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It’s not uncommon for a family member or loved one to die and leave behind property in Queens. That property may be real estate, personal items, or even intangible assets like stocks and bonds. When it comes time to sell the house, there are certain steps that must be taken in order for probate court to approve the sale of an inherited property.

If a family member or loved one passes away in New York City, there are several situations where the sales and distribution of their property (or properties) will have to pass through probate court prior to selling. Probate is the legal process that validates a will and distributes the assets of the estate to named beneficiaries.

If a family member or loved one passes away in New York City, there are several situations where the sales and distribution of their property (or properties) will have to pass through probate court prior to selling. Probate is the legal process that validates a will and distributes the assets of the estate to named beneficiaries. If they did not leave behind a will, this process is called an administration proceeding.

There are situations where a probate proceeding is not necessary, but most estates will require probate if there is real estate involved.

In some situations, a probate proceeding is not necessary. If there is no real estate involved in the estate and it does not include any assets worth more than $100,000 then you may be able to transfer title of your property without going through court. However, most estates will require a probate if they contain real estate or other valuable assets.

If all real estate owned by the decedent is located within New York State, a verified petition for the Surrogate’s Court (the court within each county which handles all matters regarding wills, estates and trusts) must be filed. Once filed, the clerk reviews it to ensure it meets minimum requirements and then assigns it to a judge.

If all real estate owned by the decedent is located within New York State, a verified petition for the Surrogate’s Court (the court within each county which handles all matters regarding wills, estates and trusts) must be filed. Once filed, the clerk reviews it to ensure it meets minimum requirements and then assigns it to a judge.

In our experience, this process can take 12 or more weeks to finalize but if there are no complications with your case you should expect this time frame or less.

The initial step in proceedings to administer an estate is to obtain Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. The person appointed by the court as executor of an estate (if there was a will) or administrator of an estate (if no will was filed) CANNOT take actions on behalf of the estate until they have been issued those letters.

The initial step in proceedings to administer an estate is to obtain Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. The person appointed by the court as executor of an estate (if there was a will) or administrator of an estate (if no will was filed) CANNOT take actions on behalf of the estate until they have been issued those letters.

The process starts with filing a petition with the Surrogate’s Court, located at 60 Centre Street in Manhattan. The petition must be accompanied by an inventory and appraisement listing all property owned by the decedent and valued by its fair market value, including real property, stocks and bonds and other items.

Being that the probate process can take 3 or months, this can pose a problem for executors/administrators who would like to expedite the selling process. In these situations, we have seen sellers put the property on the market and explicitly disclose that the property sale is “subject to ____ being named as executor (or administrator) of the Estate of ____.” The contract is then drawn up under the same terms. As long as all of this is disclosed to potential buyers up front and as long as they understand the risks, then this is a possibility.

If you’re a homeowner, consult with your attorney for more guidance on this strategy.

It’s possible. For example, if your home is in probate and the executor has not been named yet, it’s likely a good idea to put it on the market with an offer for sale that explicitly states “Subject to Executor being named as Executor (or Administrator) of the Estate of ____.” The contract is then drawn up under the same terms. As long as all of this is disclosed to potential buyers up front and as long as they understand the risks, then this is a possibility

Conclusion

The probate process can be a long one, but it is necessary for protecting the rights of heirs and beneficiaries. If you are considering selling your property in Queens or New York City, be sure to contact a real estate attorney who can explain what options are available in your situation. If you need a recommendation to a good probate attorney, feel free to Contact Us. We have wonderful people who know and trust and we would be happy to share their contact info with you 🙂

Need Help? Contact Us.

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