Probate. What it is and what it isn’t.

Probate sounds like a scary legal term that should be avoided, but what is probate? Hint it’s probably not what you’re thinking it is. 

Probate is a legal process where a court oversees the tasks involved in dispersing the estate of the deceased. Each state has specific statutes and laws that must be followed regarding the handling of the estate. If you’re in any way involved in receiving or managing an estate, you need to understand some basic information.

The entire point of probate is to protect the assets of someone who has died from fraudulent claims and ensure everything remains legal.

Having a Will does not help you avoid the probate process. A house can avoid probate if it’s automatically passed on to survivors via a living trust, joint ownership, community property law, or transfer-on-death deed. If it doesn’t fall into one of these exceptions, the general rule is that if someone dies and owns real estate, any property they own is headed for some kind of probate process—will or no will.

A will does make the probate process more straightforward. The personal representative of the estate (also known as the executor) will need to carry out any final wishes. However before the executor can fulfill this they must file a petition with the probate court and set a court date before he or she is granted the legal authority to sell, alter, or administer the estate. This can take a long time, even months, so it’s very important to file as soon as possible.

The probate process may be a long, emotional rollercoaster that lasts anywhere from 3 months to several years, depending on the complexity of the estate, family relations, and directions left by the deceased. 

Without a Will, the property is usually given to surviving spouses, children, or next of kin. This depends on individual state’s laws. 

If there are no specific beneficiaries of the house in the will—the executor of the estate will need to sell the property in probate. The faster the sale happens the less property taxes, HOA fees, and insurance there is to pay. However, many of these homes that are found in probate need some serious TLC. The main problem with this is that you will want to pay for the repairs out of the final sale. Few vendors are willing to wait for the sale to come through before receiving payment. Even if you do find a vendor that is willing to accept this deal you are cutting even deeper into your pockets. 

What you will need to do is sell quickly and easily, avoid extra costs and expenses, and most of all maximize your profits. If you have a house in probate in Southern Indiana or Kentucky contact us today. We are extremely experienced in probate sales so we can answer any questions you may have and help you get a fair cash offer for the property.

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