When a loved one passes away, the executor of their will manages and distributes the estate. This includes selling any real property, such as a house or land. But can an executor sell estate property without getting approval from all beneficiaries or family members? The answer is yes, although there are some cases where the sale may be disallowed.
Probate is a legal process after someone dies (the decedent). It’s when the probate court looks at a deceased person’s will and ensures it is valid. After that, the court helps ensure that all of the person’s assets (bank account, real estate, and possessions) are given out according to estate planning outlined in the last will and testamentary.
Probate lawyers provide valuable assistance in various areas related to probate cases and administration. A personal representative can help you determine whether a will is valid, advise on the best way to distribute assets, prevent self-dealing, and represent your interests in court if necessary.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what an executor can and cannot do when selling estate property without the beneficiary’s permission.
Can the Executor of a Will Sell a Property
An executor sells the property. The executor is in charge of administering the estate and must follow probate law. However, notice will be sent to all beneficiaries so that they know of the sale.
The executor must also protect estate assets during the probate process and ensure that any debts against the estate are paid off before selling the property. An executor of a will is responsible for the following:
- Protecting the property of the deceased
- Winding up their financial affairs
- Distributing inheritances
- Registering the death
- Arranging the funeral
- Valuing the estate
- Paying any inheritance and estate tax
- Applying for probate
- Sorting out any debts the estate owes
- Paying any bills the estate owes
- Not going against the terms of the will or breaching their fiduciary duty.
When executing a will, there are specific duties that an executor cannot do. These include:
- Going against the wishes of the testator
- Not seeking counsel
- Not communicating with beneficiaries
- Signing the will on behalf of the testator
- Executing the will before the testator is deceased
- Stopping the will from being contested
- Changing the terms of the will without permission from all involved parties
- Refusing to probate or carry out any other required duties
Notice to Beneficiaries
When an executor is appointed to administer a deceased person’s estate, they must provide notice to all beneficiaries of the will. This includes:
- Sending out a copy of the will admitted to probate and a copy of the order admitting it to probate
- Information about the hearing on the admission of the will
- Any other requirements outlined in the state statute
- Publishing a notice in local newspapers alerting potential creditors of the death
It is essential for executors to provide this notice as soon as possible for the following:
- Beneficiaries to make claims against the estate if necessary
- Creditors are aware of the situation and can make claims against any assets available for distribution
By providing timely notices, executors can fulfill their duties and help ensure that all parties involved in an estate are aware of their rights and obligations.
How an Executor of a Will Can Sell a Property
When an executor of a will is tasked with selling a property, several options are available. The most common is to list the property for sale on the open market with a real estate agent. This allows potential buyers to view the property and make offers.
An executor must get a fair market value for the home sale. This is because the executor is legally obligated to act in the estate’s best interests and must ensure that all assets are sold fairly.
In some cases, it may be necessary for the executor to obtain court approval before selling a property. This is usually required when multiple heirs are involved or if there are restrictions on how the sale proceeds should be distributed.
An executor can sell a house or other property of the estate without all beneficiaries approving the sale, as long as the will does not state otherwise. Executors must act by the law and in the best interest of all beneficiaries when selling property.
Another option is to hold an auction where interested parties can bid on the property. Selling a house at auction is a way for an executor to quickly and efficiently sell a property.
When selling a house at auction, the sale is legally binding from when the hammer falls, and contracts are signed and exchanged immediately. An executor needs to understand the process of selling a house at auction and the pros and cons associated with this method.
If the executor wants to sell quickly, they may consider offering the property at a discounted price or through a private sale.
Selling a house at a private sale can be an attractive option for an executor, as it allows them to avoid the cost of listing agent commission, typically around 3%.
To successfully sell a house at a private sale, several steps should be taken:
- Accurately determine the fair market value of the home
- Prepare the home for sale by giving it a deep cleaning and decluttering any personal items like family photos and keepsakes
- Promote the home to attract potential buyers, such as posting ads online or in newspapers, as well as hosting open houses or other events
- Negotiate with potential buyers without getting talked into paying “half-commission” and instead focus on getting the best price for the property
When selling a property, an executor should consider all offers from potential buyers, including those from cash buyers. Cash buyers can provide a less stressful and quicker sale than traditional methods.
Selling to a cash buyer provides several advantages for executors:
- Quick and easy sale with fewer conditions for sale, faster closing times, and no need to wait for lender approval or deal with contingencies
- Eliminates the need for expensive repairs or paying capital gains taxes
- Possible tax deductions through probate proceedings
- Avoid complex and time-consuming legal proceedings of the probate
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Things the Executor Must Do When Selling a Property
An executor of an estate has several duties when it comes to selling real estate. They must ensure that all debts and taxes associated with the property have been paid. This includes any mortgages or liens on the property. They must also ensure that any necessary permits or licenses have been obtained to list and sell the property.
Once the property is listed, they are responsible for negotiating offers and ensuring that all paperwork related to the sale is completed correctly. Finally, they must distribute any proceeds from the sale according to the deceased’s wishes as outlined in their will.
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Can You Stop an Executor of a Will Selling a Property
An executor can sell a house or other property of the estate without all beneficiaries approving the sale. The executor can proceed if the will does not explicitly state that all beneficiaries must agree to the deal. However, notice will be sent to all the heirs so they know about the sale and can object if necessary.
The executor has until the end of probate to sell the house — which could be a couple of months or even a year, depending on whether or not there are any objections from beneficiaries. If objections arise, the executor may take longer to complete the sale. In some cases, however, an executor may sell real property without complaints from beneficiaries.
If you think a beneficiary can stop the sale of a property – no, beneficiaries cannot halt a property’s sale. However, suppose the executor is unjustly selling off assets without consulting all parties to benefit themselves or another party. In that case, this action can be challenged in court and stopped by a judge.
Everyone involved in an estate must understand their rights and responsibilities when selling real estate. Suppose you have questions about what an executor can and cannot do when selling real estate. In that case, it is best to consult an experienced attorney who can provide legal advice tailored to your situation.
Generally, an executor can sell the property without getting all beneficiaries to approve. However, they must send notice to all beneficiaries to be aware of the sale.
In some cases, such as if the will states otherwise or if state law does not permit it, then the executor may only be able to sell with permission from all beneficiaries.
Executors must understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure they act within legal boundaries.
When an executor is responsible for selling a house, there are many benefits to working with a cash buyer, like the ones advertising “we buy houses Arlington“:
- Quicker sale process – cash buyers can close in as little as seven days
- No real estate commissions or fees
- No need to make repairs or renovations
- No waiting on loan approvals or appraisals
- Cash buyers can purchase the property “as is”
- Executors can avoid the hassle of managing showings and open houses