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What can prolong a home sale in probate?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Estate Planning - Estate Administration & Probate

Becoming an estate executor means shouldering the responsibility of passing the assets of the deceased to their new rightful owners. However, sometimes property has to be sold off, such as the house where the decedent lived, with the proceeds going to the heirs.

Selling off the house of a loved one may be a stressful time, so it is natural to wonder if you can make the sale without delay. However, the timeline of selling a home in probate can greatly vary, so the process could take longer than you expect.

Probate duration

The sale of a home must happen before probate concludes. However, probate does not have a fixed time span. The legal process of distributing assets from an estate can take anywhere from a couple months to over two years after the death of the owner.

Straightforward estates with no disputes tend to go through probate faster than larger, more intricate estates. If you oversee an estate that holds a business, investment accounts or other properties, you need more time to properly value, manage and sell them.

Disputes and challenges

Disagreements among heirs or challenges to the validity of a will significantly lengthen probate proceedings. If estate beneficiaries contest the sale price or other aspects of the home sale, you will experience delays resolving those issues before finalizing the transaction. The more stakeholders fight over estate matters, the longer probate can drag on.

Court schedules

Probate court dockets and the number of cases ahead of the estate also affect your sale timeline. Courts with major backlogs move slower in issuing necessary orders to approve sales or transfer titles. You rely on the availability of the court to approve sale proceedings for the house.

Given that many situations that can delay a probate house sale are not in your direct control, it can be beneficial to know what you may face ahead of time. You can plan appropriately, focusing on prudent management and clear communications with beneficiaries to keep the process free of unnecessary obstacles.