Contested Probate Proceedings

Many times, the person who dies owned a house that now needs to be sold.  The process of selling real estate (real property) through probate may require a series of specific court-regulated steps that must be carefully monitored and managed.  Robert Thomas is experienced with the specific steps required by the circuit courts of Illinois. Deadlines are unforgiving, documentation is specialized, and the court’s oversight must be honored throughout the marketing, negotiating, and the sale of the property.

In addition to the involvement of the court, the sale procedures generally involves the Executor or Administrator of the estate, Robert Thomas, a real estate agent representing the seller (the estate), one or more buyers, and the buyers’ real estate agent. Each of these individuals must follow the guidelines and deadlines stipulated by the court.

Because of the involvement of the court, probate and trust sales have a vocabulary all their own (see glossary).  Petitions requesting the permission of the court must be filed and approved before the house can be marketed. There are various disclosure documents required by the courts that are not used in other real estate transactions.  Our probate attorney Robert Thomas is familiar with the real estate sales process and all of the documents required.

If you are selling or buying real property through such a transaction, it would be a benefit if your real estate agent was experienced in probate and trust sales. The real estate agent must work and communicate with Robert Thomas throughout the sales process in order to comply with the Circuit Courts of Illinois rules.

Steps in a typical court supervised probate real estate sales transaction:

Step 1: In most cases, the decedent’s will names an Executor who is designated to handle the distribution of assets, including real property. If no Executor is named, if the named Executor is unwilling to serve, or if there is no will, the court appoints an Administrator to carry out these duties. The Executor or Administrator is the person who has the authority to list and sell the property; the sale cannot proceed until that person has been identified.

The Executor establishes a listing price for the real property by following court approved steps.  Robert Thomas will guide the Executor step by step. The listing price must be based on either an Illinois licensed appraisal’s analysis or based upon one to three licensed real estate broker’s Comparative Market Analysis.

Step 2:  Robert Thomas files the appropriate pleadings and documentation with the court and obtains approval from the court for the Executor to proceed with the sale of the real estate.  The property is then listed for sale through that agent/broker.

Step 3:  The real estate agent markets the real property to the public as aggressively as possible to attract the highest offer.  While buyers of probate and trust real estate may be looking for a bargain, their range of offers are limited by the court.

Step 4:  When the Executor accepts a bona fide offer, that offer must be presented to the Judge. The Judge will carefully compare the appraised value with that of the offer to confirm that the real estate is being sold for its marketable worth.

Step 5:  After the property has an approved offer, Robert Thomas will notify all heirs, simply stating the terms of the proposed sale. The heirs have 15 days to review the notice and pose any objections. If there are no objections, the sale may proceed without a court hearing.  Robert Thomas will prepare the closing documents and will attend the closing.

Step 6:  After the house is sold Robert Thomas informs the court and the heirs of the details of the sale. This would include a copy of the appraisal, or the Comparative Market Analysis, showing history, the Contract to Purchase Real Estate, the closing statement, and any other documents prepared by the Title Company.  Proof that the proceeds were deposited into the bank account of the decedent’s estate must be provided as well.

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