Can an executor sell a house that is in probate?
And do the beneficiaries have any say in the executor selling a property?
In this article, you’ll learn about:
Let’s dig in.
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An executor can sell a house that is in probate.
An executor will sell a house that is in probate to:
An executor cannot sell a house that is in probate if it goes against the will.
Let’s say the will states that one of the beneficiaries should inherit the house.
In that case, the executor has to follow the will.
And they cannot sell a house that is in probate.
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An executor can sell property to himself.
But, the executor has to sell property to himself at fair market value.
Meaning the executor cannot sell a house below market value to himself.
The executor needs to have the property appraised.
We recommend getting three different appraisals and averaging them together.
Then, get approval for the appraisal from the beneficiaries.
If they do not approve, the executor can seek approval from the courts.
If you have an average of three appraisals, the courts are likely to approve the appraisals.
Then, the executor can sell property to himself.
Related: Consequences Of Not Probating A Will
A house can be sold while in probate.
To sell a house while in probate, the executor needs to petition the courts to sell the house.
Before the executor shows up to the court hearing, they need to get appraisals.
The judge will use this appraisal to make sure that you sell the house for 90%+ of market value.
In this hearing, the executor will receive permission to sell the house while in probate.
The buyer of the property needs to put down a 10% down payment.
The offer is subject to the court’s approval.
Once the offer gets accepted, the heirs need to get notified.
The executor will need to give the heirs a Notice of Proposed Action.
It simply states the terms of the sale of the home.
The heirs have 15 days to object to the sale of the home while in probate.
Let’s talk about how does an executor sell a house.
The steps for how an executor sells a house are:
An executor of a will can put you out of a house.
There are two scenarios for an executor of a will to put you out of a house:
Let’s say there is a lease agreement with the beneficiary living in the house.
In this case, the executor has to evict the beneficiary.
To put you out of the house, the executor needs to:
Let’s say that there is NOT a lease agreement with the beneficiary living in the house.
In this case, the executor can put you out of a house with an Unlawful Detainer.
To evict a beneficiary with an unlawful detainer:
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An executor has 5 years to sell a house.
There is no time limit for how long an executor has to sell a house.
How long it takes an executor to sell a house depends on if the:
By law, an executor has a 30-90 day time limit to probate a will.
The exact probate time limit depends on the state you live in.
Another law is that the will becomes invalid 5 years after probate is filed.
So, the executor needs to sell the house within 5 years.
That way, the proceeds can get distributed per the will.
If the will becomes invalid, the estate gets divided up per intestacy laws.
But there are no laws saying how long an executor has to sell a house.
An executor cannot transfer property to himself.
This is because the property belongs to the beneficiaries.
The only way that the executor can transfer property to himself is if it’s the will’s instructions.
For example, maybe the executor inherited the house while the other beneficiaries inherited money.
Or the executor is the only beneficiary.
Otherwise, the executor has to follow the will’s instructions.
And the executor cannot transfer property to himself.
An executor can sell a house below market value.
But if the executor is selling a house below market value, they have to get beneficiary approval.
An executor can sell a house at 90%+ of market value without beneficiary approval.
So, if they are selling a house below 90% of market value, they need permission to do so.
To sell a house below market value, the executor has to get permission from the courts.
During this period, the beneficiaries can:
What if no one is willing to pay a higher price?
The judge will give the executor permission to sell the house below market value.
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An executor cannot give property away because it belongs to the beneficiaries.
But there are ways that the executor can give property away.
An executor who wants to give property away can buy the property from the beneficiaries.
If the executor buys it from the beneficiaries at market value, they can give it away.
They can also give the property away if the will instructs them to do so.
If the beneficiaries disagree with the will giving the property away, they need to contest the will.
But contesting a will means you’re trying to prove the will is invalid.
Contesting a will does not mean you are changing things you don’t like.
If the executor gives the property away without permission, there are repercussions.
If your executor gives property away without permission, contact a probate attorney.
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A beneficiary can stop the sale of a property.
But only if the executor is selling the property below 90% of fair market value.
An executor’s responsibility is to follow the will’s instructions.
Or act in the best interest of the estate.
If the executor is not, then the beneficiary can stop the sale of a property.
But a beneficiary cannot stop the sale of a property for other reasons.
For example, let’s say the property has extreme sentimental value for the beneficiary.
The beneficiary cannot stop the sale of a property for this reason alone.
The executor has to get approval to sell a property under market value.
The only ways a beneficiary can stop the sale of a property is if the executor is:
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All heirs do not have to agree to sell a property.
Property can be sold without all of the heirs agreeing.
There are two scenarios where you might wonder if heirs have to agree to sell property:
Let’s say the property is still in probate.
The executor needs to petition the court for approval to sell the property.
But what if probate is closed and the heirs own the property together?
The heirs who want to sell need to file a complaint to partition the property.
In either case, the judge will make the decision to sell the property.
And they will issue a court order for the executor or heirs to sell the property.
So, no, all heirs do not have to agree to sell property.
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An executor of a will has the final say as long as they are:
An executor of a will needs to be able to prove in court that they have:
If they have not done these things, a beneficiary can challenge the executor in court.
But if the executor is following the will’s instructions, they have the final say.
Related: What An Executor Cannot Do
An executor of a will can sell property without all beneficiaries approving.
To sell property without beneficiary approval, the executor has to sell property at 90%+ of market value.
To do this, get three appraisals of the property.
And then take the average of those three appraisals.
(I know you don’t want to pay for three appraisals.
But if a beneficiary contests you, you want to have more evidence supporting you.)
Then, you are able to sell the property at 90%+ of the appraised market value.
And you can sell the property without the beneficiaries approving of it.
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