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Selling Property in Probate

A deceased person’s largest asset is frequently a house. Whenever loved ones list the home, they’re sometimes surprised to learn that probate is necessary. In such cases, the family and their realtor should have a general understanding of probate sales.

Selling a house through probate involves court supervision. Generally, the personal representative of the estate must first obtain the court’s permission. This requires notice (both by mail and publication) and a hearing. However, if the family is all in agreement, the court can waive these requirements.

Another important difference between a regular sale and one in probate is the representations and warranties the seller makes. In probate, the seller is the personal representative. Because the personal representative is acting on the estate’s behalf, he/she should not make any individual warranties or representations. Further, rather than a normal warranty deed, the buyer should receive a personal representative’s deed. A personal representative’s deed is a special type of deed that protects the personal representative and the estate from liability.

Lastly, due to the legal requirements, a 30-day close is not always possible in probate. Therefore, the realtor should condition the buyer to expect delays.

Selling a house through probate is not the ideal circumstance. Yet, with knowledgeable counsel and a little transparency, it need not get in the way of a successful sale.