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Selling a House in Probate: A Quick Look at the FAQs

Selling a property in probate

The process of selling a house in probate seems complicated. This is especially true for property owners that are not familiar with how the real estate market works.

But before we delve into the details of how the process works. Let’s explore the first question that comes to mind.

What is Probate?

The term “probate” describes the process of administering a deceased person’s property. It also refers to the legal process of reviewing a will to determine whether it’s valid and authentic.

Besides checking the will for validity, probate can also involve changing the title to the real estate property. It could also entail determining ownership of assets such as stocks, bonds, bank holding, and properties.

That brings us to a crucial question:

Can You Sell a House in Probate

The answer is an unequivocal yes! However, the court may not disperse the proceeds from the sale as you might imagine. Here’s why.

As the executor of an estate, you’re allowed to sell any real estate that the deceased owned to cover probate costs. Of course, that only applies if the dead person in question did not will the estate to any specific beneficiary.

After paying for probate and other estate debts, the court will then split the remaining profit among the heirs.

With that said, selling a house in probate is not a straightforward affair. You may have to face address challenges and queries during the entire sales process.

Here are some things to consider:

Selling a House in Probate: Four Vital Things to Consider

Image Credit: Harry Straus /
Outlined below are some of the most popular concerns when selling a property in probate.

Does Probate Cost Anything?

Since the legal system isn’t free, probate is not either.

The process is shorter when the court has a valid will. In such a case, probate only requires a specific court fee.

On the other hand, the probate process gets prolonged if there isn’t a valid will or the will is being challenged. As a result, it could incur an unreasonably high administrative cost.

Besides the probate cost, other expenses can include the funeral, taxes, debt on the property. Then, the court distributes the remaining property to the estate heirs and beneficiaries.

However, the California state laws will determine how to distribute the remaining property if a will is absent.

How Should I Pay for Probate Fees?

The quickest way to pay probate fees is to sell the property in question.

Again, you’re allowed to sell a property if the deceased did not will it to any beneficiary. Following the sales, it becomes easy to cover the probate fees and other estate debts.

That means buyers can extend an offer on the property on probate. Similarly, the property executors can accept an offer — even when the process is still in action.

With that said, the process is tedious and adheres to strict state guidelines. What’s more, the probate court monitors and approves the terms of sale.

Who May Receive Money from a Probate Process?

Dealing with a loved one’s death is traumatic enough. However, handling the parties scrambling for funds from an estate sale makes things even more challenging.

The individual who receive money from a probate process can include:

  • Creditors collecting their debts
  • Funeral-related vendors
  • Relevant federal and state taxes
  • Other estate debts

For the most part, the probate process is usually smooth sailing in most states. However, jurisdictions issues may occasionally pop up to hinder progress.

Wrapping Up: What Issues are Involved in a Probate House Sale?

Issues such as jurisdiction can complicate the affairs. That’s because the state laws of the property’s location govern the probate process.

For example, the deceased may have lived in Texas while owning a property in California. It means the state of California laws will govern the probate process.

In other words, the probate process happens wherever the property may be.

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