The short answer? Yes! However, the process may be more complex than one would think. If you wish to buy or sell property involved in a probate proceeding, there are some additional factors to consider that are not involved in a typical buy-sell transaction. The California Probate Code lays out the court procedures and legal requirements that must be met for a sale to be conducted per legal standards.
In most cases, the court will appoint an administrator for the probate estate if the decedent does not have a trust established. In accordance with the Independent Administration of Estates Act (“IAEA”), which can be found in the California Probate Code, the administrator could be given either full or limited authority. Both public auctions and private sales are options for the administrator when you sell a house in probate.
If an administrator is granted complete authority, he or she is exempt from the requirement that they seek judicial confirmation of the transaction. If an administrator is only granted limited authority under the IAEA, he or she will be required to seek confirmation from the court of the sale. In any event, the administrator is required to give adequate notice of the sale to the heirs and other interested persons.
Beneficiaries and other interested parties have 15 days to raise objections to the sale, after which it will be determined whether or not to proceed with the transaction. After this, the transaction may be moved forward to escrow if the administrator possesses complete authority over the sale and the court is not involved. However, if an interested party objects, then the sale will be put under the supervision of the court and will be subject to a process in which the public will have the opportunity to participate in an overbid procedure. This will ensure that the property is sold at the highest possible price during a hearing to confirm the sale. In situations where the administrator has only limited authority, the court is required to hold a hearing to certify the sale. The overbid procedure will also be carried out during this hearing.
Once the court has issued an order confirming the sale, a certified copy of the order is normally delivered to the title company or escrow as the order needs to be recorded with the conveyance. This happens once the court has issued the order.
As you can see, this process is far more complex than your average real estate transaction. However, if you make use of the appropriate instruments for estate planning, there are alternative methods to avoid a drawn-out process of probate sale when transferring property upon your passing. Contact the estate planning specialists at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo. We will discuss your wants and help you create a unique plan to bring peace of mind to you and your family. To schedule a free consultation, call 818-676-9572.