Dealing with the process of probate can be a little daunting if you don’t know what to expect. Losing a loved one is hard enough sometimes, and probate may be the last thing you want to go through. In this post, we share a few things you can be aware of in advance that might help, should you find yourself in this situation!
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process that recognizes a deceased person’s will and allows an executor or other personal administrator of the estate to distribute property and other assets to the heirs and any designated charities. Property transferred into a living trust before a person passes away does not have to go through the probate process. But if there’s no living trust, and the deceased owned property, it is typically handled through the probate process where things can be sorted out. Probate takes place to pay off debts and taxes and pass whatever inheritances there may be to heirs. To begin the process, a family member or someone designated in the will, will petition a probate court to open a case, typically in the county where the deceased person lived or in some cases where they owned real estate. A probate court is simply a specialized type of court that handles the property and debts of a person who has died; they can also be called circuit courts, surrogate’s court, orphan’s court, or other names.
To become the legal owner of a home after someone passes away, you may be required to go through the probate process. The laws vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea to connect with an attorney to inquire if probate is applicable to your situation. However, there are a few general things you can expect wherever the decedent’s property is located.
The Will Needs to Be Proven Valid
When someone passes away, the probate court will need to be notified to open a probate case. The will must be provided, along with documentation proving it is valid. A few requirements of a valid will include the intent, the legal age of 18 when signed (in most states it’s 18), and that two witnesses were present to observe the signature and the date on which it was signed. And the will needed to be created voluntarily, by someone who was of sound mind in order to be considered legal with the courts.
Notification of Creditors and Heirs
After your loved one passes away, you’ll need to notify all creditors and potential heirs that you are opening a probate case. In some instances, you may even need to put a notice in the paper. The estate will need to pay off all valid debts such as credit cards and personal loans. When handling probate, you’ll also have to file tax returns for the deceased and address any inheritance taxes that are due.
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, it is a good idea to work with a probate attorney to ensure everything is properly discovered and accurately recorded.
Prepare Yourself – Sometimes the Process Can Be Time Consuming
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. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself in this situation with a valid will in hand.
Good News – You Can Sell the Property While in Probate
A quick and easy 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 a little more money, quickly selling your inherited property to a professional home buyer who is familiar with the probate process may be the best way to go. When you work with Anna Buys Houses, for example, you won’t have any of the expenses you’ll likely incur when working with a real estate agent. For example, there won’t be 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 may be out of the question. By selling their inherited Omaha house directly, they should be able to sell quickly, 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 Omaha, make sure you have the authority to do so. And consult with an attorney. If we can answer questions about a direct home sale, we are here to help.