Selling Real Property During California Probate: What to Know

There may come a time after you have passed away that the personal representative appointed to your estate may need to sell real property. If you’ve already been appointed as a personal representative, you also need to know about all the rules for holding and preserving this property, what it can be sold for, and what happens to it if you need to sell that property in order to cover estate debts.

California Probate Code 10300 outlines the procedures for selling real property. An administrator of an estate may have full or limited authority. If an administrator is appointed with limited authority, then the court supervision is required for them to sell. These steps must be taken in order for real property to be sold. First, a Notice of Proposed Sale is required if the value of the property for sale is greater than $5,000.

This notice must contain the mode of the sale, a description of the property and the place, date and time of the sale. Further notice requirements are outlined in probate code 10304. The sale notice must be provided at least 15 days in advance and heirs have 15 days to object to the sale. If you are a personal representative getting ready to sell real property, bear in mind that the best process is to sell it for the highest price in a fair procedure. Beware of brokerage fees, too, when listing this property for sale.

A listing price must be established from a probate referee’s appraised value. An acceptable offer for court approval of the sale must be at least 90% of the probate referee’s appraised value. The original buyer has to deposit 10% of the total purchase price on the day of the hearing or prior to this date.

Their deposit is then applied towards the purchase price. With so many complex issues at play in closing out a California probate situation, consult with a qualified attorney to learn more.

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