Protecting Your Purchase

« Back to Home

5 Safeguards To Protect Heirs' Interests When Selling Real Estate In Probate

Posted on

Many Americans' largest individual asset is their primary home. This means that getting a good sale price when the owner passes away is key to protecting their heirs' inheritances. Did you know that the probate court has safeguards in place to help ensure that good price? If not, here are a few of the key guardrails you may encounter. 

1. An Authorized Executor. The sale of real estate is handled only by those authorized to administer the estate. If there was a will, the probate court will confirm the named executor or appoint another. If no will exists, the court will appoint a personal representative. And if heirs or other stakeholders lose confidence in this person, they can petition for a change.  

2. Mandated Appraisal. In general, the estate administrator will need to obtain a reliable appraisal before putting the property on the market. This appraisal must also follow certain rules designed to make it impartial and fair. Then, the sale must usually use the appraised value as a basis advertised price and sale. 

3. Court Approval. The probate court must approve certain large-scale actions by the executor, including the sale of real property. In fact, the executor generally has to obtain court approval several times throughout the sale process. This often includes before putting it up for sale, upon receiving an offer, upon receiving other offers, and before accepting any. 

4. Public Notice. One way to prevent an executor or other party from misusing their position is to prevent them from making secret deals. The court may require that the estate administrator publish a public notice of the house sale — including the amount of the current offer — so that other parties can make their own offers. This way, no one can self-deal.

5. Pricing Guidelines. The probate court in your state may have mandatory minimums related to multiple offers from buyers. For instance, it may stipulate the increments in which new offers are made and the minimum percentage of the old offer which new offers must meet. These rules prevent wasting time and money, and they help boost the size of offers. 

Where to Learn More

Many Americans are unfamiliar with the process of selling property during probate, but it's important to keep in mind that there are methods in place to protect your interests. To find out more, contact a probate administration service near you today.