Pros and cons of transferring property of my deceased mother into my own name. Need help please.

Hello all. I need advice about pros and cons of transferring property of my deceased mother into my own name. Her mortgage was paid off years ago. I understand that if it is kept in her name, I can get a refund on the council tax for a 6 month period after probate? (I know there is none to pay while probate was ongoing ).

I have just received probate and so am wondering what the pros and cons of the above are.

Am I correct in thinking that if I hold off on transferring the property to my name, I don’t have to pay council tax? I read that on an empty property that is unoccupied and still in the original homeowners name I could qualify for a council tax exemption on this property. But if I transferred to my own name now, I would have to pay council tax.

Is this correct?

I am trying to save some money from my mum’s estate (just a few thousand) My plan is to sell property next year and just before doing so, only then transfer it into my name.

Are there any issues with doing things this way?

I am in England

Comments

  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,502
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    Why do you want to transfer it into your own name at all?

    Why do you want to wait to sell the property? insurance, electricity, maintenance, garden and possible council tax exemption running out usually mean it makes sense to go to market ASAP.

  • The solicitor asked if we wanted to transfer into our own name and we just assumed that was the done thing.

    There are various reasons why we cannot sell it until next spring / summer.  I just wanted some clarity on what I posted above and if is is correct. IE that on an empty property that is unoccupied and still in the original homeowners name I could qualify for a council tax exemption on this property. But if I transferred to my own name now, I would have to pay council tax.

    Is this indeed the case?

    Do I even need to put the property in my name when I sell it next year?   If I don't, can this cause complications when we come to sell?  Any help would be very much appreciated.
  • Dave_5150
    Dave_5150 Posts: 244
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    There is no need to put the property into your name if you are planning to sell it soon. It will get transferred into the buyers name as part of the conveyancing for the sale.
  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,502
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    edited 18 October 2023 at 4:55PM
    I've sold 2 properties in deceased people's names. It's not issue at all (you'll have to provide death certificate) and obviously the solicitor will require proof that you are required to sell the property e.g. probate and id.

    The rules of each local authority are different so it's not possible to say what your local authority will do without knowing which one it is but I would have thought the information was publicly available.

    If you put it in your name it may cause complications if you wanted to be a first time buyer.
    there are also CGT considerations although this is highly unlikely in the current market/timescale you are looking at.

    If you are using a solicitor to transfer rather than doing it yourself then obviously there would be their costs to pay in addition.

    A minor point, but you might find bin and tip collection difficult if you're using bins to clear the house and the property is in the name of someone living outside the area. Again it depends on the local authority.
    We had many months worth of bin collections at my late Dad's property.
  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,445
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    edited 18 October 2023 at 5:37PM
    Most councils now charge the full amount of CT for empty property and if it has been empty for over 2 years they can actually charge double. It doesn't matter in whose name the property is.
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • lr1277
    lr1277 Posts: 1,613
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    If you are trying to save money please don't skimp on paying for power or insurance.
    If the property is empty, and you haven't already done so:
    turn off the water
    Also keep the heating on at a minimum over the colder weather period.
    I hope you or your mother's estate is paying for building's insurance.
    If the house is destroyed/damaged or falls down before you sell, that will be a lot more expensive than paying a few bills.
  • lisyloo
    lisyloo Posts: 29,502
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    With insurance it’s worse than that ( as I told my step-sister haha).
    if you are executor and there are other beneficiaries then you would be liable.
    so if you didn’t take insurance and the house burnt down it would be quite expensive.
  • Ratkin007
    Ratkin007 Posts: 115
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    Gov.uk website says

    When you do not pay Council Tax

    If you’re selling a property on behalf of an owner who’s died, you do not need to pay Council Tax until after you get probate as long as the property remains empty. After probate is granted, you may be able to get a Council Tax exemption for another 6 months if the property is both:

    • unoccupied
    • still owned and in the name of the person who died
    However a local authority website says "
    An empty property will be exempt from council tax when the property is:  
    • Part of the estate of a person who has died, for up to 6 months after the grant of probate or letters of administration, unless probate determines ownership"
    You should be able to find specific information on the relevant local authority website.
  • Thanks for all your replies. Very helpful.

    We already have empty house insurance in place and will turn the heating on next week on at 15 degrees throughout the winter.

    Will get the water turned off. Is this done at the mains, stop cocks or both?

    This is what kicked this whole question off just FYI:

    You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax on an empty home, but your council can decide to give you a discount - the amount is up to them. Contact your council to ask about a discount.

    from:
    https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/second-homes-and-empty-properties
  • lr1277
    lr1277 Posts: 1,613
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    edited 18 October 2023 at 10:50PM
    I turned the water off at the stopcock. Didn't know you could turn it off at the mains.

    Edited to add: when I had an empty property that was on the market, I visited it once a week to make sure the heading was still on and there was nothing untoward. But then this was in a flat so I didn't have separate buildings insurance. Your buildings insurance policy may specify how often the property needs to be checked.
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