If a close loved one has recently passed away, you may have found yourself dealing with the aftermath, including settling the decedent’s estate. That process sometimes includes working out what is supposed to happen with real estate. As it turns out, there are a few different paths a house in probate can take.
Ideally, the decedent will have left a will behind that dictates precisely what should be done with the house. In some cases, ownership of the house will be transferred to one person. A surviving spouse is a common choice for a sole beneficiary. In other cases, the house may be inherited by surviving children. When there are multiple beneficiaries, it’s common for houses to be sold and the proceeds of the sale divided equally.
Not everyone leaves a will behind. The house will go through intestate probate when that happens, provided it hasn’t been transferred via living trust, a transfer-on-death deed, or joint tenancy law. The judge will name an immediate family member to be the estate executor. From there, the house will go through probate court. The judge may designate a surviving spouse, children, or next of kin to be the beneficiary of the house. The decision will be based on the state’s intestate laws.
Sometimes it becomes necessary to sell the house. That can be tough sometimes since probate homes aren’t always in the best condition and can be difficult to sell. You’ll need to find the right buyer, one who can move quickly on the house and pay a fair price for it. Navigating a probate sale scenario can be different from what happens during a normal home sale. If the house sells quickly and well, it’s possible to avoid paying capital gains tax and end up with money left over that can be inherited.
Probate can be a frustrating process, if for no other reason than that it takes time. The probate process can span months, sometimes even years, depending on the complexity of the estate, any directions left behind by the decedent, and family relations. Just remember, the whole point of probate is to ensure that the decedent’s interests are protected and to avoid fraud. Take some time to learn more about probate. You may find it helpful to understand more about what’s going on.
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