Selling After A Passing

Selling After A Passing
Losing a loved one is very difficult. Add Selling a home on top of everything and it can be overwhelming. I have been asked many times to handle property sales where the parents or spouse has passed away. It’s a very stressful time for the family involved. 

When we lose a Loved one what happens to their Real Estate property?

Seller Deceased? 
How to Handle the Contracts and Transfer of Title
Who signs the contract?  How is it signed? What type of deed do we use? Do we need to open a probate? Should the estate transfer to the heirs before a sale? What are the court “Letters” all about? These are just a few of the many questions raised when a property sale involves a deceased owner.  

Is It Really An Estate Sale?
The first thing to determine when there is a deceased owner is whether there are additional owners.  If the deceased was the sole owner, and the title was in the name of the individual and not his/her trust, you’re going to need to probate the estate to convey title.   If the property was owned by multiple owners, you need to determine how it was titled.

Can The Seller Probate On Their Own?
With joint ownership of a tenants in common property, the death of one of the owners will require that a probate estate is opened and that the property transfer with a personal representative’s deed.   Thankfully, Colorado has a very easy probate process, and most estates can be handled through what the court calls “informal probate.

What Happens In The Probate And How Long Does It Take?
In a typical informal probate, the “petitioner” is usually the person designated as the personal representative (or executor) of the estate.  They file a petition to open the estate and then the court clerk issues the letters of authority, which provide the written authority to the personal representative to begin liquidating the estate.  In most cases, the letters granting authority can be issued within a few days of petitioning the court to open the estate.

What Do I Need Before I Can List?
The official name for the letters of authority for the personal representative will depend on the estate.  If the decedent had a will, the letters will be called “Letters Testamentary.” If the decedent died without a will, the letters will be called “Letters of Administration.”  In either case, the letters will grant authority to the personal representative to liquidate the estate. The “letters” are usually unrestricted, but in some cases, where there is a dispute between heirs, the court may restrict the personal representative from taking certain actions without approval of the court.
The “letters” are important because that’s the document that gives the personal representative the authority to sign contracts for the estate and to liquidate the estate. Without “letters” the personal representative has no authority, even though they may have been named as personal representative in the decedent’s will. 

If you, your family, or someone you know needs assistance with the process of Selling after a loved one has passed. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I am available to help you with the necessary steps needed to complete the process with as little stress as possible.
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