After a loved one has died, you may be left wondering what happens to all their assets and, specifically, their home. Like everything else, the home will enter probate and specific legal processes must take place. The overall process will determine what happens to the home.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone has died where their will is administered and their assets are transferred. The process begins by determining if the will is legitimate and authentic. Although validating a will is a crucial element of probate, the probate process can be started without a will. In this case, an administrator or executor will be established and they will distribute the deceased’s assets according to state laws. When there is a will, an executor will be named and they will oversee everything listed out in the will. Often the will designates an executor. The entire probate process is supervised by the court to ensure there is no fraud taking place.
Who Gets the Home?
While probate handles all assets, the home is often the highest valued asset. Once in probate, the home has three potential paths. The first option is if the will names a beneficiary. This process is straightforward once the will has been validated. If the will does not name a beneficiary or if there is no will, the home is typically transferred to the next of kin. Usually, this is a spouse or child. Lastly, if there are no beneficiaries and no on the house can be left to, the executor is usually charged with selling the home.
Selling the Home
There are two options when selling a home in probate and this depends on if it is a formal or informal probate process. If it is formal, the executor petitions the court to list the home and it must be listed as a probate sale. Once someone bids on the home, a hearing takes place in which the initial buyer and other potential buyers all bid on the home. The court will approve the final sale. In an informal case, the executor will file paperwork and get permission from the court before listing the home and selling it via the regular home selling process.
If you’re the executor of a will, you will be heavily involved in the probate process. There are several options for the home and you should be familiar with each. Selling a home can be a long process, but there are ways to make it easier.
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