Everything you need to know about the probate house sale process
When a person dies, it’s important that their estate is dealt with efficiently by those listed as beneficiaries. This means closely following and understanding the legalities that might crop up along the way; this legal process is called probate. In this article, we’ve outlined what the probate house sale is, as well as the extent to which the designated executor can take the sale into their own hands.
In this article:
- What is the probate house sale process?
- How long does an executor have to sell a house?
- Can the executor sell property without all beneficiaries approving?
- Can an executor transfer property to himself or herself?
What is the probate house sale process?
Probate is the process of dealing with somebody’s assets after they die. A lot of the time, the deceased will have named the person responsible for sharing out their estate, commonly referred to as the executor of property, but this isn’t always the case. However, there may be cases that require you or another beneficiary to apply for a grant of probate:
- The deceased didn’t leave a testament.
- If they did leave a will, but there’s no named executor.
- The named executor doesn’t feel comfortable assuming the position.
Once an executor of property has been named, it’s there responsibility to orchestrate the probate house sale.
How long does an executor have to sell a house?
Fortunately, if you’ve been named as an executor of property, you’re not tied to any specific time restrictions when it comes to selling a house in probate – at least not initially. This allows you to take as long as you need to action the necessary processes.
However, once all outcomes have been considered, and you’re in a position to sell, the courts will determine an appropriate deadline to complete the probate house sale process. Again, though, there is no set timeframe for selling a house in probate, with rulings commonly extending into the next year.
Can you sell a house before probate?
You might feel that it’s important to complete a house sale quickly, but there are numerous factors that can delay the process. While it’s possible to put the house on the market, and even accept an offer, at your own pace, it’s impossible to exchange contracts and complete a sale before executor of property status is confirmed.
Other practical delays include:
- Before a probate house sale, the deceased’s property must be cleared of their belongings. This can be a gargantuan task, and require serious dedication. Assuming each beneficiary lives a busy life, it can take weeks, or even months, to completely prepare a property for sale.
- The house is struggling to sell on the open market. If you’re experiencing a delay with your probate house sale, it might be worth reconsidering your strategy. Instead of relying on estate agents and hoping for favourable market conditions, sell the house quickly through a reliable property purchasing company. Good Move are positioned to make an instant cash offer for up to 85% of market value.
Can the executor sell property without all beneficiaries approving?
It’s a question that many people going through the probate process often wonder: can an executor sell property on their own? When naming an executor of property, you should take various factors into account:
- Are they trustworthy?
- Are they organised?
- Do they have a strong grasp of the legalities of a probate house sale?
In short, an executor of property is in charge of the handling and distribution of the deceased’s entire estate. This gives them the final say when it comes to selling a house in probate, and they don’t need to obtain written permission from each beneficiary. However, this doesn’t mean the process is completely autocratic; an important responsibility for the executor of property is to ensure all decisions are made in the best interests of the listed beneficiaries.
Generally, the largest sticking point between beneficiaries and the executor is the sale price of the inherited property. However, while all concerns should be communicated, and the executor of property should take points of view into account, they have the authority to sell the estate for a price they deem fair.
Can an executor transfer property to himself or herself?
The role of the executor is to handle the deceased’s estate in the best interest of all beneficiaries, meaning they’re responsible for distributing inherited money as well as property. As such, it may be appropriate for an executor to claim a house for themselves, as their share of the inheritance. There are a couple of other instances in which the executor of property might transfer a home to themselves:
The executor is the sole beneficiary
If an individual is the only named beneficiary, they are, naturally, entitled to the entire worth of the deceased’s estate. In this case, while the executor won’t need to go through the motions of a probate house sale, they will need to establish whether a transfer-on-death deed was issued. If not, the executor of property will be required to go through the initial probate process to change the title deed.
Selling a house in probate to the executor
An executor of property usually has the final say when it comes to selling a house in probate. However, if they wish to buy a property in probate themselves, they should settle on a reasonable purchase price with the remaining listed beneficiaries. The simplest way of coming to a fair price is to secure a valuation by a trusted third party.
Having a complete understanding of the probate house sale process allows you to handle the deceased’s estate quickly and efficiently. Explore the latest from us, for even more expert selling advice.