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Selling house under POA to pay NH - mum now end of life! Not exchanged/completed

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Shabba, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Shabba

    Shabba Registered User

    Apr 9, 2016
    #1 Shabba, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
    Hi all, I'm all over the place at the mo. First week in Dec '16 accepted offer for mum's house, all going through with solicitors. With Xmas break probably a week or so behind normal (whatever normal is with conveyancing!), not heard anything yet but buyers have had survey done, all satisfactory, so hopefully going through the motions.

    This Tuesday nurse in mum's NH called me to one side to say mum seems to be generally deteriorating/not eating/losing weight etc., VD and AD seem to have gone a step down. I see mum every day and have noticed her getting worse this last few weeks. Nurse told me GP and her agree they think mum may have weeks-months. I am distraught, really feel this may be it. I feel so sad.

    But then I thought, oh goodness, what if she passes away before completion of house sale. How awful does it sound to say that, but its a practicality I've got to face. I know POA effectively ceases when mum dies; she has a will, myself and my brother are executors and beneficiaries 50/50. I know Probate will be required and IHT of a few thousand. Would we/solicitors be able to get a "fast track" probate to complete the house sale as personal representatives? Am worried if buyers pull out in this circumstance are we liable for their costs etc.

    What a bloomin worry on top of crying my eyes out about my lovely mum. Just goes to show when people on here ask "how long do you think PWD's life will be" - there really is no yardstick. Just a month or so ago mum was sat in lounge singing Christmas songs, laughing, eating choc! Now bedridden, asleep nearly all the time, and fading before my eyes. Thank you if anyone has any experience of this, and for taking the time to read
  2. carol4444

    carol4444 Registered User

    Feb 5, 2014
    Sorry to hear about your mum Shabba, It's a good thing you have been to see her every day. My mum is miles away so I only visit once a week. I am anticipating the same problem myself with my Dad's property. He is 92 and each time I visit I am amazed he is still holding on. The property will have to go on the market as I can't let things slide, this situation could go on for months. I'm hoping to gain some guidance too. I have a feeling that probate could go through in about six weeks so the buyers may well decide it's worth the wait. So sorry about your mum.

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  3. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    We got probate granted in 5weeks at the end of last year.
  4. Toddleo

    Toddleo Registered User

    Oct 7, 2015
    That's interesting Cat 27 and quite reassuring.
    I have no experience at all with these things and following mums very recent death, am going to endeavour to apply for probate and settle the estate myself with the assistance of google and the Gordon Rowley Probate book which someone on this site recommended.

    In response to Shabba's query I can only agree that there is no way of knowing how long someone will "bounce around on the bottom line" a term used by mum's consultant, sorry if it sounds harsh, but it sums up how she was quite well, alert then not at all alert and repeat.

    It transpired she was only on end of life care for 6 weeks, but I know there are many others whose LO's have been "end of life" for much, much longer.

    I hope that someone will be along to offer some practical advice and support.
  5. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    #5 arielsmelody, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
    My OH was in exactly this situation before Christmas - his mum had gone into a nursing home in August and he was dealing with the sale of her house as the person with LPA when she suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. He was also executor of her will. As it turned out, none of the solicitors/estate agents queried whether it was OK to continue dealing with him in the house sale. He instructed another solicitor to deal with probate, which took probably about six weeks to come through and the sale couldn't actually complete until he had probate, but apart from that - and obviously the emotional difficulty of dealing with everything at that point in time - it all went smoothly.

    The one complication he didn't expect is that the solicitor dealing with probate wrote to the banks and closed down all his mum's bank accounts without warning him, so he wasn't able to get final bank statements or make sure there was enough money available to pay outstanding utility bills on the house.

    I don't think you are liable for the buyer's costs if they decide to pull out. It might be a good idea to have as short a time between exchange and completion as possible just in case your mum passed at that exact time, but that would be something to discuss with your solicitors.

    All my sympathy for you and your mum - its such a difficult time, and with all the stress and worry about the house sale, you have so much to cope with at the moment.
  6. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Have a word with your solicitor/conveyancer.

    Who is currently deemed to be selling the house? You or your mum? If you are named as the seller- and when all is said and done, you'll be the one signing on the dotted line.

    As long as the sale money is declared ( should the worst happen) I cannot see that a physical property, or the value of it makes a great deal of difference.

    The only downside is, a probate valuation of a property is often lower than a market valuation, hence your IT liability is less.
  7. nicoise

    nicoise Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010
    #7 nicoise, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
    Actually, the solicitor was correct to do this - once the donor of the LPA has died, the LPA no longer exists, and all powers of attorney cease.

    Accessing accounts after the person has died is not legal, unless the account is a joint one. The executor can be given statements by banks to help fill out probate and tax forms - perhaps in your case the solicitor was acting as executor?

    So it is perfectly normal to close accounts, and utilities etc are used to having to wait for final settlement of their bills until after probate has been granted. Funeral bills and tax can be paid directly from those accounts, however.
  8. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    If your mother dies post contract exchange and pre completion, I can't see there will be a problem. If she dies pre contract exchange, I'd just explain it to the buyers and get probate as fast as you can. Probate doesn't have to take that long, it's really dependent on how quickly third parties reply to questions so you can fill in the form. You can use sensible estimates. If I were you, I'd call the probate and IHT help lines now so you're not starting at the beginning in those awful first days of loss. Explain the problem and ask them what they'll accept in the way of estimates. You can submit an amended return when you have exact figures for e.g. income tax repayment, but at least you'll have a Grant to enable you proceed with the house sale. On the subject of valuation, the probate value is supposed to be an open market value. People try to pitch it lower to save inheritance tax, but the Capital Taxes office of the Revenue expect you to have an independent valuation done and will argue the toss if they don't agree with it. That said, as the house is under offer, you'd use that value anyway.
  9. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Speak to your solicitor.... I'm fairly sure that you will be able to buy an Indemnity Insurance to cover the eventuality of Death before Completion for not very much money This would remove this particular panic.

    Good Luck, it's not an easy time.x.x
  10. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    That would actually give you the biggest headache. If you have exchanged contracts you will at that point have agreed a completion date. If you can't comply with that date because sadly your mum has passed away and you can no longer transfer the house under the POA then the buyers are going to have contractual rights against your mum's estate for any losses incurred . They might for example have exchanged contracts on their related sale and the whole chain will be held up until you get Probate. Whilst the Buyers might be sympathetic people down the chain might not be.

    I would speak to your solicitor and instruct them not to exchange contracts until the day of completion.
  11. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    I handled both applying for probate myself and house sale after FIL died. Tbh from my own house sales and selling dads house last year if the survey has only just been carried out the process seems still to be in early stage. Average 4 months for dads house with no complications just solicitors dragging things out. However when I put FIL house on the market it was with probate applied for but not yet received which apparently is common practice the agent said and this was made clear to viewers. Probate came through in 5 weeks. So long as everyone is aware and the buyer sticks with the purchase once they have been informed other than your legal commitment after exchange being clarified to you by your solicitor now and I think I have heard of the indemnity option I can't see there being a problem providing in the event of your mums death you are named as executor to handle her estate.
  12. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    I doubt this very much - there are lots of risks in the conveyancing process you can cover with an indemnity but I've never come across a policy that would cover delayed completion because the seller has passed away. Please speak to your solicitor.
  13. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    And if there was such a policy I think the premium for a seller with a poor prognosis would be more than the potential cost of self insuring.
  14. lemonjuice

    lemonjuice Registered User

    Jun 15, 2016
    #14 lemonjuice, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
    Wise to be prepared just in case, but believe me just because your Mum's taken a downturn, doesn't mean she won't improve again.

    18 months ago my mother was losing weight, not eating, sleeping all the time and when I talked to the Home they said they doubted my mother would be here for much longer. Dr stopped all medications over 2 years ago and prescribed a 'just-in-case' emergency pain relief pack.
    Thinking about how her money was dwindling, I remember going to the manager to ask what she thought and she said it was extremely unlikely that she'd be around in 12 months. However pick up she did and although she has had various relapses, but is now even beginning to gain weight.:confused: That's 18 months later.

    We could have similar problems with sorting out house, but the way I view it, is to be upfront with the estate agency and vendors. Because it may never happen that way and everything will run smoothly.

    It really is such a roller-coaster. And certainly has its own challenges. Even those with experience are still working somewhat in the dark. Even at 'last stage' when death could be expected at any time' doesn't mean to say it will actually happen soon.
  15. Angie1996

    Angie1996 Registered User

    May 15, 2016
    I had the same problem, had my dads flat up for sale since September, sadly he passed away in December and I am now doing probate theory Solictor, he advised leave it on the market and advise potential buyers that they would have to wait whilst probate is going through. So I am just waiting now.... if a buyer comes up they will be advised of the situation.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  16. Shabba

    Shabba Registered User

    Apr 9, 2016
    Thank you for replying Carol4444. Sorry to hear about your circumstances too. Its all such a minefield isn't it, at such an emotional time anyway. But as always such good advice from the lovely people on here. Take care
  17. Shabba

    Shabba Registered User

    Apr 9, 2016
    Thank you Cat27
  18. Shabba

    Shabba Registered User

    Apr 9, 2016
    Thank you for replying. Yes I agree, last August mum was "critical" for 48hrs with really bad UTI, unresponsive etc., but bounced back. Its a rollercoaster for sure. Take care
  19. carol4444

    carol4444 Registered User

    Feb 5, 2014
    Hi Shabba, I've been googling about the problem and it does seem that the estate could be liable for unforeseen expenses incurred by the delay. Must admit, I like the idea of exchange/completion happening on the same day. I appreciate all the responses that came through, better to be aware of any pitfalls. I hope it all goes well for you.

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  20. Shabba

    Shabba Registered User

    Apr 9, 2016
    Thank you for replying, really informative and yes its such a difficult time getting your head around everything, I'm just worrying about everything at the moment my mind is scrambled! Take care

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