The death of a family member can be devastating. Dealing with the loss might be difficult, but you have to move on with life. If you’re a beneficiary of the decedent’s will, you have to prepare for the probate process.
A common question that often pops up is, can you sell a property without probate? Selling probate property is more complicated than a traditional house sale. In a regular sale, you can easily sell your house as-is.
What is a Probate House?
Probate is a legal way of establishing the validity of a person’s will. The process usually involves several parties like lawyers, the executor, and inheritors of the will.
When a house is in probate, it goes through a legal process to identify the heir. Here are a few scenarios that may happen if a property enters probate.
Property Transferred to the Heirs in the Will
The decedent’s wishes have to be honored if he had a will. In this case, the executor has to convey property to the beneficiaries via probate court.
As per the will’s direction, the probate judge will transfer the house to the right heir. It’s up to the beneficiary to keep the house or sell it. If you choose to sell, you can enjoy the many benefits of selling your house to cash home buyers.
A House in Intestate Probate
In case of no will, the decedent’s property enters intestate probate. However, this isn’t the case if the property had been conveyed through a joint tenancy law, transfer-on-death deed, or living trust.
In an intestate probate scenario, the court is responsible for conveying the decedent’s house. The judge may appoint an immediate family member as the property’s executor. The beneficiary can be a surviving spouse, children, or next of kin.
Executor Sells the Probate House
If the deceased didn’t name a beneficiary, the named executor would sell the property in probate. The executor enlists a real estate agency to handle home inspection and list the property in the market.
How Long After Probate to Sell a House?
When a house is in probate, you cannot sell it before probate is granted. There is no defined period of getting a Grant of Probate. For non-taxable estates, you may get this grant in six weeks. For a taxable estate where inheritance tax is due, you may obtain the Grant of Probate in 12 weeks. If the courts deem your case urgent, you may get this grant in two weeks.
After obtaining a Grant of Probate, you may wait for several months for the sale to go through. You can approach companies that buy houses in Granbury to make a quick sale.
Probate Process for Real Estate in Texas
The Texas probate process is much quicker due to the adoption of “independent administration” of property. This process allows executors to deal with probate issues with minimal interference from Texas Courts.
If a will is present, the entire Texas probate process can last for only six months. But can you sell a property without probate in Texas?
There are two ways in which Texas handles probate.
- Independent administration of estates
- Dependent administration of estates
Independent Administration of Estates
Most Texas executors pursue independent administration of estates when handling probate cases. This process is quicker, efficient, and cheaper because it requires less supervision from courts. This efficiency forces a lot of testators to include independent administration in their wills.
The will’s executor has to seek authority from the courts before acting as an independent executor.
The independent administration of estates exempts the executor from seeking the court’s permission when distributing assets. It also shields the prosecutor from losses that may occur due to carelessness.
Dependent Administration of Estates
Here, the courts play an active role in the probate process. Several scenarios are possible in this process.
Muniment of Title
The muniment of title is a simple way of transferring property if you have a will. You only need to file the will and request the court to probate it as a muniment of title. The court will use the will as evidence to the estate assets. You don’t need the services of an executor in this process.
Small Estates Affidavits
If there is no will and the value of a property is relatively low, a beneficiary can claim the property by preparing an affidavit. The beneficiary has to be an individual able to inherit the property under Texas intestacy law.
Once you obtain a Grant of Probate, you don’t have to struggle to sell your house. We buy homes in Texas at great prices.
Finding the Right Probate Lawyer for Your Property
Navigating the probate process can be daunting if you lack legal guidance. The legal terms and technicalities involved might overwhelm the average Texan. That’s why some Texas courts don’t allow non-lawyers to file applications to probate a will. You can direct the question, can you sell a property without probate, to the lawyer.
It’s always advisable to seek the services of an attorney when dealing with probate. You may need a lawyer’s services if:
- You’re an executor named in a will
- The will didn’t name an executor
- The named executor isn’t carrying out their services satisfactorily
- The named executor is dead or unable to perform probate duties
There are two types of probate attorneys, transactional probate lawyers, and probate litigators. The former handles administrative issues, while the latter handles probate lawsuits. Some lawyers provide both services, but a specialist is likely to deliver excellent probate services.
Finding the right probate lawyer isn’t straightforward. You’ll need to research, meet, and interview prospective candidates. When researching, look beyond the legal expertise of a probate lawyer. Consider factors such as:
- Online reviews and ratings
- Charges. Whether hourly or flat-rate
- Personal needs
You’ll need to sit down with several lawyers and ask vital questions on probate property. Some key questions to ask include:
- What’s your payment structure?
- How many probate cases do you solve each year?
- As an executor, can I handle some probate issues to reduce expenses?
- How long will the probate process take?
- Can you handle probate cases that involve the decedent’s property in other states?
- Will you handle the decedent’s final tax returns?
- Will you prepare the estate’s final tax returns?
- What’s the cost of the whole probate process?
Can You Sell a House Before Probate is Completed?
Can I sell a property without probate?
You cannot complete the sale of a probate house before obtaining the Grant of Probate. However, you can list the property and accept offers if the decedent was the property’s sole owner.
You’re free to sell a house at any time if probate isn’t required. Probate isn’t required if the deceased person placed their estate in a:
- Living trust
- Joint tenancy
- Transfer-on-death deed
Handling Probate Disagreements
Estate settlement processes aren’t always smooth. You may have to deal with disputes among family members. Below are the most common probate disputes.
Disputes do arise if a will is unclear or contentious. To resolve such issues, you’ll need to prove the will’s validity in a probate court.
Multiple Application for Estates
The probate court is responsible for identifying the inheritor of the deceased’s properties in the absence of a will. Conflicts arise when multiple people request a particular asset. This issue is common among relatives or debtors looking to claim an asset. The best way of handling these altercations is by hiring a probate attorney.
Influencing the Deceased
It isn’t uncommon for a will to be changed. However, disputes arise if the deceased was coerced into writing or changing a will. If you can prove such an allegation in court, the judge may invalidate the will. You can avoid such conflicts by working with an attorney at every probate step.
Mediation may be the best way of resolving probate conflicts among family members.
Selling Your House in Probate
Selling a probate house involves several steps.
Apply for a Probate
Selling a probate property begins by applying for a probate grant. It may take two to twelve weeks to obtain the grant. Before seeking probate, ensure you have registered the death and identified whether there’s a will.
Value the Property
Once you get the probate grant, proceed and determine the property’s value. Estate valuation varies from state to state, depending on probate rules. An estate agent may help you appraise the property accurately.
Paying Inheritance Tax
Decedent’s estates that are worth $11.70 million or more attract a 40% federal estate tax.
Inform the Relevant Parties
It’s advisable to notify other beneficiaries about the intended sale. You can also inform legal and financial organizations that were close to the deceased person.
Preparing the Property for Sale
This step involves clearing the decedent’s belongings from a property.
Listing and Selling the Property
Listing and selling your probate property can sometimes be tiring. You can avoid the complications of selling a probate house by looking for cash home buyers in Fort Worth.
You can only sell a property in probate if you obtain a probate grant. The process of getting a Grant of Probate takes less than 14 weeks, provided disputes don’t arise. After getting the grant, you’re free to list your property on the market. A better alternative is selling your probate property directly to a real estate company.