An Executor or Administrator, also known as a Personal Representative, may sell Real Property:
(1) If authority to sell Real Property is given in the Will;
(2) If it must be sold in accordance with the terms of the Will;
(3) If it is necessary to pay debts, taxes, expenses to administer the estate, a family allowance, of Devises; or
(4) If it is in the best interests of the interested parties and is to the advantage of the Estate.
A Will may designate the terms and conditions under which Real Property is to be sold. If multiple properties are owned by the Decedent, then the Will may direct specific properties to be sold and/or otherwise direct the disposition of real property.
The Personal Representative must comply with the decedent’s wishes outlined in the Will unless there is a court order to the contrary.
Sample language which may be found in a Will: “My Executor shall sell my residence, and the net proceeds from such sale shall become a part of the residue of my estate.”
If there is no Will, or a Will does not specifically direct the sale of Real Property, then the Personal Representative may elect to sell Real Property owned by the Decedent as well as determine the method of the sale.
The traditional ways probate properties are bought and sold are by private sale, public auction, private auction, trust sale, and listing with a real estate agent. Listing with a real estate agent is the most common way Probate real estate is sold.
The Personal Representative does have a Fiduciary responsibility to maximize the amount of the inheritance to Heirs and Beneficiaries of the Decedent. This means when a Personal Representative sells Probate real estate, they have a duty to sell the Real Property for the highest price and on the best terms.
Always consult with a Probate attorney before signing a Probate Listing Agreement to ensure you have the legal authority to sell Probate Property. As Certified Probate Real Estate Specialists, we work closely with Probate attorneys and are intimately familiar with the probate process. It is common for me to collaborate with probate attorneys regarding the probate sales process.
Need help? Contact me or call 408-972-1822.