Selling real estate during the probate process need not be an overwhelming process. There are two common ways in which real estate owned by an estate is sold. These are engaging the services of a real estate agent and putting the property on the market for sale as well as auctioning off the property.
Before you take specific steps to plan an estate sale, you need to take care of all of the legalities associated with the probate process. What will be necessary in regard to probating the estate (taking care of the legalities) depends on a number of factors that include:
- State where the individual died
- Size or value of the deceased individual’s estate
- Whether or not there is a last will and testament
- Whether there is a living spouse (oftentimes all of the property passes directly to the spouse)
- Whether a simplified or “full-blown” probate process will be necessary
- Whether the estate includes real estate
Depending on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the estate, and applicable laws, you may need to “open” an estate in court and undertake a variety of legally required tasks because you can proceed with an estate sale. These steps may include filing the will with the court, taking an inventory of the assets and debts of the estate, and obtaining authority to proceed with the estate sale. That authority comes in the form of letters of executorship if there is a will or letters of personal representative or administrator if there is no will.
If there is real estate that needs to be sold as part of the probate process, a specific order from the court allowing a sale to occur may be needed. The court order may permit real estate to be sold through an auction or placed on the open market.
Due to the inherent complexities associated with probate and estate law, you best address the legal tasks that are preliminary to an estate sale with the assistance of a skilled, experienced probate lawyer.
Once the legal niceties are tied up, the next step in selling probate real estate is engaging the services of a real estate agent. An agent can assist both in putting probate real estate on the market for a direct sale as well as with an estate sale through which real estate will be auctioned.
In conclusion, if you want to sell or buy real estate from an estate, engaging the services of a real estate professional can assist you in all stages of the process. Not only does a real estate professional understand the ins and outs of selling or buying probate property, but he or she has access to other professionals who provide services needed in the probate real estate sales process.