For sale sign in front of large white house

Selling a House During the Probate Process in Massachusetts

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always challenging, and the complexities of settling the estate can add an additional layer of stress. For many families in Southeastern Massachusetts, selling a relative’s house is a necessary step in managing the family’s finances and ensuring the proper distribution of the deceased’s property. However, selling a house during the probate process comes with a unique set of challenges and legal requirements. That’s where the services of Surprenant & Beneski become invaluable.

Why a House May Have To Be Sold Promptly After a Death in the Family

There are several reasons why selling a house quickly after a death in the family may be necessary. The proceeds from the sale may be required to pay off outstanding debts, settle estate taxes, or distribute assets among heirs as stipulated in the will. In some cases, the maintenance costs of keeping the property may be unsustainable for the estate or the beneficiaries. Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand the legal implications of selling property during probate.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s will is validated, and their assets distributed, under court supervision. This process includes identifying and inventorying the deceased’s property, appraising the property, paying debts and taxes, and finally distributing the remaining property as directed by the will, or by state law if the deceased died intestate (without a will).

How Will Probate Affect the Sale of Real Estate?

In Massachusetts, the sale of real estate during probate is subject to court approval. The personal representative (executor), in addition to many other duties, is responsible for handling the sale. This includes listing the property, accepting an offer, and seeking court approval before the sale can be finalized. This process ensures that the property is sold for a fair price and that the proceeds are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes or state law.

Selling a house during probate can be even more time-consuming and complex than a standard real estate transaction. Potential buyers may be hesitant to make an offer on a probate property due to the length of the process and the possibility of court-mandated changes to the terms of the sale.

How Our Probate Attorneys Can Simplify the Process

At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., our experienced probate attorneys can help simplify the process of selling a house during probate by helping personal representatives (executors):

  • Understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
  • Navigate court procedures required for selling real estate during probate.
  • Prepare and file the necessary legal documents in a timely fashion.
  • Communicate with potential buyers and real estate professionals to ensure they understand the probate process.
  • Obtain the best possible outcome for the estate and its beneficiaries.

Our lawyers are determined to make the probate process as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you and your family and they have the skill set to make it happen. 

Can Probate Be Avoided Altogether?

In some cases, it may be possible to avoid the probate process altogether, which can expedite the sale of the deceased’s property. Methods for avoiding probate include establishing a living trust, designating beneficiaries on accounts, or owning property jointly with rights of survivorship. Our attorneys can provide advice on estate planning strategies that can help your family avoid probate in order to facilitate a smoother transition after a loved one’s death.

Contact Our Experienced Massachusetts Probate Attorneys Today

If you find even the thought of selling a house during probate overwhelming, now is the time to get in touch with the competent, caring probate attorneys at Surprenant & Beneski. We will clarify your obligations and help you understand your available options. More than that, we will do the heavy lifting when it comes to handling all the legal and logistical challenges associated with the house sale. Contact us now we’re eager to provide you with the personalized service you deserve.