When a will must be apportioned between various parties, it can occasionally throw up financial hurdles. Taking over the management of the deceased party’s affairs is not always straightforward, and it might be necessary to restructure their finances in order to streamline the probate resolution process. In these situations a form of fast, flexible finance is required, and bridging provides the perfect solution; by presenting a fully adaptable form of funding, bridging lenders can structure loans that meet their clients needs perfectly and resolve their probate issues.
A bridging loan is a form of secured finance, which means that the loan value is guaranteed against the assets used as collateral. This therefore allows the lender to reclaim their initial loan through the sale of these assets if the borrower should fail to repay the loan in full, and an inappropriate bridging loan can do more harm than good. For this reason it’s imperative that anyone considering bridging loans as a form of probate finance consults their financial adviser before doing so in order to ensure it is the correct option for their situation.
Carrying out someone’s will is not always as straightforward as we might like. Although the ownership of their various assets might be easy enough to resolve, the average person will also develop a network of debts and credits which must also be resolved in their will, and the pressures that these exert on the estate’s executors can sometimes force compromises. An outstanding debt, for instance, might need paying imminently, which can force the sale of valuable assets at less than market value - not an ideal outcome for the will’s executors. As well as resolving outstanding debts, many estates will also be liable for inheritance tax in the UK, which necessitates liquidating many valuable assets quickly.
Because there are several different financial pressures which can come into play when resolving a deceased person’s will, it’s often necessary to take out a loan that covers shortfalls in payment. Bridging finance is ideal for this purpose, as it allows a person’s family a little bit of breathing space; they can use the loan to pay off debts instead of being forced to sell assets as quickly as possible. Bridging lenders are also highly flexible and very fast to put solutions in place; there’s no red tape, and it’s possible to create a loan structure that’s perfectly suited to individual circumstances.
In many ways, a bridging loan for probate finance is very similar to a standard bridging loan. The loan will generally be for a short fixed term, commonly less than 12 months (though longer terms are available), and can be of any value from tens of thousands to tens of millions of pounds. A bridging loan must be secured against an asset, and though property is the most common asset used as collateral it is not the only asset that can be used; specialist probate financiers accept everything from designer handbags and fine wines to classic cars as collateral.
We can examine a typical probate bridging loan scenario to demonstrate how bridging finance plays a vital role. Let’s say the estate consists of a fairly large home (without a mortgage) worth £600,000 on the market. Upon death, the deceased’s inheritors decide to put the property up for sale, but one of the inheritors is very keen to sell at any price; they want to accept an offer from a developer for substantially less than market value. If the house were to be put on the market it could sell for £600,000, but one of the inheritors will happily take the £400,000 that the developers are offering, as they need the money quickly.
A bridging loan is an excellent choice in this situation. Because the estate stands to lose a lot of value by selling quickly, the inheritors would do much better by waiting a few months. In order to resolve the short-term requirements of one of the inheritors, a bridging loan can be secured against the property to meet their ongoing needs. In this way a bridging loan satisfies all parties; those who are keen to sell can have their money quickly, and those who are content to wait are able to maximise the sale price of the property. Although it will usually cost several thousand pounds to take out a bridging loan for this amount, the inheritors stand to make £200,000 more from the sale of the property simply by waiting a few months to sell it.
Bridging finance is also very helpful for resolving the debts of an estate. If the deceased person should have outstanding financial issues that require resolution, a bridging loan can be used to quickly satisfy creditors. In these situations, the only other option would be to rapidly liquidate the estate in order to repay outstanding loans, which would result in a less than satisfactory sale price.
Many estates in the UK become liable for inheritance tax, which must be paid within 6 months. This is often a large bill, as the Government requires a 40% share of the estate upon liquidation, and although it may be paid in instalments this is commonly a difficult payment to make. Again, this financial pressure can be eased through the use of bridging finance, as it enables the will’s executors to restructure and refinance to meet the cost of inheritance tax.
Without bridging finance it would be very difficult to resolve the financial affairs that can be brought about in a deceased person’s will. The time pressures that quickly become apparent would require that many estates be quickly broken down and sold, rather than being realised at their full value. Bridging loans are therefore a helpful tool that enables individuals to pass on their wealth through generations, and allows inheritors to benefit more from their parent’s estates.
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