Have you ever seen a movie where someone passes away and the family meets with a lawyer to have the will read and the estate divided? If so, you may think you have an idea of what happens to a loved one’s house after they pass away. Movies rarely get such things right, however. The house of the deceased will likely go into probate. So what are the potential outcomes for a house that goes into probate?
Transferred to Named Heirs
If the house is left to an heir named in a will, the house should be transferred to that heir or heirs. The executor of the estate will file a petition with the probate court to obtain legal access to do anything with the estate. After that, the judge will convey the property to the heirs who can do whatever they want with it afterward. Understand that debts are not erased with someone’s passing. If there is a mortgage on the home, the beneficiary will be responsible for making those payments.
Conveyed to Next of Kin
Not everyone has a will. If there is no will (referred to as intestate probate), then the probate court will be responsible for conveying the property to the chosen beneficiary after the judge has named an executor. Who receives the house will depend on the state’s intestate succession law. It may be a surviving spouse, a child (or multiple children), or next of kin.
Sold with Probate Oversight
Sometimes there is a will, but the house isn’t assigned to a beneficiary. In that case, the house will likely be sold with probate oversight. This can be tricky, as the house may need some work before it’s ready to be sold on the market. The problem with that is that contractors don’t usually like waiting until the house is sold to be paid. Of course, you could get around that by selling the house to a buyer who isn’t as concerned with what condition it’s in. WNY Home Buyers buys homes in all sorts of conditions, which makes us an option worth considering.
Probate can seem pretty complicated if it’s not something you’re familiar with. Fortunately, the possible outcomes for a house in probate are relatively straightforward. Talk to the executor and attorney involved in the probate proceedings if you have any questions or concerns about what will happen with the estate.
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