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As executor, can you sell a loved one's home?

The executor of an estate has many duties that can sometimes seem overwhelming and confusing. As someone who holds this position, you may end up having to delve into areas that you have no personal experience with, such as real estate. You may wonder why, but as part of the probate process, you may end up having to sell a home.

Because one of your main duties as the executor involves making sure the named beneficiaries receive the intended assets, you may wonder whether you even have the ability to sell a home owned by the deceased. However, if your loved one did not directly bequeath the property to a beneficiary, you may need to sell it in order to divide the proceeds among the heirs.

Necessary procedures

In order to conduct a sale during probate, you will need to follow specific guidelines set forth for California probate sales. The steps involved in the process are as follows:

  • Having the property appraised by a certified appraiser
  • Obtaining, filling out and filing a petition with the court for approval to conduct the sale
  • Putting the property on the market
  • Accepting a buyer's offer
  • Filing another petition with the court for a hearing to confirm the sale
  • Obtaining a 10 percent deposit from the buyer before the hearing
  • Advertising the sale of the home in order to give opportunity for an open bid at the confirmation hearing
  • Going to the hearing and open bidding
  • Refunding the original buyer's deposit if he or she did not win the open bid
  • Closing the contract and finishing the sale

You may wonder why an open bid for the property needs to take place if a buyer has already come forward. In this situation, rather than simply trying to sell the home, the goal is to obtain the best price for the estate. The open bid allows for other interested parties to come forward and possibly outbid the original buyer's price, which would benefit the estate and beneficiaries.

Following procedure

A misstep during this process could potentially cause issues that can set back the probate process. Fortunately, you do not have to carry out these tasks on your own, and an attorney can help you understand your various duties as executor and guide you through any of the necessary tasks you need to complete during the legal proceedings, including the steps involved with selling a home during probate.

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