The process of obtaining and selling an inherited house in Florida or elsewhere can be a difficult and emotional experience. But before even considering selling the house, there are a number of legal proceedings that take place to obtain ownership of any property or other probate assets via transfer from the deceased to the inheritors. This legal process is referred to as probate.
Before we talk about selling an inherited house in Florida, let’s take a detailed look at the Florida probate process.
Probate, by definition, is the legal process of administering eligible assets when someone dies, whether or not a will or revocable trust has been put in place. It can be expensive, time-intensive and, at times, distressing for family members. However, it’s important to understand the process and be prepared to navigate it should the time come. Here’s the basics of what you need to know about Florida probate rules.
When is probate necessary?
The Florida probate process only applies to “probate assets.” These are any assets owned solely by the deceased at time of death, or an asset owned by the deceased and one or more other parties without any direction from a will on how to allocate the asset. Examples include real estate, bank accounts and investment accounts, life insurance policies, and more. As not all assets are probate assets, the probate process is not always required. The probate process also ensures that any creditors of the deceased are dealt with appropriately.
If the deceased left behind a valid will, then probate will help to distribute assets according to the will, to the extent legally possible. According to the Florida bar, “The custodian of a Will must deposit the original copy of the Will with the clerk of the Court having the venue of the decedent’s estate within 10 days of receiving information that the testator is dead. (S. 732.901, Florida Statutes.)” In the case of no will, then assets are distributed to family or other successors according to Florida Intestate Succession Law.
Who are the key people involved in the probate process?
“Personal Representative” is the state of Florida’s term for the executor or administrator of a deceased person’s estate. The personal representative is in charge of managing all assets, paying off debts, and generally handling the deceased person’s estate and probate assets as they move through the probate process. Unless a particular person is specified in the deceased’s will, the personal representative is appointed by the state of Florida according to state law. A personal representative may also choose to seek legal counsel from an attorney to help through the process, and a judge generally presides over all proceedings, ensuring that all are in accordance with Florida probate rules. The judge and legal counsel can help in dealing with any creditors (like the IRS) that are involved in probate due to debts owed by the deceased at the time of death.
Selling Probate Real Estate
If the heirs of an inherited property are motivated to sell it, but haven’t yet gone through the probate process, then probate can occur alongside the selling process. Whatever real estate professional the heirs and personal representative decide to work with, they can help guide the process of selling the home as well as dealing with probate. The heirs and the personal representative will be responsible for handling all seller responsibilities, and as soon as the property title has been transferred to the heirs through the probate process, they can collect on the sale of the property.
If you need help navigating the process of selling an inherited real estate in Brevard County Florida, or you still have questions about the Florida probate rules, give us a call today. Our team at 321 House Buyers helps sellers in any situation, no matter what stage of the process you’re at.