The simple answer to this question is yes, an Inland Empire or High Desert house can be sold while in probate. Real estate is typically the largest asset within the estate and experience shows that most Executors and Administrators choose to sell the house during the probate period.
Since a California probate on average lasts over a year, in my opinion, it is best to sell the probate house simultaneously with the open probate court proceedings. Why?
- Because many homes in probate have traditional or reverse mortgages, a mortgage payment is only one of the carrying costs for the estate. You have utilities, property taxes, and property insurance, landscape maintenance, perhaps homeowner insurance and even Mello-Roos fees. Month after months, these expenses can eat away at the estate proceeds.
- Another issue to consider is the responsibility and liability of the real estate. Things happen, we sometimes experience freezing pipes, and we do occasionally have water leaks from pluming or a heavy rain, vacant properties can be broken into and damaged or even worse occupied by vagrants.
These are some important things to consider and talk over with your attorney, tax advisor and an experienced probate real estate advisor, like me.
Another thing to be aware of is the importance of keeping the property insurance in force. When insurance companies become aware that the probate house is vacant, they will want vacant house insurance. As you can imagine insurance companies do not like insuring vacant houses. Because they don’t like it, this type of insurance can cost as much as three times the typical property insurance. Most of my clients manage to keep the decedents property insurance in place, but it is a big surprise for those who need to pay for vacant house insurance until the property is sold.
Now the great news is that once the decedent’s house is sold, relieving you of the responsibility, the proceeds are placed in an estate savings account until the probate is completed. Then the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries.
For answers to your questions about your exact best step with the Inland Empire or High Desert Probate, call me at 760-912-8905. It’s important that you get the facts so that you can make an informed decision.