Why Sell a House in California Probate?

Why would you sell a California house in probate?
Why not just wait until the house is turned over to the heirs?

For several reasons…

To settle liabilities
When the estate’s liabilities (debts, taxes, claims from creditors, etc.) exceed the funds in the estate’s bank accounts, it may be necessary to liquidate assets, including Southern California real estate.

To facilitate easier division to the heirs
Unless one of the heirs is specifically named to inherit the house, or unless one heir is interested in owning the house and “buying out” the others, selling while in probate can be a wise choice. Cash is easier to distribute equitably.

To avoid problems of joint ownership due to family estrangements
The deceased may have specified that his or her real property go under joint custody or shared ownership among two or more heirs. The intent may have been good, but unfortunately some heirs would rather have a probate house sold at an undervalued price than share it with another heir.

To avoid the responsibilities and financial burdens of maintaining a vacant California home
Physical and financial responsibilities and burdens are attached to the ownership of any property. Sometimes the estate has no money and the heirs are unable or unwilling to take over care of the house and/or its attendant expenses.

Those responsibilities and burdens include:

  • Repairs and/or renovations
  • Cleaning, interior upkeep, and yard maintenance
  • Utility bills
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Homeowner Association Dues
  • Mortgage Payments
  • Property taxes

To satisfy conditions of the will
In some instances, the deceased’s last testament may call for liquidation of the house and/or other assets.