Sell House in Probate Illinois: Can you sell a house in probate?

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Sell House Probate in Illinois

Following someone’s death, the assets (property) left behind must be distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries according to their will or state law if there is no will. The assets left are considered in probate. Probate is a court-supervised legal process that assures the decease’s assets (financial and physical) are transferred to the rightful heirs and that debts and taxes are paid. Probate property can include real estate, cars, stocks, bank holdings, jewelry, etc. The following discussion is focused on real estate, a house in probate.

Selling a house in probate in Illinois involves a specific legal process.  The steps can vary depending on various factors, such as whether or not the deceased person left a valid will, the estate’s size, and the complexity of the ownership arrangement. The general steps to the process are as follows:

  1. Determine if the property is subject to probate: If the house is solely owned by the deceased and is not held in a trust or with joint tenancy, it will likely need to go through probate.
  2. Initiate the probate process: File a petition with the probate court to open the estate. This typically involves submitting the necessary forms and documents, such as the death certificate, will (if available), and other relevant information. The court will appoint an executor if there is a will (testate) or an administrator to handle the estate if there is no will (intestate).
  3. Appraise the property: Obtain a professional appraisal of the house to determine the fair market value of the house. This will help in setting an appropriate listing price.
  4. List the property for sale: Work with a real estate agent experienced in probate sales or consult an attorney specializing in probate matters. They can guide you through the process, help you navigate any legal requirements, and list the property on the market. An alternative to listing a property is to sell it to a real estate investor specializing in probate, pays cash, buys as-is, and charges no commissions.
  5. Obtain court approval of offer: In Illinois, you typically need court approval before accepting an offer on a probate property. Once you have a potential buyer, submit the offer to the court for review and obtain their approval.
  6. Proceed with the sale: If the court approves the offer, you can proceed with the sale. The buyer will usually have a specified period for inspections and due diligence. Once the sale is complete, the proceeds will go into the estate.
  7. Distribute the proceeds: After the sale, the proceeds will be distributed according to the instructions outlined in the will or as determined by the probate court.

Formal Versus Informal Probate

In Illinois, it’s important to note that the probate process can take different forms, formal or informal, depending on the circumstances and complexity of the estate. Here’s the difference between the two:

Formal Probate

Formal probate is expensive, lengthy, intrusive, and under rigorous court supervision meaning almost all actions require the court’s approval. The family’s financial and physical assets are made public in open court proceedings, and the records may even be available online for everyone to see. Formal probate starts when the personal representative (PR) files the decease’s will with the court and opens a probate case by filings the required forms. Usually, an attorney draws up and files the papers. It is typically used when complex issues or disputes are involved in the estate administration.
Some situations that may require formal probate include:

  • Disputes over the validity of the will: If there are disagreements or challenges regarding the authenticity or legality of the will, formal probate may be necessary. The court will review the evidence, hear arguments, and make a determination.
  • Contested matters: If there are disputes among the beneficiaries or heirs over the distribution of assets or other important issues, formal probate can provide a platform for resolving these conflicts.
  • Complex estates: If the estate has significant assets, multiple properties, or intricate financial arrangements, formal probate may be required to ensure proper management and distribution.

During formal probate, the court closely oversees the process. If more formalities and documentation are involved,  the court may require hearings, notices to interested parties, and greater involvement of attorneys. The judge will make decisions and issue orders to resolve disputes and guide the estate administration.

The formal probate process can be summarized in four steps:

  1. Appointment of the Personal Representative (PR). If a PR is named in the will, the court will generally honor this decision and appoint the person as the PR. If there is no will, the court will appoint a person as an administrator.
  2. Home Appraisal. The PR has the house appraised to determine the approximate market value.
  3. Petition Court to Sell the House. With the appraisal and petition completed, the PR can petition the court to sell the house. The petition indicates the appraised value and how the house will be marketed (realtor, for sale-by-owner). Once the court approves the petition to sell the house, the PR can begin marketing the home for sale.
    Note when the PR accepts an offer, the buyer needs to be informed the acceptance is not complete until confirmation in an open court hearing, during which overbidding by other buyers may occur, and the court may accept another buyer’s offer.
  4. Court Hearing for House Sale Confirmation. The court reviews the accepted offer for approval and confirmation. Illinois law requires the home to sell at least 67% of the appraised value, but most courts require it to be sold at least 90%. If there is no overbidding by other buyers, the court may confirm the house sale. If there are buyers present, the court permits new buyers to submit their bids, one of which may be accepted and confirmed in place of the original accepted offer.

Informal Probate

Informal probate is easier, often faster, and less expensive than formal probate. It is typically used when all interested parties are in agreement, and the estate is straightforward and uncontested, without complex issues or disputes. The executor or administrator can handle most tasks in informal probate without frequent court involvement. They have more flexibility and autonomy in managing the estate’s affairs. The process usually involves filing necessary documents with the court, such as the will and a petition for informal probate. Once approved, the executor or administrator can proceed with the administration, including gathering assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing property to beneficiaries.

The informal probate process has limited court oversight and can also be summarized in four steps:

  1. Appointment of Personal Representative. Like the formal process, if a PR is named in the will, the court will generally honor this decision and appoint the person as the PR. If there is no will, the court will appoint a person as an administrator.
  2. File the Deceased’s Will with the Court. PR files the decease’s will with the court and other required documentation.
  3. Letters of Testamentary Issued by the Court. The letters give the PR the legal authority to manage and oversee the appraisal, sale, and distribution of proceeds from the sale of the decease’s real estate. The PR files additional forms and documentation covering these events.
  4. Sell the House. The house can be sold by any legal means. An accepted offer by the PR does not need court approval. However, heirs to the property should agree on the sale

Both formal and informal probates aim to settle the estate, distribute assets to beneficiaries, and close the probate proceedings. Consulting with an attorney experienced in probate law can help determine the most appropriate approach based on your specific situation.

Questions & Answers

  1. Can you sell a house in probate in Illinois?
  2. Do all heirs have to agree to sell property?
  3. Does a house have to go through probate in Illinois?
  4. How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate?
  5. Can you live in a house during probate?
  6. Is a lawyer required for probate in Illinois?
  7. Power of Attorney versus the Executor of the Estate
  8. What Are the Duties of the Executor of the Estate in Illinois?
  9. How Do You Become an Executor of an Estate in Illinois?
  10. How Long Does Probate Take In Illinois?
  11. Cost of Probate in Illinois
  12. The Two Primary Ways to Sell A House Probate
  13. Which Way Do You Prefer to Sell?

1. Can You Sell a House in Probate in Illinois?

Yes, you can sell a house while in probate. That is, if you are the estate’s executor and the house is not willed to an heir or beneficiary.  However, the steps required to sell the house depend on if the probate is formal or informal.

2. Do All Heirs Have to Agree to Sell Property?

In Illinois, the majority of inheritors can proceed with the sale by filing a partition action lawsuit in the Illinois probate court.

3. Does a House Have to Go Through Probate in Illinois?

A home may not have to go through the probate process if the house is included in a living trust or owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety with someone else.

4. How Much Does an Estate Have to Be Worth to Go to Probate?

In Illinois, the threshold for determining whether an estate must go through the probate process depends on the type of assets involved. Generally, if the total value of the decedent’s probate assets exceeds $100,000, probate is required.

It’s important to note that certain assets can pass outside of probate, such as those held in a living trust, assets with designated beneficiaries (e.g., life insurance policies, retirement accounts), and property owned jointly with rights of survivorship. These assets are not typically counted towards the probate threshold.

5. Can You Live in A House During Probate?

Yes, living in a house during the probate process is possible. When a person passes away, and their estate goes through probate, the ownership of the property typically transfers to the estate. The estate, represented by the executor or administrator, becomes responsible for managing the property until the probate process is completed.

If you are a beneficiary of the estate and have been granted the right to reside in the house, you may continue to live there during probate. However, it’s important to note that the specific circumstances can vary depending on factors such as the will’s provisions, the involvement of other beneficiaries, and any court orders or agreements related to the estate.

During the probate process, the executor or administrator of the estate is responsible for managing the property. Specific steps may need to be taken to ensure the property’s maintenance and protection, such as paying mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance. As a beneficiary, you may be responsible for contributing to these expenses or fulfilling other obligations outlined in the will or by the court.

It’s worth noting that if there are multiple beneficiaries, conflicts can arise regarding the use and occupancy of the house. In such cases, resolving the issue through negotiations, mediation, or the court may be necessary.

6. Is a Lawyer Required for Probate in Illinois?

Yes, a lawyer is required in Illinois when there is real estate, or the assets are valued at $100,000 or more.

7. Power of Attorney Versus Executor of the Estate

The difference between power of attorney and executor is the power of attorney is responsible for representing the wishes of the person granting the power of attorney. In contrast, an executor is responsible for carrying out the will of the deceased.

8. What Are the Duties of the Executor of the Estate in Illinois?

The primary duties of the executor include:

  • Locating and proving to the court the deceased’s will is valid,
  • Identifying heirs and beneficiaries,
  • Ascertaining and valuing estate assets and using reasonable care to preserve and protect them,
  • Ensure estate assets are adequately insured,
  • Notifying creditors that the probate process has begun,
  • Paying outstanding debts, and
  • The filing of tax returns and paying the taxes.

9. How Do You Become an Executor of an Estate in Illinois?

The probate executor is the person named in a deceased person’s will (testate probate) as the executor. If there is no will (intestate probate), the heirs can select the executor and ask the court to appoint the person as the administrator. It does not matter if the person is an executor or an administrator; the person is usually referred to as the “personal representative” (PR).

Two types of authority can be assigned to PR, Full Authority & Limited Authority. Full Authority grants the PR the ability to act on behalf of the estate with less supervision from the probate court. Limited Authority, however, requires more oversight by the court, including an additional court hearing to allow for overbids on the initial offer accepted and submitted for confirmation.

10. How Long Does Probate Take In Illinois?

How long probate takes in Illinois depends if there is a will or not and if the will is contested.

  • No Will (intestate probate): If estate assets are less than $100,000 (informal probate), probate could take several months to over a year. If estate assets are less than $100,000 (informal probate), probate could take several months to over a year. If over $100,000 in assets and real estate is left behind, it could take a couple of years to many years.
  • Will Exists (testate probate): If there is a will, and it is not contested, then generally, probate takes a year or less.
  • Contested Will (formal probate): The probate could take years.

11. Cost of Probate in Illinois?

Illinois probate typically costs between $3,500 and $6,000 in attorney fees; if probate is informal, the executor knows what to do, and there are no legal disputes. Other probate costs typically included: repairs to sell the house, mortgage payments, taxes, insurance and maintenance expenses, and estate debts. And if a real estate agent is used, the agent’s commissions are deducted from the proceeds also. The proceeds from the house sale are applied first to the probate costs, and the remaining profit is split among the heirs.

12. Sell House Probate: Two Primary Ways

The two customary ways of selling a probate house are through a real estate brokerage or by selling to a real estate investor.

Sell Through a Real Estate Brokerage: The first step is listing the house with the brokerage. The real estate agent will do the paperwork to list the home on a multiple listing service and market it for sale. The drawbacks are agent commissions, inspections, house showings, possible repairs, and removing personal belongings and debris. And the longer the home sits on the market waiting to sell, the more time and money are wasted.

Sell to a Real Estate Investor: The faster way to sell is to sell to companies that pay cash for these homes. They are usually local investors that renovate the house to sell it for a profit. Since they have cash readily available, they do not have to go through a mortgage company’s paperwork and approval process. These investors can buy a house “as-is.” So, no time or money is wasted making repairs, adding curb appeal, or marketing the home for sale.

13. Which Way Do You Prefer to Sell?

The choice is yours to make. If you choose the real estate investor, Apple Tree Property Solutions (ATPS) buys houses cash in the “as-is” condition. We can make a no-obligation cash offer usually in 24-48 hours. And you don’t have to worry about removing personal belongings or debris from the house. You take the personal belongings you want, and we take care of the rest! Simply fill out the form above to get started, or if you have questions, call us today at (847) 999-3077.

The Advantages of Selling Your House to Apple Tree Property Solutions:

  1. Cash Sale: Get Cash Quickly
  2. Set Your Own Closing Date
  3. Sell Your Home As-Is: No Repairs Needed
  4. Messy, Complicated, or Clouded Title Handled
  5. Personal Belongings and Debris Removal
  6. Moving Services After You Sell
  7. No Appraisals, Lenders, or Bank Loan Approvals
  8. No Real Estate Agent or Commissions!
  9. No Time is Needed for House Showings

Fair Cash Offer, Quick Close

Apple Tree Property Solutions LLC is one of the area’s leading real estate solutions companies. We successfully work with homeowners, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and investors buying and selling all types of residential real estate, including vacant and problem properties. We are looking for all types of homes, from move-in ready to handyman specials to complete rehabs. No property is too big or too small.

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We are looking for all types of homes and are interested in any size, condition, situation, and price. Don’t worry about making repairs before we purchase your home. We can make you a fair CASH offer and close quickly or on the best timeline for you!

Who Are We?

Apple Tree Property Solutions LLC is a real estate solutions company located in Schaumburg, IL that specializes in buying homes. We are experts at finding solutions for people who are in the market to sell their own home or investment property quickly for any reason. Our diverse team has experience with all types of buying and selling scenarios, and we understand how to make every transaction simple and stress free. We are certain that we can find a win-win solution for you, whether it be a traditional or creative selling solution.

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