What is the Probate Process?

5 Things To Know About Probate and Your Omaha Real Estate

Have you recently inherited a house in Omaha? If so, you may facing or in the probate process. Speaking from our own experience, it can seem a little overwhelming, especially if you aren’t familiar with the process. In this post, we offer a few basic tips that can be helpful if you need to sell a home.

Going through the probate usually means you’ve lost someone you love. With all that may be happening as you grieve, and get organized, and try to sort things out, the last thing family usually wants to be concerned with is learning about probate. We hope this short piece will explain what you can expect during the probate process, and offer a few tips that may help you if you’re faced with selling a home.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal, court-appointed process in which a deceased person’s property is identified and distributed under the laws of intestacy (when someone dies without a will), or by a last will and testament that was left behind. The entire probate process, including the sale of a home, is court-supervised. An executor of the estate is identified and/or confirmed, and they are in charge of handling the affairs of the deceased person’s assets and liabilities. With the court’s permission, they represent the estate against any claims and distribute property left behind by the deceased. The executor becomes the key representative of the estate if the heirs have agreed to sell the deceased’s home. Even as the executor you aren’t able to act independently of the probate court; the sale of the home must be approved by the court to ensure it’s the best way to handle the property and that there are no outstanding claims against the sale.

The Probate Process Can Take Time

The probate process isn’t known for its speed or convenience! At best, the process takes months, and can take years, depending on the complexities of the estate holdings. If you’re an heir to an estate, the process of a home sale (for example) is easiest if you and your fellow heirs can agree on the details of the sale. Note that once a person dies, it is important to file for probate as quickly as possible. Not doing means more money will need to be spent out of pocket to cover what are known as a property’s “holding costs,” which include things like the mortgage, taxes, utilities, etc., that must still must be paid until the sale of the property completed. Each state has different laws that pertain to probate. And some people try to get things in order with their loved ones so as to avoid probate all together.

The Role of the Executor of the Estate

If you’re appointed as executor of an estate, be prepared that this role will require your dedicated attention and time. To get the estate in order, you’ll be carefully tracking down all existing debts owed by the deceased; you’ll also be creating an important list of assets such as the deceased’s bank and stock accounts, along with all the property they owned. Your role will also include communicating with the deceased person’s next of kin and/or other heirs, keeping them informed about the status of the probate and what, if anything, is needed from them. From our experience, this is where, for some, a home sale to a professional cash home buyer can make the probate process easier; it relieves the executor and other others of one potentially large concern (worrying about a property) and thereby freeing up more time for the executor (especially) to focus on other responsibilities.

Holding Onto Real Estate Can Cost Money

If you own a home or have owned one in the past, you know having residential or commercial real estate costs money. In the case of an inherited home, the costs of utility bills, yard maintenance, insurance, and taxes, not to mention a mortgage payment, can all add up to a significant expense each month. If you and the other heirs aren’t sure what to do with the property and get stalled on making a decision, it can help to make a list of the monthly expenses associated with the home. That will help you acknowledge the real costs of holding onto that property and allow everyone to agree that they’re comfortable continuing to pay these bills. In some cases, especially if there is ample money in the estate to continue paying the bills, it’s not a problem to hold onto the property for months while probate is progressing. But in other cases, when the bills are large or there’s just not a lot of money to put toward these holding costs, the heirs may decide to simplify their lives by selling the home.

Listing the Home is One Option

If this is the first time you’re working to sell a home on the MLS, look objectively at the home and any repairs needed to make the home competitive with others on the market. Keep in mind that sometimes making some even cosmetic updates to the kitchen and bathrooms can bring a higher sales price. You may want to ask a realtor what they might recommend in order to get top dollar. After repairs and/or updates are made, it’s best to give the property a good cleaning, and stage it tastefully to attract as many people as possible. Getting a higher sales price is a blessing. However there can be some drawbacks to listing the property on the MLS and going the traditional sales route. It can take a while to get a qualified buyer to come through and then to wait for the buyer’s financing approval from their lender. During this time, the bills related to the property will need to continue to be paid. And when using a realtor, remember that part of the sales proceeds will go to cover the agent’s sales commission.

A Direct Sale to a Professional Buyer is Another Option

If time is of the essence and you and the other heirs of the estate would prefer to move things along more quickly, another option is to sell the house directly to a professional home buyer and avoid the MLS. This means you can skip the repairs, showings, cleaning, commissions, closing costs, and waiting. Although keep in mind that often times the sale price will be lower with a cash home buyer. You may end up saving both time and money by selling quickly; not having to continue paying the holding costs. Selling a house you’ve inherited in Omaha really doesn’t have to be complicated. Working with a locally owned business like Anna Buys Houses can save you time, money, and hopefully make a difficult process a lot easier.

Dealing with probate isn’t something people usually look forward to! But remember where there’s a will, there’s a way–whatever path you decide to take. We hope you’ll remember that at Anna Buys Houses, we can help with real estate you’d rather sell quickly and not have to hassle making repairs to. Leave that to us! We’re here in to answer any questions you have about the probate process and how to sell a home during this challenging time.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about probate and your Omaha property, please don’t hesitate to send us a message or give us a call. (402) 313-8700

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