Handling a loved one’s final affairs often means ensuring that his or her earthy possessions are distributed appropriately. In some cases, that may mean that a person has to determine what will happen to real estate that was held in the decedent’s name. It may be possible for the real estate to be handled easily in probate, but that is not always what happens.
The easiest way for real estate to be addressed is if the home was jointly owned with rights of survivorship. This means that the property will pass directly to the surviving owner without having to be addressed during probate. The asset could also be kept out of probate if the owner transfers the ownership of the property into a trust that has instructions regarding future property ownership.
If an executor must handle real estate through the probate process, the following steps may be necessary:
- Opening probate with the court
- Inventorying assets
- Obtaining appraisals for real estate property
- Determining a price for the real estate, if selling
- Putting the real estate on the market, if selling
- Notifying the heirs of a sale to give them an opportunity to object
- Completing the sale of the property if no objections arise in probate court
If the property is sold, the executor will also need to determine what should happen with the profits from the sale, which may be addressed in the will or other estate planning documents. Unfortunately, handling real estate during probate can be time–consuming. Depending on the type of property and the real estate market at the time of sale, it could take months to complete. As a result, it is wise to have the right help throughout this process.