Exploring the possibility of selling a house during the probate process? We specialize in purchasing properties for cash, even those that have to go through probate.
Navigating the sale of a house in probate can be a complex journey. Numerous legal steps must be taken before the property becomes eligible for probate sale. Even after finding a buyer, there are additional paperwork requirements to fulfill.
Whether you’re a personal representative (i.e., executor) seeking guidance on the probate process or a family member exploring the potential benefits of a sale, this guide is designed to provide valuable insights. It covers everything from the fundamental steps to initiate the process to managing property repairs and obtaining probate sale approval. Keep in mind that probate laws vary from state to state, so seeking professional advice is recommended for specific information relevant to your state.
Understanding Probate Property
Probate property refers to assets left behind by a deceased individual that must undergo the probate process. The probate process is a court-supervised proceeding that is initiated to distribute the assets of a deceased. These assets can include real estate, cars, stocks, jewelry, and more. In this article, the primary focus is on selling properties that are in probate.
Can a House Be Sold During Probate?
Yes, a house can be sold while going through the probate process. The sale of probate houses follows similar procedures to traditional real estate transactions. This can involve working with a real estate agent using standard marketing strategies or opting for a faster, hassle-free sale through a cash buyer like LPI Home Buyers (Sell It To The Brit).
However, selling a probate property is a nuanced process. The proceeds from the sale may not be distributed as expected, considering potential debts owed by the deceased. Probate expenses, estate debts, and taxes may have to be deducted before the remaining funds are divided among the heirs.
How Does a Probate Sale Work?
The probate sale process often involves two different approaches, formal probate and summary probate. The relevant steps are outlined below.
Formal Probate Administration
- Filing of Probate Forms: To start the probate, the personal representative or surviving spouse must complete and file necessary probate forms with the court, including the Petition for Administration (which is the petition to open the estate).
- Appointment of Executor: After the probate petition is filed and the probate case is opened, designate an executor or personal representative, either as per the deceased’s will or through court assignment.
- Issuance of Letters of Testamentary (or Letters of Administration): Once the executor is appointed, the judge will issue Testamentary Letters granting the executor the right to manage the deceased’s assets.
- Petition to Sell the Property: A Petition to Sell Real Property is then filed with the probate court, attaching the purchase contract.
- Court Hearing and Approval of Sale: After the petition is filed with the probate court, the judge will sign an order approving the sale. The heirs can then move forward with the sale of the property.
Summary Probate (the Shortened Form of Probate)
- Filing of Probate Forms: The first step is to complete and file the necessary probate forms with the court, including the petition to open the estate. The appointment of an executor is not needed with a summary administration. This saves time and money.
- File Other Necessary Affidavits and Pleadings: The court may require other documents to be filed, including the death certificate and the original Last Will & Testament. Certain affidavits are also filed, such an affidavit to prove homestead.
- Obtain court order: With the shortened form of probate, court approval is often not required. The closing of the sale of the property just takes place as soon as the probate is completed.
Different states have different requirements for the shortened form of probate. In many states, in order to qualify for the shortened form of probate, the value of the assets must not exceed a certain level or the deceased must have passed away some time ago so that creditor claims are now barred.
Ways to Sell a Probate Property
Once the court approves the sale of a probate house (or in a shortened probate, once you obtain the final order of probate administration), consider the following options to expedite the sale process:
- Real Estate Agent: Collaborate with a real estate agent to list your property.
- Real Estate Investor: Engage with a real estate investor who may buy and renovate the property, offering either cash or securing a mortgage.
- Cash Home Buyer: Opt for a cash buyer who can provide immediate cash for the property without the need for loans or mortgages, simplifying the process.
Duration of a Probate Sale
The length of a probate is often based on the number of heirs, how quickly the heirs signed required documentation, and the number of assets and creditors. The shortened form of probate may take as little as 1 month or as long as 6 months. The longer form of probate (a formal administration) often takes at least 3-6 months, or longer. This is why during a formal administration, a court petition is filed seeking approval of the sale (so that the property can be sold even before the probate is completed).
While probate sales may take a bit longer than traditional real estate transactions, working with a reputable cash buyer can expedite the process.
Addressing Repairs for Probate Properties
Probate properties often require repairs before being marketed. The executor and relatives are typically responsible for covering these expenses. If repair costs pose challenges, selling to a cash buyer who doesn’t require property repairs can be a viable option.
Work With LPI Home Buyers (Sell It To The Brit)
Selling probate property can be a financially and emotionally tolling process. We can help ensure a hassle-free process and can even help you with probate fees. We have helped many homeowners with the probate process.
If opting for a cash home buyer, reach out to us at LPI Home Buyers (Sell It To The Brit) for a competitive cash offer and assistance with closing costs. We buy As-Is and you won’t have to pay any Realtor commissions.