This blog post deals with probate and what you have to look out for in a real estate transaction if an estate is involved.
If a person owning property dies then before the property can be transferred the deceased’s will has to be probated. Probate gives the executor under the will the legal authority to deal with the property of the deceased. The probated will is then registered on title and the land registrar then registers the property in the name of the executor. No property transfer tax is payable on the transfer. Once the property is in the name of the executor the executor can then sign the transfer to any purchaser or to the person who is the beneficiary of the property under the will.
If there is no will then someone has to be appointed the administrator of the estate. This is done by the proposed administrator applying to the court for letters of administration. This is a similar process to obtaining probate of a will.
The thing to remember when you are dealing with an estate situation is that obtaining probate or letters of administration takes time. The lawyer for the estate has to gather the necessary information to prepare the court papers, it has to be filed, reviewed by the court, changes might have to be made and then the court once it is satisfied everything is in order, will issue probate or letters of administration. How long the process takes depends on which court location it is filed in, how busy that court is and whether changes need to be made to the application. But you have to figure on at least two months form the time the application is filed until when probate or letters of administration are issued.
So if you are taking a listing of an estate property make sure to find out if probate has been obtained or if not, at what stage of the process it is. Any prospective purchaser is going to want to know this so they can estimate when they will be able to close and obtain possession.