Probate

CHECKLIST FOR CLOSINGS OUT OF PROBATE

I. SURVIVOR-SHIP

a. Have survivor(s) sign contract.

b. Close with an affidavit and proof of estate taxes determined and paid.

II. WILL WITH A POWER OF SALE
(NOT YET TRANSFERRED)

a. Have fiduciary (executor or executrix) sign contract.

b. No court approval of sale is necessary.

c. No evidence of estate tax payment or payment of debts is necessary.

d. Will and inventory must be filed and approved.

e. If property is registered land, however, a lawsuit is necessary.

III. ALREADY TRANSFERRED, BUT ESTATE IS NOT CLOSED

a. Beneficiaries who received the property (devisees or heirs) must all sign.

b. No court approval is necessary, BUT if estate is not closed,…..

c. All debts of the estate must be paid, e.g. funeral bill, hospital bills, estate taxes, fees and costs, etc. before closing.

d. Inventory and will must be filed if applicable.

e. Minors who are beneficiaries cannot sign a contract or a deed. Would need a lawsuit to sell.

f. If it is registered land, a lawsuit is necessary before estate can be closed even if beneficiaries are all adults.

IV. THERE IS NO WILL, OR THE WILL DOES NOT HAVE A POWER OF SALE
(NOT YET TRANSFERRED)

a. This can easily be closed, as long as none of the beneficiaries are minors and all the beneficiaries consent. Have the administrator sign the ontract and inquire about consents, and age of the beneficiaries.

b. If all the beneficiaries are adults and they all sign consents, you can close after the inventory is filed and debts are paid.

c. However if one of the beneficiaries is a minor, court approval and a separate proceeding called a Sales Case is required. There is usually never a problem in this proceeding other than the time and expense of it.

d. If some adult beneficiaries refuse to consent, a lawsuit will be required to sell the property. This refusal is rare, but the property can be sold either by a Sales Case in Probate or a Partition Case in Common Pleas.

e. The courts regularly and routinely order and approve the payment of real estate commissions and appraisal fees in these cases.

f. In cases where there is a surviving spouse, the time consuming Sales Case can sometimes be avoided by the “Mansion House” statute.

g. Again though, if the property is registered land a time consuming lawsuit can not be avoided.

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