Can I clear a house before probate?

No, you cannot clear a house before probate. If a loved one or close relative dies, you must obtain the grant of probate to settle the estate before you can clear the house or go through their belongings. Getting a grant of probate gives you the legal right to deal with a deceased’s assets such as their property, money, or valuable possessions, otherwise known as their "estate" after they die. 

Why can’t you clear a house before getting probate?

You can’t clear a house before probate is granted because the deceased’s house may contain valuable assets or items like cash, jewellry, or antiques. The court seeks to prevent such valuable items from being stolen or sold before probate is granted because it means that the beneficiaries of the Will may not receive what they are entitled to. 

The executor of the deceased’s estate is personally responsible for protecting and preserving the estate's assets. If anything is lost or stolen before or during the probate procedure, the executor may be held legally liable for any loss in value. 

However, in some circumstances, you can clear a house before probate. For instance, where a house is considered a non-probate asset, meaning you do not need to apply for probate perhaps because the property title has already been transferred into someone else’s name or where a home is jointly owned.

What can be done before probate is granted?

An executor can do the following after the death of the deceased before probate is granted:

1. Take inventory of all the assets: This is the first step in identifying and locating all the deceased's assets and debts to determine the estate's value. The executor must create a thorough inventory of the deceased person's estate. This includes gathering all relevant documents, such as property deeds and bank statements, and finding out all the details of the money owed to the estate.

2. Secure and manage the assets: The executor is responsible for securing and managing the deceased's assets and must ensure that no property is lost before or during probate until it can be distributed to the beneficiaries. 

3. Apply for probate: To start the probate procedure, the executor must apply for a grant of probate to allow them to distribute and handle the estate. 

How Can GloverPriest Help?

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on a Will, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form. 

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