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What To Know When Selling A Deceased Estate

By Mike Wheatley | April 23, 2020

Losing a loved one can be an emotional experience. However, things get more challenging and complicated when you’re designated as an executor or beneficiary of the estate of the deceased. Primarily, an estate refers to the deceased’s net worth of assets under the law. This may include the family home, business, properties, investments, and other items under their name. 

Given the estate’s composition, one of the most difficult tasks you’ll probably deal with is the administration of the properties, specifically the selling of a deceased estate. Unlike the traditional sale of real estate, selling probate real estate properties requires a lot of considerations, especially if it may cause complications and stress to the rest of the family. 

So, if you’re tasked to sell a deceased estate, here’s what you need to know from the get-go: 

Settlement Of Debts

If you’re planning to sell the estate of the deceased, one of the essential things you need to consider is the settlement of debts. You may not know, but your dead loved one has incurred several debts during their lifetime. 

Because of this, you need to settle the debts before putting the properties belonging to the estate to sale. In the event the estate incurs more liabilities than the assets, be sure to review your state laws to find out which one should be given priority. Once you cover all your debts, then you can decide whether it’s possible to sell the deceased estate. 

Permission From The Executor To Sell The Home

If another person was named as the executor and beneficiary of the deceased estate, then you may need to ask permission from them to sell the estate. Generally, the executors have the authority to sell the estate of the deceased after being granted a Grant of Probate. 

In addition to the Grant of Probate, the selling process requires several steps before you can list the property in the real estate market. These may include requesting many quotes from real estate agents, valuation of the property, and the necessary repairs needed. Thus, if you’re planning to sell an estate, it’s best to work with the executor since they’re the ones appointed to manage the assets and properties left by the deceased. 

Involvement Of The Court

Now that you know the role of the executor in the selling process of the deceased estate, the next thing that should be taken into consideration is the possible involvement of the court. In most cases, the legal transfer of a property from a deceased loved one requires court processes, especially if the dead person has failed to leave a will. 

On the other hand, when the deceased has left behind a will, the executor will take over for the administration of the estate. They’re tasked to carry out the terms and conditions stated in the will to ensure that they’re in line with the wishes of the testator or the deceased. But, if you’re not named as the executor of the estate, and you want to sell a property, the executor needs to apply for probate first so they can be given the legal authority to manage the estate 

In such a case, you should wait for the court’s issuance of the Grant of Probate to proceed with the sale. Mainly, the Grant of Probate refers to a court document that authorizes the executor to manage the deceased estate according to the will. 

However, you should remember that the application for the Grant of Probate can be lengthy legal proceedings. That’s because many factors are being considered to ensure that the executor will administer the estate properly. While some estates can be settled within a few months, others may take a few years or more. 

For this reason, it’s best to consult an experienced estate planning attorney to know how long probate in your area actually takes. By doing this, you can make sure the sale process will run smoothly once the Grant of Probate has been issued. 

Sale Of The Estate After Probate

As mentioned, if you want to sell a deceased estate, you need to ask permission from the executor. But, if you’re appointed as the executor in the will, then you can proceed with the sale of the property once you get the Grant of Probate. You should also be familiar with the Heggstad petition. A Heggstad Attorney in San Jose can help you with that.

However, before selling the property in the market, you should be familiar with the processes involved so you can streamline the sale. Generally, properties belonging to an estate are sold at auction because it’s a much easier process to dispose of the thing without any trouble. Also, most sales by auction need a long marketing period to entice more buyers. And since most of these properties are old, executors will decide to lower the price to make room for the repairs. 

Payment Of State Taxes

Dealing with a deceased estate can be a costly undertaking. In the United States, federal law mandates the payment of estate taxes for the privilege to transfer the ownership of the property from your deceased loved one to you if you’re a beneficiary. However, in addition to estate taxes, you also have to pay the state taxes once you sell the property successfully. 

Similar to other real estate taxes, paying taxes involving a sale of a deceased estate requires a considerable amount of money. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire an experienced lawyer and a real estate agent and discuss the potential costs and other matters concerning the sale of the property. These people can help you sell an estate while saving some money. 


Again, selling a deceased estate can be a stressful experience for you and the family members. Unless you’re familiar with the ins and outs of the process, it can be a time-consuming endeavor that needs to be taken seriously. With proper knowledge in place and a probate lawyer on your side, you can speed up the sale in the fastest time possible, thereby giving you some peace of mind. 

Therefore, if you’ve decided to sell a deceased estate, keep these things in mind so you’ll know what to do to reduce the burden.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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