Sale of Real Estate in Probate

Homes, houses and real estate owned by a person who has died must go through probate. Probate is time consuming and time is the enemy. The house has to be sold before the bank forecloses or cash runs out.

Key to speed is to retain an attorney to fast track the probate process and not get mired in probate red tape. For a no charge, confidential consultation, call Mark W. Bidwell at 949-474-0961 for an appointment.

Attorney fees for probate administration are set by California Law based on the value of the estate. All attorneys in California charge the same. It’s the law.

The first issue is where to file. Probate is a court in the Superior Courts of California. Superior Court jurisdictions are administered by County. If the decedent’s true and permanent home was in Orange County, Orange County is the proper county for proceedings. If the decedent resided outside of California but owned real estate in Orange County, Orange County is still the proper County for selling the real property.

A petition to the Superior Court is needed to begin the process to sell a home of a decedent. At time of filing of the petition the probate the court must provide a hearing date within 45 days. 15 days before the hearing date three publications in a newspaper are needed and all heirs and persons named in the will must be served by mail at least 15 days before the hearing. Publication and service by mail must be without error. Any error will delay the hearing date by another 45 days.

At the hearing the court will appoint the personal representative to administer the estate. Key to fast tracking the real property sale is obtaining authority under the Independent Administration of Estates Act. A personal representative who has been granted authority under the Act is allowed to sell the real estate with minimal court supervision and can move quickly.

After the court hearing the personal representative has the ability to sell the house. Escrow and the sale proceeds remain under court supervision. But the house can be sold and the equity in the house preserved.

The personal representative must keep the probate estate open for a minimum of four months to allow creditors time to present their claims.  At the end of four months the personal representative may file a petition to close the estate and distribute the proceeds to heirs. The Court’s calendar is usually booked out for 30 days. A hearing date is usually available 45 days to two months out from date of filing.

Assuming everything goes well and all documents and actions are timed perfectly, a probate case can be completed in seven months.  Add any minor problem or complication and a minimum of additional two months are needed. A good rule of thumb is the probate process will take one year.

For more information call Mark W. Bidwell at 949-474-0961

Comments are closed.