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Buying and Selling Probate Property: A Guide

CEO Khai Intela
Caption: Probate property often involves the sale of various assets, including real estate. Probate property refers to assets left behind by a deceased person that need to pass through probate court. This can include real...

Older woman looking at paper while standing in front of window in room containing plant and table with coffee cup placed on it Caption: Probate property often involves the sale of various assets, including real estate.

Probate property refers to assets left behind by a deceased person that need to pass through probate court. This can include real estate, jewelry, stocks, cars, and collectibles. While the sale of probate assets typically occurs to pay off creditors, other situations, such as eminent domain, may also require a sale. Let's delve into the details of buying and selling probate property.

Selling Probate Property

Probate property is often sold when there is insufficient cash to pay off the estate's debts. For example, if the deceased left behind a home worth $100,000, $2,000 cash, and credit card debt of $20,000, the home would likely be sold to settle the debt and distribute the remaining proceeds to the heirs. In cases where the deceased dies intestate (without a will) and with no immediate heirs, the court may order the sale of the property, with the proceeds going to the closest relatives located.

Probate property can be sold by various parties, including the executor or administrator of the estate, as well as the court in intestate situations where no heirs are seeking administration. Additionally, heirs themselves can choose to sell the property after they inherit it through a probate procedure, at which point the property is no longer considered probate property.

Probate Property Insurance

Regardless of who is selling the property, it is crucial to insure the home throughout the process. Typically, the deceased's homeowner's insurance policy expires upon their passing. Therefore, a new policy must be purchased in the name of the current owner, be it the deceased's estate or the heirs who have inherited the property and wish to sell it. This ensures the property is protected against fire and other damages.

How to Buy Probate Property

Buying probate real estate can offer excellent opportunities for investors or potential homeowners. Executors or administrators often seek to sell the property quickly, often below market value. Additionally, improvements are typically not made prior to the sale, making it a great chance to either flip the property or enhance it for personal use.

The process for purchasing probate real estate varies by state. When the court sells a property, it is usually done through an auction-like process. Local courts may list available properties on their websites. Alternatively, researching individuals listed in obituaries can help identify properties left behind. Depending on jurisdiction, you may need to submit a bid or appear at an auction. If successful, payment is typically required in cash or check.

If the executor is selling the property to satisfy creditors, you must submit an offer directly to the executor. The property may or may not be listed with a real estate agent. In many states, the court must approve the purchase offer, which can take several weeks. In cases where heirs decide to sell the property themselves after the probate process concludes, the sale is conducted like a regular real estate transaction in your state.

For assistance in selling probate property, consider consulting an attorney or utilizing an online service provider who can help you navigate the rules and procedures specific to your state.

Now that you have a better understanding of buying and selling probate property, consider exploring the potential opportunities available while keeping in mind the unique circumstances surrounding this type of transaction.

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