When a person passes away, probate is the legal process of settling his or her estate by distributing property per the person’s (decedent’s) will. More often than not, once the estate’s debts have been settled and taxes are addressed, the executor directly transfers property to the decedent’s heirs. But there are times that the personal representative of the estate sells property as part of the probate process.
Selling Property in Probate
A personal representative has control over the decedent’s property in probate and has a fiduciary duty to the estate. Courts take the sale of property very seriously since there is great potential to waste or diminish the estate if the proper steps are not followed. There are specific laws that must be followed by the representative when it comes to selling property in probate. Some of the reasons that property may be sold include:
- The payment of debts, devises, family allowance, or expenses relating to the estate.
- The sale of the property is “for the advantage, benefit and best interests of the estate and any interested persons that any property of the estate is sold”.
Fluctuating market conditions, or property that perishes or depreciates all constitute reasons for a personal representative to promptly act in the interest of the estate. Another common reason for the sale of a property is that the property cannot be easily divided between heirs, such as real estate or complex assets. And property may be so valuable that there is not adequate property to compensate other heirs if one heir receives it. We also encounter situations where real estate is left to the decedent’s children, who do not wish to keep it.
The personal representative can sell the property at auction or private sale and has the discretion to decide what order in which to sell the property. To do so, it must report the impending sale to the court within 30 days of the sale for the court to notify interested persons and confirm the sale. This gives interested persons or creditors the opportunity to challenge the sale before the court allows the sale to proceed. Also, there are additional requirements when it comes to the sale of property using agents or brokers for real or personal property of the estate.
Probate Lawyers, Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.
If you need help bringing the estate of a loved one through probate, you should speak with a lawyer. The probate attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. are here to help. Whether you need advice or legal representation, our lawyers understand the law, hold the respect of probate courts, and will work tirelessly for you. Let us serve you. Contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.