Deciding to sell a house can be challenging. You have to deal with changing market conditions and come up with an appropriate asking price. You also have to list and market your property and start fielding offers.
Things can be even more complicated when the property is sold by an executor. An executor is a person who represents the estate of a homeowner who has passed away. They are legally appointed by a court of law to act as a representative in this matter.
Selling a home in Tennessee can take time. The entire process may take several weeks or months to complete. Things can take even longer when an executor is involved, primarily due to the legal procedures that may be required. The goal can still be achieved with persistence, patience and proper planning.
Here are a few things to do when a home is sold by an executor:
1. Have the will filed with the respective probate court.
One of the first things to do is to have the deceased homeowner’s will processed with the probate court in their area. In most cases, this must be done within 30 days of the person’s passing.
Failure to do so is breaking the law. The court may also decide not to name the person attempting to file the will as the executor of the estate.
Even though Tennessee does not currently have a set time for when wills must be filed, they should still be filed in a timely manner, even if the estate doesn’t need to go through the probate process.
There may still be assets that belonged to the decedent whose value could increase significantly over time, including real estate. It can also make the experience much less stressful in the long run.
2. Prepare for the probate timeline.
Most probates start the day that a person’s will has been filed. This can be a very busy time, as there’s a lot of work that has to be done.
If you’re planning on being an executor of a person’s estate, be prepared to answer a lot of questions and fill out plenty of paperwork. There are a lot of regulations and rules to learn about and various people that you’ll interact with. The probate process typically takes about six to twelve months, on average.
During probate, the deceased person’s assets will be collected. The executor of the estate is responsible for gathering those assets. They also have to pay any taxes and debts that are owed and follow the instructions stated in the will to release remaining assets to the decedent’s heirs or other beneficiaries.
Wills don’t have to be probated in Tennessee. The assets that will still be listed under the deceased person’s name as long as taxes are paid on those items by the estate.
3. Ask if the process could be expedited.
If you’re concerned about probate dragging on for a long period of time, you can inquire about having the process expedited. As of now, probates can be expedited in Tennessee if the total value of the deceased person’s assets is $50,000 or less.
If this is the case in your situation, you may have everything resolved in just a few short months. You may want to contact the respective creditors and beneficiaries as soon as possible if the probate can be expedited.
Unfortunately, most wills in Tennessee involving property generally exceed that amount. You may just have to “hurry up and wait.” It might not be easy, but the matter should probably be settled before you know it.
4. Wait to hear if you’re named the estate executor.
Nothing can really be done until the executor of the state has been named by the respective court. The house can not be listed or put up for sale. The home can’t be cleaned out and items in the home cannot be thrown away, donated or sold. Letters testamentary (if a will exists) or letters of administration (if there isn’t a will) will be issued by the court in naming a personal representative or estate executor.
Once an executor has been assigned, then the wheels can be put in motion towards selling the property. Trying to list, market or sell the home before an executor has been appointed can have some serious legal ramifications. Fines and/or jail time may result from those actions.
5. Hire a realtor with probate experience.
A real estate agent can’t be employed until an estate’s executor has been named. However, you can still meet with and interview them. Realtors can prescribe a course of action or make suggestions regarding any changes to the house’s interior or exterior. When the executor has been assigned, you are then free to hire whatever real estate agent you want.
The agent that you select should have experience with selling property that has been in probate. These kinds of transactions can be a bit more complicated than traditional home sales, especially if other parties have claims against the home or other related assets. Many probate real estate sales need court approval, even if the executor and home buyer have worked out an agreement.
Court approval and other important disclosures will be included in the purchase agreement. Both the buyer and executor should read the agreement carefully before signing anything. Either party can walk away from the sale if certain conditions or clauses are not met.
6. Sell the home.
The final step is selling the house. It may take more time if a court hearing needs to be held, or if other parties are allowed to bid on the property. The house will also have to be cleaned out and emptied before the buyer can move in. Estate executors can do this themselves, or they can hire professional movers or an auction company to sell the items that the decedent’s beneficiaries or family members don’t want or need.
It may be difficult to empty out the home, especially if there are items with significant monetary or sentimental value. Any arrangements that need to be made should be worked out before the home is sold. If there are any items that need to be repaired or renovated, that work can be done using estate assets.
There are bound to be long, stressful days when attempting to sell a home in probate. There are more steps that need to be taken, and more people are usually involved in the sale. When the sale has been finalized, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The hard work is over! Someone else can take on the responsibilities involved in owning the home, and everyone else that was involved can resume the next phase of their busy lives.