4 Things to Know About Selling Deceased Estate Property

Clever Real Estate's Photo
By Clever Real Estate Updated March 9, 2023


Losing a loved one is difficult in any circumstance. However, when you are named a beneficiary or estate executor for a deceased loved one’s estate, things get even more complicated. The grieving process is difficult and having to deal with the added stress of selling your relative’s estate can be overwhelming — especially if the property has to go through probate.

The legal proceedings and costs of selling the estate can be costly, but there are many opportunities to save money.

A talented and compassionate real estate agent can aid you in the selling process. The selling of an estate should be managed by a professional realtor with experience in the area. Clever Partner Agents can help to save you money while selling the estate of your deceased loved one.

Need help selling inherited property?

A Clever Partner Agent can walk you through the process.

1. Know Whether or Not the Courts Need to Get Involved

The legal transfer of property from a deceased individual to a living relative or beneficiary can sometimes require court intervention, this process is called probate. In the event that your loved one left behind will, you may not have to worry about any legal proceedings.

However, all states have different laws that address the transfer of property to heirs or beneficiaries. Typically, the closest living relative will receive ownership of the deceased individual’s property.

There are three types of property title ownership that will help determine what happens to property after the death of an owner.

  • Sole Ownership: Any property that is owned by one individual is typically titled under sole ownership. This property isn’t transferred to anyone else after the death of the individual owner unless it’s been stipulated prior to the individual’s death. Property that is titled under sole ownership includes bank accounts and investments.
  • Joint Ownership: Joint ownership refers to property that is owned by multiple people. This kind of ownership can be passed on to one or all of the others listed on the title certificate if it has been drawn up to include "rights of survivorship." Joint ownership without "rights of survivorship" divvies up property among the owners.
  • Title by Contract: This type of property is distinguished by the fact that it can be passed on to beneficiaries in the event of the owner’s death. Life insurance policies and retirement accounts can fall under this category.

It’s a good idea to talk with an experienced attorney who can help you to determine how your loved one's property was titled. If it is confirmed that you will need to go through the courts to transfer a deceased individual’s property, then your attorney can represent you in the process.

2. You’ll Need to Settle Debts

If you intend to sell your deceased loved one’s home, then you will need to keep up with the home’s expenses. If your relative’s estate has an executor named, it will be their responsibility to cover the costs of maintaining the estate. Maintenance fees include mortgage payments and utilities.

In cases of insolvency, where the estate has more debts than assets, it’s necessary to check the state law to see what you need to pay. Some states have a priority list when it comes to covering expenses.

3. Determine Whether It’s Possible for You to Sell the Estate

If your loved one has named both an executor and beneficiaries of the property, then you will need to get the permission of the executor to sell the home. If the executor and beneficiaries disagree on what to do with the property then you may need to go through the court system.

To ease the process of selling your home, you’ll need to have the right paperwork. If your loved one died suddenly or did not leave you with any important documents, you may need to look through their belongings to find them. Here are some of the most important documents to have when selling your deceased loved one’s estate:

  • Copy of the homeowners insurance policy
  • Bill receipts
  • Your loved one’s will
  • Bank account documentation
  • Investment account information

4. You’ll Need to Pay State Taxes on the Transfer of Property

Federal law dictates that you’ll have to pay estate taxes on the transfer of the ownership of the property from your loved one to you. Additionally, you will need to pay taxes on the sale of the home once you have successfully sold it.

Paying all of these taxes can add up, it’s a good idea to discuss the costs related to the sale of your home with an experienced real estate agent. Clever Partner Agents can help you to list the estate and get it sold while saving you money.

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

Clever understands that the process of selling an estate that belonged to a deceased loved one is difficult. We want to make it as easy as possible. Clever Partner Agents can aid you in the process of selling the estate while saving you money.

Our Partner Agents are experienced, full-service realtors who work for 1.5% listing fees ($3,000 minimum).

Related Articles

You May Also Like

Better real estate agents at a better rate

Enter your zip code to see if Clever has a partner agent in your area
If you don't love your Clever partner agent, you can request to meet with another, or shake hands and go a different direction. We offer this because we're confident you're going to love working with a Clever Partner Agent.