Selling A Deceased Estate | Century 21

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough in itself. However, this already emotional time often comes with an additional load of ‘things to do’, including selling the family home or other property included in the deceased estate. 

A deceased estate can’t be sold until probate is granted, which usually takes four weeks but can take much longer, so if you will be handling the sale, or assisting with preparing the house for sale, take a deep breath and take your time. Your best ally at this difficult time will be a Century 21 real estate agent, who can guide you with empathy and professionalism though the whole process. 

Dealing with the legal issues

If your loved one left a last Will and Testament and named an executor to finalise their estate, the legal process will be quite straightforward. If they passed away intestate (i.e. without leaving a will) a member of the family needs to apply for a probate in court, which can be a lengthy process. 

From the time probate is obtained you will have 24 months to decide what to do with the property before ‘death taxes’ kick in, so you may wish to rent it out for this time.

If an executor has been appointed in the Will, then they effectively become the vendor of the property. 

Cleaning up the home

Your loved one’s appointed executor is responsible for removing all possessions from the home that have been left to beneficiaries in the Will and safeguarding them until probate has been finalised.

The executor is then responsible for dividing remaining possessions among family members, selling anything valuable that is then left, and removing the remainder to charity shops or the local dump. They may also wish to organise a garage sale which can help pay for lawn mowing and other maintenance required while the home is on the market. If this is too difficult an emotional process to deal with, there are deceased estate management companies that will deal with the sale and distribution of goods on your behalf. 

Before completely clearing out the home, speak with your Century 21 real estate agent to determine whether the home should be sold completely vacant or partly furnished. Empty rooms tend to look smaller than well furnished rooms, so your agent may advise you to declutter and depersonalise before the sale but leave some or all the furniture in place until after contracts are exchanged on the sale.  

If you don’t live in the area, your real estate agent for the sale will be able to recommend local tradespeople to undertake any necessary repairs and cleaners and gardeners to maintain the property in good order during the time it’s on the market.

Handling the sale

If you are the executor of the deceased estate, you will need to speak with your Century 21 real estate agent and determine timeframes for the sale, whether the property will be sold by auction or private treaty and set an asking price for the property.  If there are any instructions in the Will regarding the sale of the property, you are legally obliged to sell in accordance with these. 

To smooth the process, discuss the details of the sale with any beneficiaries who will share the proceeds and ensure everyone is on the same page and in agreement. Make sure everyone feels comfortable and included in the whole process in order to avoid resentments and disputes.  

Selling a deceased estate house that holds many memories is inevitably a painful process, so seek the best possible help and advice. Century 21 agents are experienced at dealing with emotionally charged property sales such as deceased estates and forced sales after a separation and will deal with you and your family members with professionalism, empathy and straightforward advice based on their in-depth knowledge of the local property market. 

Posted by Administrator on 19/07/2017 at 3:45 PM | Categories:

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