Clients sometimes ask us about how they can go about selling property during probate proceedings – is it even possible? What does it entail? In short, the answer is yes: you can sell property during probate. As always, however, the long answer is a bit more complicated, as it involves several important steps that are not to be missed.
If a piece of property is tied up in probate, and the descendent had a valid will, there will be an executor of the estate that would be responsible for selling the house. This executor must first get the consent of all of the will’s beneficiaries – without this consent, he or she cannot move forward with the sale.
Once the house is for sale, the executor, real estate agent, or any other interested party must keep in mind several important requirements:
- The executor must a) file notice of the sale with the court and b) mail the notice to all heirs under the will.
- The home cannot sell for less than 90% of the home’s appraised value. This, of course, means that the home will need to be appraised prior to the sale.
- The buyer is required to put down a deposit of at least 10% if his or her offer is accepted.
- The executor must provide at least 15 days for anyone (heirs, claimants, etc.) to challenge the sale.
If the sale does not abide by the terms above, the probate court can decide that the sale is invalid. If it does meet the requirements, the court will likely approve the sale through a hearing, which takes place approximately a month after the sale.
During this hearing, anyone from the public is allowed to place offers on the home. The court then accepts the highest bid, whether that is from the sale or from the public at the hearing. For some, this degree of uncertainty is nerve-wracking, while for others, it is exciting to know that there are multiple opportunities to secure high offers.
Ultimately, selling a home during probate means there will be more hurdles and more procedural requirements to keep in mind. Selling a house during probate takes much longer than it does outside of probate, and it requires patience and diligence throughout the process. With an experienced estate planning attorney, however, these hurdles are easier to navigate, and you can be sure that you are doing everything in your power to make sure the process goes smoothly.
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