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Do All Heirs Have to Agree to Sell Property?

What happens if all heirs don’t agree?

All heirs do not have to agree to sell a property if the property is still in probate. The heirs wanting to sell the property will need to petition the court for approval of the sale. They can file a suit for partition, and the court has the power to order a sale. However, you should always consult with an attorney on this question and seek instructions from the local county court in your state before proceeding. 

When a death happens in a family it is very hard on the surviving members. When attempting to sell the property and there has been a death in the chain of title, it can make selling the property complicated.  

Who Owns the Property?

The first thing you need to know is whether the property is owned free and clear or by the lender. If a mortgage is still attached to the property, then the mortgagee is the owner. If there is no joint tenancy with survivorship in the deed to the property, then before a house may be sold, a clear title and heirship must be determined

The next step is to find out if there is one surviving heir or multiple. If there is more than one person inheriting the property, then they all have an interest in the sale. Keep in mind that interest in a property isn’t always equal. One heir could have been left a larger ownership interest in the property.

For example, you have a 5-bedroom home on a 10-acre lot left to two heirs. One heir could have been left 3 out of the 5 bedrooms and 8 of the 10 acres. That gives them a larger interest in the property.

Can a beneficiary stop the sale of a property?

The executor can sell the property without the approval of all beneficiaries since they are acting on the wishes of the deceased. However, the beneficiaries will be notified and kept in the loop of the ongoing process.

The executor of a will is the person that was named to carry out the wishes of the deceased. With a valid will, the judge will approve the executor named in the will to oversee and make the decisions over the estate. The executers’ main function is to secure the assets of the estate and then distribute them according to the person or persons who have passed.

Here is a list of functions of an executor:

  • Obtain a copy of the will and file it with the local court
  • Decide on the type of probate needed
  • Represent the estate in court
  • File an inventory of all assets in court
  • Pay outstanding debts and taxes
  • Distribute assets based on the deceased wishes
  • Maintain property until the estate is settled
  • Inform the heirs of any open contest periods
  • Obtain copies of the death certificate

Can an executor sell a house for less than market value?

Yes, they can if that’s the offer they received and accepted for the property. Keep in mind that properties do not always sell for market value, especially when the property is in disrepair. An executor can also purchase the home instead of selling it. However, the property must be purchased at fair market value and all of the beneficiaries agree with the terms of the sale.

When selling the property there isn’t a set time in which the property needs to be sold. The general rule in Texas is that an executor has around four years to get the property sold. In most cases, they try to sell the property before probate is closed.

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