Dealing with probate can be a daunting and time-consuming task, especially after dealing with the loss of a loved one. In this post, we offer five things you should be aware of when dealing with a house in probate.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the process that occurs after someone passes away to pay off debts and to pass on inheritances to the heirs. While the laws vary from state to state, there are some general things you can expect no matter where the property is located. To become the legal owner of a home after someone passes away, you may be required to go through the probate process. When a will is present, an executor will already be assigned. However, if there isn’t a will, the courts will assign an executor to facilitate the process.
The Will Needs To Be Proven Valid
When someone passes away, the court will need to be notified to open a probate case. The will must be provided, along with documentation proving that it is valid. A few requirements of a valid will include the intent, the legal age of 18 when signed, and that two witnesses were present to observe the signature and the date in which it was signed. The will needs to be created voluntarily, by someone who is of sound mind to do so in order to be considered legal with the courts.
You Will Need To Notify Creditors and Heirs
After your loved one passes away, you will need to notify all creditors and potential heirs that you are opening a probate case. In some instances, you may even need to put a notice in the paper. You will need to use the estate to pay off all valid debts such as credit cards and personal loans. And don’t forget about Uncle Sam. When handling probate, you’ll need to file tax returns for the deceased and address any inheritance taxes that are due.
You’ll Need To Take Inventory Of The Entire Estate
In addition to real estate, the courts will need to know about other investments such as stocks, bonds, cards, deeds, bank accounts, or any other high-value items. These items will be taken into account when paying off debts from entitled creditors as well as when assets are distributed between beneficiaries. For this part of the process, it is a good idea to work with a probate attorney to ensure everything is properly discovered and accurately recorded.
The Process Can Be Time Consuming
If you are responsible as the executor of the estate, you may find yourself dealing with paperwork, phone calls, and court hearings that can take up a good amount of time. When a will is present, things will typically move along faster than if one wasn’t. Having a will puts a plan in place leaving little to be decided by the courts. Some probate cases can be wrapped up in a matter of months, while others can take a couple of years to be completed. Having everything together ahead of time will make the process go much more smoothly.
You Can Sell The Property While In Probate
A quick and easy solution for a house in probate is to simply sell it. If the estate is intestate, meaning no will is present, the house will need to be sold through the probate courts, which is a highly regulated process. There are court fees and specific processes that must be followed. These processes vary from state to state.
However, if an estate is testate, meaning there is a will present, the executor will be able to petition the courts to sell the property on their own. This is ideal for those who want to avoid court costs while retaining more control of the process. For those who want to save even more money, quickly selling your inherited property to a professional buyer who is familiar with the probate process may be the best way to go. When you work with Homesmith Group, you won’t have any of the expenses you will likely incur when working with a Southern California real estate agent. For example, you won’t be faced with commissions, repair costs, or marketing expenses.
In some cases, heirs can be surprised by property left to them in a will. They may not want to keep it or be financially prepared to do so. When the latter is the case, spending money on repairs, upgrades, and other listing costs will likely be out of the question. By selling their inherited Southern California house directly, they’ll be able to quickly sell, pay off debts and divide the sale proceeds amongst the heirs as laid out by the court.
Before you think about selling your inherited property in Southern California, make sure you have the authority to do so.