Probate of your relative's assets can last months and sometimes longer than a year. Meanwhile, you’re wanting to sell that piece of property you’ve inherited.
You’re probably wondering, can you sell an inherited property before probate? Wouldn’t that make things so much easier and faster? You know the property is coming to you eventually, so why not just go ahead and sell it?
Well, not so fast. We are going to go over some legal procedures that you need to follow when selling property that you have inherited.
Otherwise, you may end up in an even bigger legal mess than just probate. This waiting for the probate to finish is tough enough as it is, so let’s not make it more complicated.
So, Can You Sell an Inherited Property Before Probate?
The short answer is no. You don’t own the property until the probate process finishes. That means you don’t have a right to sell the property until the entire probate process gets finished.
The longer answer is yes, technically you can, you just have to get creative in how you go about it. Don’t worry, we are going to go over the basics of the probate process and how you can go about selling that property.
There are three main phases to the probate process. There is the pre-petition phase, administration phase, and closing phase.
During this phase, the court hasn’t named the executor or personal representative yet. That means you have no legal right to take any actions with the estate property.
This is the time to prep all of the needed documents. You’ll need to provide a death certificate, will, and a petition form.
During this time, you can’t do anything with the property other than maintaining it. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck though! Stay with us and we’ll give you a solution to how you can start the sale process.
During this phase, the court appoints the executor or a representative. All of the deceased person’s debts will need to be taken care of.
You will also need to take inventory of all of their assets. Once the debts are paid and the tangible property gets distributed, you can move to the closing phase.
A final accounting will get filed with the court outlining all of the financial steps taken during the administration phase. You’ll include the inventory of belongings you created and all debts paid.
Any remaining funds then get used in order to pay attorney and court fees. If there are still funds remaining after this, they get distributed to beneficiaries.
What You Can Do
What you can do is work with a real estate agent who is experienced in dealing with property that is going through probate. The agent will work with you to fix the property up.
They can then work to find a potential buyer who can make an offer. Just be sure that the buyer understands that the sale will be delayed and totally dependent on the completion of the probate process.
If there is money owed on a mortgage or other creditor that is tied to the property then those debts need to get settled. You may end up paying these debts out of the sale of the property.
The executor will need to track down the creditors to negotiate a payoff. This will be especially useful if the mortgage or debt owed is more than what the property is worth.
Sometimes a family member will pass away without designating an heir for a particular piece of property. In this case, the court will order that the executor or a court-appointed person sell the property. This following process might vary slightly from state to state.
The probate court will then take the proceeds from the sale and distribute it among the heirs. If this is your situation it is important to follow proper procedures.
You will need to get an appraisal by an independent appraiser. Then you’ll file a petition the court with how you intend to sell the property and the appraisal.
Once the court approves, put the property up for sale. When you come to an agreement with a potential buyer, submit the agreement to the court for approval.
You’ll need to advertise the sale in the newspaper. This gives you the opportunity to get the most amount of money for the property.
This then leads to an overbidding process. This is essentially an auction that gets run by the court.
Once the bidding is completed, the winner will submit a cashier’s check for the property. They sign the closing contract and exchange money.
Sell Your Property
Can you sell an inherited property before probate? Now you know that the general answer is no. There are ways you can work around the general rule though.
If you have any doubts or questions about the legality of your selling inherited property, you should consult an attorney. They can help walk you through your state’s specific probate laws.
Now if you decide to do the workaround, or sell an uninherited property you may want to sell it quickly. This means finding a buyer right away instead of leaving the property on the market.
A cash home buyer like Easy Outs Homes can buy your property fast and without unnecessary stress. Let yourself focus on what’s important while we take care of your property. We can make you a fair offer in just 24 hours for your property.
Contact us today to help you get started selling your inherited home before probate.
Are there circumstances where you could rightfully and legally sell a house outside of probate?
A living trust, also referred to as a revocable trust, is one way to manage assets without going through probate. A trustee (typically the person who owns the property, as well as a co-trustee in the event of your death) manages the property as you direct for your benefit, or for your beneficiaries. A trust also can provide for the distribution of property upon your death.
“If a trust owns your titled assets, they don’t go through probate,” Brislawn said.