Family members are eager to receive the proceed of their loved one’s estate after they pass. Unfortunately, probate adds some time to the process and slows the time when the estate will be distributed. Beneficiaries need to factor in both the probate process and the role of the executor when it comes to selling the deceased’s home.

The house is often a large part of the estate. Before the estate can be settled, the creditors must be paid what they are owed first. This is a must before any property is passed down to the beneficiaries. In other words, they do not actually own the home until the debts are settled. Thus, nothing can be done to reduce the size of the estate. Even after that, the executor is in control of the process when it comes to selling a home. Beneficiaries cannot act to sell valuable parts of the estate without working with and through the executor. This includes key decisions about the listing price, real estate agent and whether to accept an offer.

If there is no will, family members still cannot act unilaterally without the involvement of the court. Either the court will appoint an executor, or it may involve itself in the sale of the property. Regardless, family members cannot act on their own outside of the process.

Beneficiaries and the executor may benefit from legal counsel during the probate process. There are many technical requirements as well as points where things can go wrong. A probate attorney can help keep things moving and avoid delays beyond that which is already imposed by the court. In the event that there is a dispute, a probate attorney can help advocate for their client while attempting to resolve the matter without any litigation in court.