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How to Sell a Probate House FAQs

Probate is the process in Chicago during which a decedent’s affairs are settled and his (or her) property is distributed to beneficiaries based on the terms of his will. Probate is managed by the executor who the decedent names in his will. Executors have a wide range of responsibilities related to managing estates. The Illinois Probate Act gives executor wide range of authority to manage an estate, as long as the executor acts in the best interest of the estate and not in manner that is inconsistent with the terms of the will. In the process of managing an estate and winding up the affairs of a testator, it may become necessary for the executor to sell estate property such as a house during probate. If you are an executor and you have questions about how to sell a probate house, contact an experienced Chicago estate administration lawyer.

Does an Executor Have the Authority to Sell a Probate House?

The executor of an estate has broad powers to manage property in an estate. These powers include the authority to sell property as long as it is in the best interest of the estate to do so. Before an executor can move forward with selling a probate house, the executor must have been formally appointed by the probate court. First, the probate court must open the estate. The process of opening an estate is initiated when someone, usually the executor, files the will with the probate court requesting that the court open the estate. The executor must also file a petition to be appointed as the executor. Once the court opens the estate and formally appoints the executor, the executor would have the authority to act on behalf of the estate, including selling estate property.

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Does the Executor Have the Authority to Sell a House to pay Estate Bills?

One of the jobs of the executor is to inventory the estate and appraise it. As a Chicago estate administration lawyer will explain, the executor must inventory and appraise the estate in order to understand the value of the estate so that he knows how much is available to pay estate bills and to distribute to beneficiaries. If there is not sufficient cash to pay estate debts, the executor has the authority to sell real estate and other estate property in order to pay estate bills.

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What if None of the Beneficiaries Want the House in the Estate?

It is not unusual for beneficiaries to not want a particular asset that was left to them. If that is the case then the beneficiary or beneficiaries can give the executor the authority to sell the house and give them the proceeds.

For example, Joseph left the large family home to his three daughters as his wife had passed away years prior to Joseph’s death. While all of the daughters love the home, none of them wanted the responsibility of maintaining such a large house. So all of the daughters gave the executor of the authority to sell the house and give them the proceeds from the sale.

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What if the Decedent Owned the House With Another Person?

Before a probate house can be sold, it is important that the executor understand the ownership interest the decedent had in the house. If the decedent owned it individually, the house would be part of the probate estate and the executor could sell it. However, as a skilled estate administration attorney in Chicago can explain, if the decedent owned the house as a tenant in common, then issues related to how to sell a probate house would be complicated as only the decedent’s interest in the house would be part of the probate estate. If the decedent owned the house as a joint tenant, the house would not be part of the probate estate, and the executor would not have the authority to sell it at all.

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Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
The details as to how to sell a probate house may depend on a number of factors including the decedent’s ownership interest in the house, who it is willed to, and the reason the executor wants to sell the house. While the law gives executors broad authority to sell real estate, such authority is limited to what the will allows and what is in the best interest of the estate. To learn more about how to sell a probate house in Chicago, contact an experienced estate administration attorney serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We are here to help. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent individuals and estates throughout Chicago.

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