What Does Probate Mean In Florida?
Probate simply is a legal process that occurs after a loved one passes, and this process determines how the loved one’s assets will be distributed. The assets of the deceased person will be inventoried and distributed to pay creditor’s claims against the estate. If there are assets remaining after paying any creditors, those remaining assets will then be distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries. Most often, the “will” dictates an executor, and that executor assumes the duties of coordinating this probate process.
We’ve all heard about a “house in probate” or “an estate going through probate”, but what exactly does that mean? And how does it relate to “selling a home in probate”? We buy houses in probate in Florida, so I may refer to Florida specific rules, but please check with a licensed attorney in your state for specifics on your state.
What If There Is No Will?
If there is no will, the state’s probate court will decide the rules of inheritance of the loved one’s estate. “Intestate” is a term you may have heard before, that refers to a person who does not have a valid will at the time of death. Here is a quick 2-minute video that clearly lays out what happens in Florida when there is no will.
What Does It Mean When A House Is “In Probate”?
When a person passes away, all of their personal property (belongings, bank accounts, collectibles) and their real property (homes, cars, boats) needs to be properly and lawfully distributed to the heirs. All of this is called their “estate”.
Usually, the largest part of someone’s estate is their home. It’s also one of the most complicated – they lived there along with other family members, this is where they kept a lot of their other “personal property”, there is usually a loan or mortgage on the property, banks are involved, local government has an interest (taxes), repairs may be needed, etc. There is a lot involved…
That is why a house becomes one of those items “in probate”. Legally, a determination needs to be made of who will inherit this home, or how the title will be transferred so that it can be conveyed or sold. Therefore, while an estate is in the probate process, real estate professionals say that “the home is in probate”, along with all their other property.
Most importantly, heirs cannot sell/convey/transfer this home without going through probate. The probate process transfers title of the property to the heirs, allowing them the ability to sell or otherwise transfer the home. If you’re in FL, and need some legal help, I would look at the Twitter page for the Florida Bar Association or look up your state’s Bar Association.
How Do You Sell A Home In Probate?
A home in probate can be sold provided all heirs are present and able to sign off on the purchase and sale agreement, as “seller”. The reason that all heirs need to be identified and need to sign the sale agreement is to be able to provide title insurance to the buyer, avoiding an heir coming back later claiming their rights.
If the loved one who passes has a surviving spouse, it may make the process easier if they held title in a way in which the house passes to the surviving spouse automatically. For example, if they held title by “tenants by the entirety”, the marriage itself owns the property, and if one spouse dies, the widow or widower becomes the sole owner of the property.
In Florida, we typically will use a FAR/BAR contract, which has been approved by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) and the Florida Bar (BAR). As mentioned earlier, all heirs must sign off on this contract for sale to ensure the title can be accurately transferred.
What Is The Best Way To Sell A Home In Probate?
The decision of how to sell a property needs to be determined by the heirs. The sale can be handled through a realtor or directly to a cash home buyer like NextBridge Home Solutions. The decision process will need to consider the costs (realtor, probate, repairs), timeframe, logistics (is everybody local?), repair materials and labor, and level of effort.
We use our preferred attorney to administer the probate and his office completes the probate process very fast. We buy inherited homes quickly in an as-is condition, while in probate, and we pay all the costs. That makes it a very easy transaction, usually a couple weeks. The heirs can certainly decide to list the house on the MLS, there just will be some additional costs and time. Consider the logistics of the repairs, cleaning, the listing process, showing appointments, negotiation phase, closing process and distribution of proceeds when making your decision.
Action Plan If You Have Inherited A House In Probate
Your first step is to take your time. The loss of a loved one is extremely difficult, so don’t make any decisions until you and any other heirs can process your feelings, thoughts and clearly decide together. Next you should:
Decide as a group how much time you have available to commit to the sales process.
Are there repairs to be made? If so, who will make them, and who will pay for them?
Research and ask for recommendations for Probate Attorneys. We may recommend a few.
Is everybody local or will some of the heirs need to travel to the location or sign remotely?
What selling price will you ask for this home? (…and does everybody agree to this price?)
Finally, you all must agree to sell the quick & easy way or pay a realtor to list it on the MLS.
We Provide A Faster And Easier Way To Sell A Home In Probate
If you are interested in exploring the quicker, easier way to complete this sale, you might think about selling directly to a professional cash home buyer. We buy homes directly from heirs looking to sell a home quickly. We can provide a cash offer within 2 days, we handle all costs and repairs, you will have no showings or cleaning, and together we’ll close the sale as quickly as possible (usually just a couple weeks). We pay for our preferred probate attorney, whose team is very efficient at completing the probate process very quickly.
If we can help with a free consultation, please fill out some information below or you can text/call us at (239) 244-2474. We look forward to discussing your options with you.