This is Alden Simpson with Greenville Home Buyers. I just got done looking at this house in Spartanburg, Converse Heights Area. I want to take a minute to explain how the probate process works. This seller is like many that we work with. They, unfortunately, had a family member pass away, the house is in probate and many people don’t know what the probate process is like. If you hadn’t had to go into court and deal with this after your loved one is passed. It was probably a mystery to you so I figured i would share a little bit about how probate works and what the basic steps are of it.
So, this seller called us, their house was in probate. Their person, a family member that had passed away did not have a will, so the probate was really in-charge of assigning the house to the next of kin. Letting them sell the house in probate if they wanted or wait till the probate court is closed which can take 7 to 12 months just depending. In this case, there were no creditors to the estate but typical probate process works such that; person passes away if they have any outstanding bills, utility bills, medical bills, loans on the house, etc. Judgments maybe, liens whatever it may be, the probate process is meant to settle those out, out of the assets the person had when they passed.
The probate gets opened usually’s the member of the family becomes the personal representatives, he has to get appointed as a personal representative for the estate. The estate is another word for probate of your deceased family member. The personal representative is in charge of making the filings with the court and handling the issues of the house and the creditors etc. If you have a house that your set to inherit and just based on if you’re the only son/daughter of your parent. If there are some outstanding bills maybe some medical bills, ambulance ride etc. The probate court wants to make sure the bills will get paid. So, you can either pay them out of maybe the person who passed had some money in the saving account and it covers it. If not, then the next thing they go to is the house, so they’re gonna want the person to sell the house while probate is still open in order to pay off the creditors.
So, that’s one way it can work, the judge will order the sale of the house and then you can sell it. And then it goes to pay off the creditors. If you want to sell the house before probate’s done, you can also petition the court to sell the house and get permission to sell it. If there’s still a time frame before probate’s going to close then the court might require the funds be held in escrow at an attorney’s office until the probate’s closed.
An example of how it works, let’s say you would sell your house for a 100,000 dollars, you would get the 100,000 dollars but it will be put into an escrow account and it wouldn’t get dispersed to you until the probate’s closed. If you sold it four months into probate maybe four to six months later, you would get the funds from the house once the probate is determined that there are no creditors that have any outstanding debts that need to be paid. That’s one way to not have to maintain the house, mow the grass, fix the roof. Maybe there’s leaks in the roof or something that has caused the house to be damaged as it sits. So, if you don’t want to let it sit there, that’s the way you can sell it and not have to be in charge of maintaining it while probate is still going on, it could be over a year sometimes.
Another scenario is if the person who passed away has a will, then generally probate is opened you present that will to the court and the house is left to whoever it was willed to and it really shortens the probate process a lot, assuming there are no creditors outstanding. That’s a simpler way if there’s a will, definitely, it’s helpful. I would encourage anyone that has Aunts, Uncles, parents, that are getting older in age, to get their affairs together and it will make everything much smoother on down the road for all the family members.
The final step of probate is typically called the deed of distribution. When probate is over, all the creditors have been paid or no one has come forward, then the deed of distribution gets issued and that passes the ownership of the house to whoever is going to inherit it. It could be, one son or daughter might be multiple siblings. I have seen deeds with eight to ten people on them. It just depends on how the will is written. And if there’s no will, then the court really just uses the standard rule.
For example, if I passed away and my wife was still living, the house goes to wife automatically and actually goes outside of probate. So that goes around the probate process. The other solution is, If there’s only one parent left and they passed away, the house is going to go to the kids. If one of the kids is no longer alive then the children, the descendants of that person get a portion of the house. So, just for example, if you have three kids and you passed away and maybe one of your kids had unfortunately passed away before you, then the kids of the child that passed away are going own a percentage of the house. Then, the two other kids that are still living are going to own part of the house. It ends up being 5-6 people on the deed and maybe 20% to one 20% to the other, 40% to one etc. It just means you have to get an agreement about what you’re going to do and whether you’re ready to sell the house, what’s the price you’re happy with and who’s gonna handle the affairs of the estate. Probably it will be the personal representative, they are going to file that with the court and do all the work. So, when it comes time to sell the house and everybody’s ready to go to the attorney’s office and get the closing done and get their percentage of the proceeds from the sale.
So, there’s much more of probate that I can talk about and that’s the basics of how it works. Of course, if you have any questions about the probate process, you are free to reach out to us, and there’s a contact us page on the website here greenvillehomebuyers.com or you can comment on this video if it’s on YouTube or Facebook and we’d be happy to help. If you have a house you would like to sell you want an offer on it, of course, we’d be happy to make an offer on your property as well. We do business in Charlotte, a little bit, we do Rock Hill, we do Gaston County in North Carolina, Gastonia, in Bessemer City area. Our main focus is upstate, South Carolina we work in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee County. So, any house in those areas even Columbia in South Carolina we’d be glad to help you with and any answers any question as we can. If you decide that our offer is fit for you, great and if not no big deal. We’re just glad to help and hope this video was informative and answered the questions you may have. Thank you.