Here’s How to Sell Your House Fast During Probate
Few people are prepared to handle the probate process after the death of a loved one. One of the biggest challenges is assessing the deceased’s assets and debts. As an executor, you also need to make sure that your family member’s wishes are carried according to their wishes. This includes trying to figure out what to do with their house.
If your loved one has outstanding debt or taxes, you can use the house as leverage to pay these items and close the case. However, you will need to act quickly and sell your inherited house fast. To sell your house quickly, you may want to consider an alternative to a traditional sale. Below, we look at how to sell your inherited house fast during probate.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of determining the validity and intent of a loved one’s will. During probate, you and your family or other beneficiaries must work with the executor of the will, and lawyers involved in the process, to verify who inherits the property. Or you may determine if the house needs to be sold through probate court.
Probate can be a lengthy, complicated process, but it is a necessary one. However, this process does run a lot smoother when the person leaving it behind also leaves a will. It also runs smoother when all parties decide to work together with minimal disputes.
How Does Probate Work in California?
The California probate process involves seven steps.
Step 1: Filing the Petition
The first step in initiating probate proceedings is filing a petition with the California Superior Court in the county where the deceased resided at the time of her death. This petition will trigger the court to schedule a hearing in approximately thirty (30) days.
Step 2: Sending Out Notices
After the petition is filed with the court, the notice of hearing will be published a minimum of three times in the local newspaper. It is also necessary to mail the notice to everyone named in the will (if there was one), along with all legal heirs of the deceased. Notice must also be provided to potential creditors.
Step 3: Proving the Will
If there is a will, it is necessary to “prove” the will unless it qualifies as a “self-proving” will. In some cases, the will contains specific language and/or an affidavit from everyone signing the will, which makes it unnecessary to prove the validity of the will. Each state has its own rules regarding whether or not self-proving wills are valid and, if so, how they must be created.
Step 4: Asset Collection
One of the primary duties of the personal representative is to take possession of all of the deceased’s assets, but only those that are subject to probate. There are some types of estate planning instruments that are not required to go through probate. If the title of an asset needs to be transferred into someone else’s name, the personal representative must take care of that.
Step 5: Payments to Creditors
Once the personal representative has provided notice of the death to creditors, those with debts payable by the estate must submit a claim. If those claims are determined to be valid, they will be paid from the estate. All valid debts must be paid before other distributions can be made. This includes all bills, as well as funeral expenses. California requires creditors to submit their claims within four months of the appointment of the personal representative.
Step 6: Estate Tax Payments
The personal representative is also responsible for making sure all estate taxes are paid, that includes federal estate taxes and state taxes, which the state of California imposes. In most cases, a personal representative would not be held personally liable for estate taxes, but if the estate has been distributed before the taxes are paid and there isn’t sufficient property left to pay those taxes, personal liability may be imposed.
Step 7: Conclusion of the Estate
The final step is closing the estate. This final step involves providing an accounting of all actions taken by the personal representative with regard to the estate. A petition, which summarizes the estate and reports all actions taken on behalf of the state, will be filed with the court. If there are no objections and the court approves the accounting, then an order will be entered by the court concluding the estate.
Can I Sell My House During Probate?
There are no state or federal laws preventing you from selling your house during probate. So, whether you can sell your inherited house during probate is often determined by your situation, the court, and the executor of the will. If the deceased has a considerable amount of debt and taxes, the court may grant you the ability to sell your house fast to settle the debts.
Keep in mind that you will need to get all beneficiaries on board when selling the house. For instance, there may be a member of the family who wants to keep the house. Therefore, you may experience some resistance. If one party disagrees with the decision, you will have to work out the dispute - possibly with the courts - before moving forward with a cash sale.
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