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Can you sell a house while the estate is in probate?

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Selling a house is often a stressful and complicated process, made more so when it comes to properties owned by estates in probate. During this period, the court oversees asset distribution, including real estate. 

Knowing what is involved in the probate process and the extra steps required for selling estate property can help ensure the sale goes smoothly and legally.

Almost every estate goes through probate

The probate process in both New York and New Jersey involves the following steps:

  • The estate executor files a petition with the Surrogate’s Court in the county where the deceased person lived, asking to be appointed executor and to probate the will.
  • Once the petition is filed, the executor must notify all heirs, beneficiaries, and other interested parties of the probate proceeding.
  • The court will hold a hearing to review the will and determine its validity. After the will is declared valid, the court will give the executor legal authority to administer the estate.
  • There must be an inventory and appraisal of all assets.
  • The executor will pay outstanding debts and taxes the deceased person owes.
  • The executor can then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries after paying all the debts and taxes.
  • The executor must provide a final accounting to the court detailing all transactions and distributions made during the probate process.

Unless other provisions were made, the deceased’s house or real estate property may need to be sold to liquidate the estate. Only the estate’s executor, or another legal representative, may sell any assets during the probate process. They must first obtain approval from the court by filing a petition requesting permission to sell the property. Once approval is granted, the executor can proceed with the sale process. 

Understanding the probate process can help ensure that all legal requirements are met and make an executor’s job much easier. Experienced guidance can also help.