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Navigating the Sale of a Probate House in Fort Worth

If a loved one has died, you may be left wondering when you can take control of the house — and what to do with it when you get it. The probate process is long and sometimes frustrating, but it’s necessary to ensure everything is done in compliance with state law.

It’s important to fully understand the probate process so that you can confidently discuss any potential dispute with attorneys and know when you can expect to inherit the property. Today, we’ll give an overview of probate, including how long it takes and what kinds of assets go through these legal proceedings.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a legal process that distributes a decedent’s assets to their heirs, typically their family members. 

During probate proceedings, statutory probate courts ensure that the deceased person had a valid will. If they did not, they are said to have died intestate. They then assign an executor, such as an attorney, who will ensure that their remaining assets are legally transferred to the appropriate individuals.

If necessary, these attorneys will oversee the sale of probate properties to settle outstanding debts to creditors or the government, such as if there are property taxes owed. 

When Does a Probate Process Begin?

The probate process begins after the death of a person who had certain assets, typically real property, stocks, jewelry, and personal belongings. 

As soon as the death certificate has been filed with the county clerk, their loved ones will file a petition to the Tarrant County probate court. All Texas counties have separate probate courts, so if the decedent lived in Fort Worth, Texas, their heirs can’t just file in Dallas County, for example.

Generally, even those whose loved ones didn’t have large estates will open probate cases anyway, as it makes it easier to claim legal ownership of anything that may still be available. 

In some cases, though, if the decedent had significant debts, the potential heirs will wait at least six months to begin probate proceedings, as, under state laws, creditors can only make claims on estates within six months of the death.

Once the probate is filed, the personal representative or executive will notify creditors, beneficiaries, and heirs and begin inventorying all involved items. They will settle debts first, then distribute the remaining property to the beneficiaries according to a will or, if there is none, by degree of relation. 

Probate Court Process If There Are No Beneficiaries

The estate’s executor has a fiduciary duty to find any potential heirs. It’s extremely important that they do not sell anything if they have not made every possible attempt to do so, as it can open Tarrant County up to lawsuits. 

However, if they cannot find any, they will have to file a statement with the statutory probate courts regarding their attempts to find an heir.

Sometimes, the property is held in a trust for a period, just in case an heir eventually shows up. However, the executor can file a petition to let the probate process continue. The state then seizes the assets and distributes them according to state law regarding probate.

The estate will first pay debts, including court fees and the probate cost. This will start with liquid assets like stocks, cash, and retirement funds before moving on to things like houses and cars. Once this is done, the estate can be auctioned or sold to an interested buyer. 

How to Buy a Probate House in Fort Worth

Probate property is a great investment because it is often sold way below market value. You can find these sales by checking for a public notice in a local newspaper, which will advertise estate sales. These notices will typically include the estate’s assets that will be sold off, such as real estate, vehicles, and jewelry. 

It’s important to note that these properties are sold as-is, kept as they were when the person died — sometimes with belongings still inside. 

Selling a Property in Fort Worth?

A-List Properties can ease the selling process for beneficiaries who have inherited property through probate thanks to our fast closing times and all-cash offers. We handle all aspects of the process, including cleaning and repairs, so all you need to do is accept our offer and receive your funds. 

We understand how stressful it is to lose a loved one and then go through probate, so we work to eliminate as much stress as possible from the deal so that you can focus on healing. 

If you’ve received real estate in Fort Worth, Texas, through probate, call us at (972) 526-7042 or contact us online to learn more about our easy, stress-free buying process and excellent cash offers. 

Probate House Sale FAQs

How long does a probate sale take?

Probate is a time-consuming process that usually takes 18 to 36 months. This is because it must pass through probate courts, identifying an executor or a personal representative to oversee everything. If there are any legal disputes, it may take longer, especially if the deceased had a lot of property or held real estate in multiple states. 

However, a Muniment of Title is a truncated process that may only take a month. It requires very particular stipulations to be satisfied, and it may not be relevant in every circumstance. 

Are probate sales cash-only in Fort Worth?

Court probate sales are often cash or cashier’s check only, making them faster and cheaper than other methods. However, if you make an offer to the estate’s representative, you may be able to get a loan with a 10% down payment. If you’re not sure, speak to the executor ahead of time and identify your options. 

Are there any specific rules or requirements for probating a house in Fort Worth that differ from those in other areas?

Fort Worth, Texas, allows for three different types of probate: Contested Probate of a Will, Uncontested Probate of a Will, and Muniment of Title. Contested and Uncontested Probate are quite simple and used in almost every jurisdiction, but the Muniment of Title isn’t practiced in every municipality, making it a unique aspect of Texas law.

A Muniment of Title allows a valid will to be filed that transfers probate property to beneficiaries without a deed of estate or a full probate. Those filing will need to prove that all debts and outstanding taxes have been satisfied, there are no disputes about who is inheriting, there are no other claims, and the decedent did not claim Medicaid. 

If all these conditions are satisfied, the court will transfer the property without going through the arduous probate process. All it takes is filing a claim with the county clerk for less than $500, and the property will be yours within about a month.

The court must have legal jurisdiction over the estate. If your loved one owned property in one county but lived in another, you should speak to attorneys about which county to file with or if one court can handle the entire matter. 

Can I sell an inherited house without going through probate court?

There are various factors that determine whether family members need to go through the probate process to sell inherited property. These are usually related to the decedent’s last will and testament, which outline what they can and cannot do.

If the real estate was put in a trust before the person’s death and there are named beneficiaries, then they get what was outlined in the contract. Those who owned property jointly with the deceased can also automatically inherit it without going through the probate process.

You may also be able to file a petition under the Independent Administration of Estate Act or use summary probate, which is a truncated process for distributing property.

As you can see, it’s very important that you talk with your loved ones before they pass and work with attorneys to ensure everything is prepared, as it can spare you the long and difficult probate process.

Sell My House Fast Texas | We Buy Houses Texas

Zach Shelley

Zach Shelley is a seasoned real estate investor with a diverse network spanning across the nation. As the founder of his own real estate venture, Zach is committed to offering innovative solutions to homeowners facing various real estate challenges.. Through his dedication and strategic approach, Zach continues to make a significant impact in the real estate industry, providing homeowners with alternative pathways to navigate their property transactions.

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