Probate Real Estate: What Is It & How To Deal With It?

Dealing with a deceased person’s money and property can be daunting until you know how to deal with it rightly. Managing a decedent’s real estate adds up the pain and agony of losing the loved one. In fact, there’s a lot to handle after the death of a parent, relative, or loved one – inheriting the property, dealing with debts, Wills, probate, and so on.

So, if you are currently going through such a situation, understanding the entire process of probate sale can help you cope with it smoothly and efficiently. Read on to learn about the intricacies of the probate process to know how to deal with a descendant’s property. To start with, let’s find out what the probate process exactly is.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of validating a deceased person’s estate with or without a Will. It generally involves determining the inheritor and reviewing the decedent’s assets, bank accounts, real estate, and financial investments.

Probate real estate is looked up by an executor when there is no Will and an administrator when a deceased owner leaves behind a Will. An estate executor or administrator is primarily responsible for dealing with the probate, collecting the deceased person’s assets to pay the due taxes and remaining liabilities on the estate, and distributing the remaining assets to the legal heirs & beneficiaries.

Now that you know what probate exactly is, let’s see how to deal with a property in probate.

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How to deal with a property in probate?

Buying a probate or distressed property for sale is often a great way to build an interest in real estate but dealing with a deceased person’s property that’s going through the probate process is challenging. Probate can be avoided in the first place, provided, the property of the decedent is passed on to beneficiaries or heirs through a transfer-on-death deed, living trust, joint ownership, or community property law.

However, when none of these documents exist, a probate sale is the only way to deal with a decedent’s property, with or without a property Will. And since probate is a legal procedure incorporating a number of complexities in family relations, clauses left behind by the decedent, and debts associated with the estate, the sale process usually takes a longer time to end than traditional property sale methods.

Moreover, every state has its own set of probate laws to be followed. So, to practically deal with a property in probate, one must first know the ins and outs of the respective state’s probate policies. After all, the main intent of passing a decedent’s real estate through probate is to prevent fraud. Read further to learn what exactly happens to a decedent’s property in probate.

What happens to a decedent’s property in probate?

Here are a few situations that generally happen with a property in probate:

  1. Probate Property Transferred To Legal Heirs

When a person dies leaving a Will with the name of an estate executor, the respective person is supposed to take the responsibility of dealing with the decedent’s real estate. He must take all the necessary steps to execute the decedent’s final wishes.

An executor’s primary responsibilities include filing a petition with a probate court, setting a court date, conveying the court’s decisions to the legal heirs and beneficiaries, paying off the liabilities on the estate, and finally distributing assets to the estate’s surviving heirs or beneficiaries.

  • Probate Property Transferred To A Family Member

When a person dies without a Will, the decedent’s real estate cannot be transferred to a legal heir or beneficiary through a living trust, transfer-on-death deed, or joint tenancy law. Generally, in such a situation, a probate judge appoints an immediate family member of the decedent to be the executor of the estate.

In this kind of case, the probate court usually passes on the property to the surviving spouse, children, or next of kin, however, by aligning the procedure with the respective state’s intestate succession policies. At this point, the appointed family member needs to sell the decedent’s property through the probate sale process.

  • Probate Property Sold By An Executor

As already discussed, when a person dies without leaving a Will, the decedent’s property is passed on to an immediate family member who must further sell it through the probate process. Now, although different states follow different probate laws, a few steps of the probate process remains the same.

The steps that remain the same and must be followed by an estate executor are – hiring a licensed realtor to handle the probate transaction, arranging a home inspection of the property in probate, and finally marketing the house on public platforms just like promoting a traditional or distressed property for sale.

Final Words

Hopefully, this blog helped you learn what exactly probate is as well as how to deal with a property in probate. Ultimately, what happens to a house in probate entirely depends on the respective state’s probate laws and policies. But one thing that remains common in every probate situation is that either the property is transferred to the estate survivors or passed on to a probate sale via a probate court.

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