One of the goals of estate planning is to ensure that your assets, including any California real estate you own, go to your designated heirs after your death. However, sometimes people pass away without a will, or that document may be unclear regarding who should get a piece of real estate. When that situation occurs, a real estate probate sale may occur.
What is a probate sale?
A probate sale occurs under the supervision of the probate court following someone’s death. These sales are much different from regular real estate transactions and often take much longer to complete, sometimes up to a year. The probate court overseeing the process must approve the terms of the sale. The cost of going through probate varies, but the courts usually charge a fee ranging from 3% to 5% of the sale price. You’ll often find that a home in probate will sell below market price to pay debts that the deceased may have left behind. The executor of the deceased person’s estate can sell the property while it is still in probate to pay debts.
How can my estate avoid probate?
Careful estate planning can help avoid probate for your own estate following your passing. One of the easiest ways is to jointly own real estate with another person, such as your spouse. Another way to avoid probate is to put your home and other assets into a trust. Technically, the trustee, not you, will own the home or any other assets you add to it so it won’t go through probate.
It’s never too early to start the estate planning process. Crafting a comprehensive estate plan can ensure that your wishes will be met and your assets will be appropriately distributed after your death.