When someone passes away, it’s normal for their belongings and assets to be divided among their heirs. Usually, this is done according to the dictates of the will left behind by the deceased.
In some cases, that may mean dealing with the probate process, which is how the will is authenticated and the executor is approved. So what does that mean for a house if one is involved?
Who Is Responsible
If an executor is named in the will and is approved, that person will become responsible for the house throughout the probate process. They’ll need to maintain and take charge of the house. In the event that there is no executor named, one will be appointed by the probate court. If there wasn’t a will left, the estate will be controlled by the probate court.
Houses and estates inevitably seem to come with numerous possessions. Those will need to be inventoried and appraised. Personal effects and assets that can be liquidated, such as stocks and bonds, are included in this process. That inventory will help create a more complete picture of the financial state of the deceased. The estate’s finances will be used to settle any outstanding debts first, before the estate is divided up as dictated by the will or the probate court, depending on whether or not one was left.
What Happens to the House
What happens to a house in probate will depend on a few factors. In some cases, the house may be automatically inherited by a spouse or a sole surviving child. If there are multiple heirs that could have a claim on the house, however, it is far more common for the house to be sold. The proceeds will be divided up once all outstanding debts have been settled. Because probate can take months, if not years to complete, you may find that selling the house for cash is the fastest way to resolve things and get them wrapped up.
It can take a long time for the whole probate process to be completed and for possessions and assets to be divided among any heirs. Throughout the process, it will be crucial for the executor to remain in contact with everyone involved and keep them informed as to how things are going and decisions that need to be made. That will be the best way to help things move along smoothly and avoid ruffling feathers unnecessarily.
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