Inheriting a property can be intimidating and seem like a lot of responsibility, especially if you already have your own home and are unsure what to do with the one you have just accrued.  Here’s what to do if you inherit a property and you’re unsure of the next steps. 


Think about what you want

It might seem like a stupid thing to say, but really thinking about what you want to do with the property before jumping into any decisions is key.  

Think about the property’s location, it’s worth and how much of a responsibility it would be for you to take on.  

Remember that properties require a lot of upkeep so if the building is left empty for a long period of time it might attract unwanted attention or lead to damage occurring. For example, a property left empty over winter could start to accumulate damp and water pipes could become frozen, resulting in bursts and lasting damage.  

Also consider the properties condition. Is it already in a state of disrepair? Would it cost a lot of money to fix up and do you have the funds to do so if needed?  


Consider the legalities

Think about how you have inherited the property and the type of paperwork that will need to be filed. Having a copy of the will to hand will help you understand exactly what you have inherited and how. You can request a solicitor gets involved and clearly explains the will and conditions of inheritance to you so that you know exactly what you are getting into. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the average time for probate as this will determine when you will receive the property.

If the property were in debt when the deceased passes, you might not be inheriting as much as you might think and would have to pay off the debts on the property before it becomes yours.  

Also, if you decide to keep the house and already own your own home, you’ll have to nominate one of the two as a second home and make your local tax office aware as you can only receive relief from capital gains tax on the home that you consider to be your main one.  


Other options

If you decide you want to sell the house, then you will need all the necessary paperwork to do so and will still need to have the property valuated by a surveyor. You will receive the money once the property is sold, minus any outstanding debt and unpaid bills. You can read a good article on selling an inherited property in Southern California, for you to know more about how to sell your property.

If you want to keep the property but can’t afford to run two homes, consider becoming a landlord and letting out the property. This way you will have full ownership but will receive monthly rent to help offset the costs of owning two properties.

You can also decide to keep the house in the family and add the property to your will and allow your children or grandchildren to inherit the property once you pass away.