Probate is one of the most stressful situations for sellers to go through. In addition to the dealing with the passing of a loved one, the legal process is often confusing. In this article, we will share with you some not commonly known information about how selling a house in probate works.
What Probate Is
According to Investopedia (Link word: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/probate.asp), probate is the legal process in which a will is reviewed to determine whether it is valid and authentic. Many people have the misconception that as long as someone passes away with a will, probate is not necessary. Unfortunately, this is not true as probate will be required to sell an inherited house regardless of the status of a will.
In order for the assets (oftentimes a house and some retirement accounts) of an estate to be managed, sold, distributed, etc, there needs to be a decision maker. This decision maker is know here in Florida as a personal representative of the estate. This is generally one of the heirs (husband, wife, sons, daughters) of the loved one who has passed away.
Usually, before the personal representative can move forward with selling an inherited house, probate needs to be finished. This means that all of the debts of the person who passed away need to be accounted for and resolved. The inheritance progress is put on hold for 30 days while creditors are given a period to come forward and file a claim against the estate.
After all the creditors have had time to come forward and the debts are paid, the remaining assets may be inherited. Once this is complete, the property being inherited may now be sold. After a property is inherited, the courts and attorneys have no influence on the property being sold. This means you, as the new homeowner, are free to sell the house just as you would any other house.
Probate can take 3 months, it can take a full year. Situations vary when it comes to things such as: multiple beneficiaries, multiple assets, clouded titles, creditors, responsive/unresponsive attorneys, and more.
Trusts will help you to avoid probate when it comes to inheriting real estate. We strongly recommend the use of trusts such as living trusts, land trusts, personal property trusts, and more. Some attorneys will charge tens of thousands to set up trusts and some only a couple hundred dollars for certain trusts. We would be glad to refer you to local, trustworthy, and not ridiculously expensive trust attorneys to help you with trusts.
Please keep in mind that probate is a legal process and this article is only to provide general information. Some information may be technically inaccurate since understanding probate laws is complex, and we are not attorneys.
We hope this article has helped provide perspective to dealing with probate. If you are inheriting a house and are considering selling it, give us a call! We would appreciate the opportunity to buy the house and would enjoy more the opportunity to help you and make a difference.