What to Know When You Want to Sell a House in Probate

The passing of a loved one is always a difficult event, often unfortunately made more challenging by the many responsibilities that follow a death. Making arrangements for a funeral is a stressful affair that can consume a large amount of your time and energy. For some family members, the process doesn’t end with the conclusion of a memorial service. Have you been named a beneficiary in the Will of the deceased, or have you been placed in the role of executor?

Administering an individual’s estate can be its own complicated process. If you received property or have control over properties in the estate, you may wish to dispose of it as quickly as possible. You may not want to retain and live in the home, for example, or it may be quite distant from your present location. Whatever the reason for your need to sell the property, the fact that it is attached to an estate creates a complicating factor. The home is said to be “in probate” — and that means meeting some special conditions to sell.

Understanding What Probate Means

Although the term can seem abstract, “probate” simply refers to the overall process involved in settling the estate of the deceased. This includes determining what assets belong to the estate and who the beneficiaries are. Individuals who pass away without a legal will leave behind estates that must go through a more complex probate process in which the law determines who has the authority to receive and dispose of the assets.

The probate process also includes the valuation of the entire estate, including the property in question, for the purposes of determining if the estate will owe inheritance tax. Only after you’ve reached the stage of paying inheritance tax (if applicable) can you move on to the step where you can do anything with the assets. Ultimately, the end of the probate process occurs when all the estate’s debts have been settled and all beneficiaries agree to a final distribution of any remaining funds and assets.

Can I Sell a Property in Probate

Yes, but not right away. To sell a house in probate, you will need an official type of permission known as the Grant of Probate. In some jurisdictions, you may find this called the Grant of Representation instead. The Grant of Probate establishes that you have the right to liquidate assets within the estate as necessary while also signalling that you’ve met your initial legal and tax obligations. Because all estates with real property must go through the probate process, it is not possible to skip straight to selling the home without first receiving the Grant of Probate. Without it, you don’t have the legal authority to draw up the necessary contracts to start the sale of the property you’ve inherited.

How Long Does It Take to Get Permission to Sell a House in Probate?

The answer to this question depends on many factors. However, expect the process to take some time. Even the most basic estate will still leave you waiting a while to sell a house in probate, both because there are ministerial functions that must take place and because there are often many properties in probate at any given time. Typically, the most common period you can expect to deal with is at least six to eight weeks. For exceptionally large and complex estates, the time it takes to receive the Grant of Probate could balloon to multiple months as it takes time to establish valuations and calculate the necessary estate tax. In some special cases, probate courts may issue the Grant more quickly. However, it is best to plan for a more extended period rather than a shorter one.

What Information Do I Need to Have?

As you prepare to sell a house while in probate, you will need to provide your solicitor with a range of documentation to make the final application for the Grant. Some of the paperwork you need may have been in the possession of the deceased, while others you will receive in the course of managing their estate. For example, you will need to supply the official death certificate as part of the probate process, as well as the original Will created by your loved one. Financial statements, property deeds, and any other information related to the property itself may be necessary to make your filing. Speak with your preferred solicitor to learn more about how to apply for your Grant of Probate.

Is There a Faster Way to Sell a House in Probate?

Once you have a Grant of Probate, you can list the property for sale and begin considering offers. However, the traditional selling process can be quite time consuming — a problem when you may not live in the area and cannot easily maintain or secure the property. While there is little you can do to speed up the actual probate process, you can consider working with a cash buyer instead. Although not every property buying business has the best reputation, the right research and investigation can reveal options that will let you quickly convert a property into cash soon after receiving a Grant. The ideal service will provide a thorough look at the market value of the property but won’t engage in pressure tactics designed to leave you with a bad deal.

Find More Flexible Options Today

With Fair & Fast House Buyers, property owners can access a trustworthy and proven resource for cash home sales backed up by an established real estate business. By taking the time necessary to formulate fair and realistic offers based on the home and local market conditions, we provide sellers with a legitimate option for disposing of an inherited property speedily. We’re even happy to prepare your offer while you await the Grant of Probate — and we never require you to sign strange agreement forms that leave you in doubt about the status of the property. Learn more about our services, or contact us to make arrangements to receive an offer in the form below.

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