Probate and Selling Realty owned by a Decedent
Then the seller gets a call from the real estate agent saying is a problem with the title. The estate of the deceased owner has not been administered are probated. If there is a will, it has to be probated. If not, a petition for the administration of the estate must be filed. This will result in the appointment of an executor or administrator with the power to sell the property of the estate (administrators and executors are also referred to as personal representatives).
In hindsight this process could have been earlier. However, many times a joint property owner has no urgency about deeding the title of the house from the deceased person's name. It may seem like a pointless expense. Then, a closing time comes near, so probates are undertaken on urgent basis.
At times our office is called to assist in these matters. If there is a will, the probate can be done fairly quickly if all heirs are known and willing to cooperate by signing the proper paperwork for a probate by consent. If heirs will not cooperate, the process takes longer because heirs must be served with a copy of the petition and will. If there is not a will, a petition for administration must be filed. At times this procedure will require legal advertisement to run for 30 days. It can be difficult to get all this done when a closing is near.
It is more prudent to probate the will promptly to allow the executor to deed the property over to the remaining owner. That way they will be no need to hurry later. With some real estate deeds, the joint ownership is with right of survivorship, so the administration of an estate may not be necessary. A deed of joint ownership should always be checked to see if this provision is present.