Selling Probate Property in Florida
When a person dies in Florida, state law directs that the estate be probated which the Oxford Dictionary defines as “the official proving of a will.” Selling Probate Property in Florida can be lengthy and, to many, overwhelming and intimidating.
The assets of an estate will, of course, vary from person to person, but a house is usually the most valuable asset. Dealing with that asset is also often the most challenging task in the probate process for the administrator or executor of that estate.
Related expenses like mortgage payments, homeowner association fees, utilities and lawn care, not to mention any unexpected repairs, can add substantially to the challenge of managing the estate as it goes through the probate process. In addition, most insurance companies require notification within 30 days of the Insured’s death, and, if the house is left vacant, insurance rates often multiply significantly, since empty houses are frequently targeted by vandals, squatters, or others who cause damage.
So, the question arises: To avoid a lot of those extra responsibilities and expenses, can probate property – a house, specifically – be sold before the probate process is concluded? The answer to that question, in short, is “Yes.” But it is a complex process that must be followed precisely.
Working with a company like Anchored Homes, with access to their vast network of experts, can make Selling Probate Property in Florida much easier to navigate.
Probate Property Sale Procedure
The entire process of selling probate property in Florida will be monitored closely by the court. Each step must be approved by the court, and also by the executor of the estate.
Step One: Determine Responsible Party
Determine who is legally responsible for handling the estate. If there is a wWill or if the estate is part of a Trust, a specific person will be named within those documents: an Executor in a Will, and a Trustee in Trust documents. If there is neither a Will nor a Trust, someone, usually a close family member, will have to step up and volunteer for that responsibility.
Step Two: Open the Estate & Obtain Letters Testamentary
The responsible person – Executor, Trustee, or other named Administrator, must file a petition with the Court to open the estate and, for Letters Testamentary to be issued. Only then is the person authorized to act on behalf of the estate. In fact, without Letters Testamentary, insurance companies, banks, retirement account managers, and others acting in an official capacity that affects the estate will not – and by law cannot – speak with anyone about the details of those aspects of the estate.
Step Three: Notifications
Once authorized to do so, it becomes the responsibility of the Administrator to notify various parties about the decedent’s death. This includes sending official, written notice to any known heirs, employers, insurance companies, retirement account companies, creditors, and other relevant parties. NOTE: An employer should be able to provide the Administrator with information for contacting any benefits providers and other insurance and investment accounts accessed as part of the decedent’s employment.
A Notice must also be published in the newspaper to give unknown heirs and creditors a chance to file a claim against the estate as well.
Step Four: Waiting Period
Once official notice has been mailed to all known heirs and creditors, and a public notice has been printed in the newspaper, there is a waiting period of up to six (6) months. This gives time for any heirs and creditors, known or unknown, to file a claim against the estate. The Court must be notified that official notices have been sent and published and can shorten the waiting period under certain circumstances.
Step Five: Options for the Sale of the Property
If the estate has debts that need to be paid, the proceeds from the sale of the house will be used to pay those debts. Any remaining proceeds will be divided among the heirs as designated in the Will or at the direction of the court if no Will exists.
The property can be appraised, listed and sold traditionally by an agent, but this can take awhile depending on the condition of the property, the location and the demand in that particular market. There is also an “overbid” process through the court for this type of sale. This involves auction in court. Once listed and an interested buyer is identified, they make a 10% deposit on the property. The offer is presented to the Court, at which time anyone present is given the opportunity to make a higher bid for the property. A 10% deposit is required and the deposit from the initial interested buyer is returned. The highest bid wins the purchase of the property.
If all heirs and the court agree, the property can be sold much more quickly to a cash buyer like Anchored Homes for a fair offer without the need for any improvements or repairs. The offer will be below market value but there will be no additional financial outlay, and the sale can usually be closed more quickly.
Help Navigating the Process of Selling Probate Property in Florida
Making your way through the sale of probate property can be overwhelming and confusing, but Anchored Homes can help you navigate your way through the process. Contact us today for a free consultation.