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What if property needs to be sold during probate?

When your family member was drafting a will and asked to designate you as the executor of his or her estate, it may have seemed like an honor. Now that you are taking care of your duties according to the instructions of the will, you may be realizing that there is a lot to the probate process, particularly if there is real estate that you must sell.

It may be that the will instructs that you sell the house so that you can divide the among the heirs, or perhaps none of the heirs are willing to take over the mortgage. In some cases, an executor may have to sell a house in order to pay the estate’s debts or taxes. According to MarketWatch, the administration of real estate may be the most difficult part of the executor responsibilities.

You must maintain the insurance on the home while it is in your care. If one of the decedent’s beneficiaries is living in the home, this may not be as difficult as it may be if the house is sitting empty, as insurance companies often do not want to insure empty homes for very long. However, if there is a fire or accident, insurance coverage is critical. Empty houses are also subject to maintenance problems and theft.

As the executor, it is your responsibility to determine the listing price and hire a real estate agent. If the property needs any improvements before the sale, you may need to gain authorization to use assets from the estate to make these. Other circumstances may complicate the sale, including beneficiary disputes and will contests or difficulty finding a buyer, so this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.