grant of probate, or letters of administration, to sell the house.


A famed man of whom you’ve heard said: ‘we’re going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don’t think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job’ .

Simply click on the link to see how to do probate cost effectively.


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