Dealing with probate can be an emotional and time-consuming task, especially after dealing with the loss of a loved one. Here are five things to know 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 that apply to properties in any county or state. The probate process is often required to become the legal owner of a property after someone passes away. If a will is in place, an executor will likely have been assigned already. If there is no will, the courts will assign an executor to facilitate the process.
A Will Must Be Valid
When someone passes away, the court will need to be notified to open a probate case. The will must be provided, along with proof that it is valid. The biggest requirements for a valid will are 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. If any of these requirements aren’t met, the will is not considered valid by the courts.
You Will Need To Notify Creditors and Heirs
It is required to notify all creditors and potential heirs that you are opening a probate case. In some instances, a notice in the paper may even be required. 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.
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, a probate attorney can be very helpful in ensuring everything goes smooth.
The Process Can Take a While
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
The quickest and easiest 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 PDX Home Buyers not only will you avoid the court costs, you won’t have any of the expenses you will likely incur when working with a Portland realtor. This means no 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 Portland 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 Portland, make sure you have the authority to do so.