If you are selling a house that is in probate, make sure that you have the right paperwork to be able to legally sign a listing agreement. The court will provide you with “letters of administration” giving you the legal right to represent the estate. Until you receive this document, you cannot list the house for sale.
- Remember to keep all interested parties in the loop. This means all beneficiaries have to be informed of the actions that will be taken in terms of the sale of the house. If you have retained an attorney he/she can be very helpful in ensuring that all legal requirements are met.
- Pay the property taxes on time. Contact the town as well as the village (if applicable) to determine due dates. They will also need to be advised of the decedent’s death so that the tax record can be updated. In New York, if the decedent was benefitting from exemptions such as enhanced STAR or a Veteran’s exemption, these will be removed. You can expect the property tax bill to be higher than what was paid in the past.
- Be mindful that all debts will be paid from the proceeds of the sale of the house prior to any distribution to the heirs.
- Make sure you document all the work that you do. You can use a notebook to document your communications and actions…(aka a “communication log”.) This is a very useful tool to facilitate communication with everyone. Your fiduciary duty is to do what is in the best interest of the estate. Contact an experienced real estate agent who understands the probate process. ALWAYS hire a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist who has specialized training to sell probate houses. An agent who specializes in selling probate houses will have knowledge of the terms, deadlines, experience in working with the courts, probate attorneys and other industry professionals. A Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist will have knowledge of the probate timeline and invaluable insight in the process that will guide you in the sale of the house. Call 631-357-4819
Remember you have a fiduciary responsibility to the estate. Always ask questions. If you have hired professionals who are knowledgeable in selling a house that is in probate they will know the answers. Use their experience to improve your knowledge. The more you know, the more in control you will be, and the more confident you will feel about the entire probate process.
For an experienced Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist, call: 631-357-4819
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