Probate and Trust Sale

As a Certified Probate & Trust Specialist; I will make sure that your transaction moves smoothly and will sell your property with the right price.

What is the difference between a trust sale and a probate sale?

Both mean that the owner of the home has passed away and the estate is now selling the home. The difference lies in if and how the court may be involved.

The simplest method for the seller is to sell the home through a Trust Sale. This requires no special action on the part of the buyer. Many smart homeowners will place their home into a trust, so that when they pass away, the plans for settling the estate (and the plans for the home), are easily addressed by the instructions of the trust. 

By having a trust, it enables the estate to bypass the court system and ends saving significant time and money for the estate. In a trust sale, there is usually one trustee who is the decision maker and has the authority to sell the home, though sometimes several siblings may all be trustees and therefore decision makers as well. 

The greater number of trustees generally means the more challenging the decision-making process can be, though most of these challenges are behind the scenes from the buyer and usually happen pre-sale.

A Probate Sale is the court-supervised process of selling a piece of real estate when an individual dies intestate, or without a Will. The court will typically appoint the decedent’s next of kin as an Executor, who will then manage the sale of the home. The final sale must be court approved, which often extends the typical home selling timeline. 

Depending on the situation this process can take anywhere from six months to two years and requires court supervision for the transfer of assets. 

A probate sale starts with the court appointment of an Executor, typically the closest living relative. This person will oversee selling the home. The next few steps are similar to a traditional real estate transaction. The Executor will work with a real estate agent of their choosing to list and market the property, with the goal of securing the best possible sale price for the Estate. 

Potential buyers can then submit offers, but they must include a minimum 10 percent down payment to be accepted. The Executor can review offers with the agent and decide to accept or negotiate. From there, a court date will be set to approve the offer and confirm the sale of the property. 

In probate, the attorney’s fees and the administrator’s commission are based on a statuary fee schedule that is set by the court.

On the other hand, trust fees are typically charged on an hourly basis. A trust has more flexibility to transfer the title to the property to children/heirs subject to the loan or continue to hold the property for the benefit of the minors until they reach the legal age of majority. The flexibility allows the trustee to time the sale of real property with favorable markets.