When someone you love passes away, a lot can happen at once, and a large portion of your stress consists of things you don’t want to think about. While our loved ones will hopefully take care of us and leave parts of their estate behind as a way to help the living financially, it’s not always the case that someone cleanly leaves behind their assets and property. Many do not have living wills and some items become legally complicated after death if a lawyer wasn’t consulted beforehand.
What is a probate sale?
When someone dies without a will it is called dying intestate and it can be a real headache for those left behind. When this happens the property of the deceased enters into a legal process known as probate, in which a specialized lawyer will sort out the legal needs of the property–giving it to family members, using it to pay off owed debts, and other options. The exact procedures of probate court are decided in each state so you should look into your own state’s laws and rules to determine what the procedure will be. But generally, when a deceased person owns their property and leaves it behind without a designated heir, the probate court will seek to sell the property at the best possible price as a way to maximize the estate’s value.
How is probate different from other property sales?
For starters, the people running the show on a probate sale are the probate courts. As a buyer, you are not dealing with homeowners or normal real estate agents, but a legal court who has the authority to make financial decisions about the property. While a real estate agent will be called in, it is the court who ultimately has control over the process. They also — with advice from any retained real estate agents or adjusters — set the sale price of the property which, while still open to negotiation, is not as easy a process as with normal sales. Any offer to the property must be made with a down payment of 10% of the cost. While the real estate agent can verbally accept the highest bid, the court still sets the hearing date to formally hand the property over, which can take some time and slow the process down. So don’t look into probate sales if you need a property quickly. During this hearing, in which family members of the deceased can be present, any bidders can intervene in the process to try and win the property, but state’s laws come into play here as well. For example, in some states any bid must exceed the current bid by a certain amount to be accepted. Ultimately, it is a slow, stressful, and sometimes competitive process compared to normal property sales.
As certified Probate Experts, we can help you through the complicated world of probate sales, something no one wants to tackle alone. Get into contact with us to get started on how we can help you in all your probate sale needs.