Understanding Probate

Your home is in probate, but what does that mean? First and foremost, it probably means that you have experienced a difficult and devastating loss. Hopefully, you will be able to give yourself the time you need to mourn and heal. That can be difficult, however, when there is so much to be done with the estate. Luckily, it will all be a bit easier if you truly understand probate and know your options.

What it Is

Probate is the legal proceeding that oversees and ensures the proper management of a deceased person’s estate. If there is a will, the executor of the will acts as the administrator of probate. If there is no will or an executor wasn’t appointed, the court will assign someone as the administrator. This person should be physically, mentally, and emotionally able, and willing, to perform this complex and arduous task. Probate ensures that the deceased person’s debts are paid, after which it will oversee the dispersal of the estate to the beneficiaries. 

How Long it Takes

Probate can take months or even years to fully complete. This time frame is dependent on how organized the deceased was in administering their affairs. The process will also take longer depending on the complexity of the estate. A lot of debts and a wide variety of assets will prolong the process significantly. Finally, deciding what to do with the deceased person’s home can also impact how long probate takes.

What it Means for Your Inherited Home

If you are the sole beneficiary of the home, you simply need to decide what to do with it. You can choose to move into the home, rent it out, keep it as a secondary residence, or sell it. However, if there are multiple beneficiaries, everyone must agree on how to proceed. In the meantime, the administrator of probate is responsible for the maintenance of the home. By law, the home must maintain its full value during the probate process. Many families decide to sell the home as soon as possible to avoid the hassle and expense of maintaining it. If everyone agrees, the property can be sold during probate. 

Like all governmental processes, probate can be complicated and time-intensive. However, you can greatly reduce the stress by selling any real estate as soon as possible. This eliminates the upkeep and maintenance that would otherwise be required. 

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