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Can You Sell an Inherited Property Before Probate?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2022 | Probate

If you have recently lost a loved one and inherited their property, you may be wondering if and when you can sell it. In most cases, an inherited property cannot be sold until the probate process is initiated and/or the court has granted permission to sell. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Probate regulations can be complicated, and they differ between states.

A knowledgeable Iowa probate attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the legal process of selling a property you have inherited.

The Probate Process

When an estate includes property, it must go through a probate process in which notice is given to creditors, beneficiaries, and other interested parties so that an opportunity is presented to make claims against the estate or challenge a will. The time it takes for probate to be completed can vary depending on the size and complexity of the estate. Under Iowa law, an estate must remain open for at least four months from the date notice is published in the newspaper for the second time, and must be closed three years from the date when a second notification was given to creditors.

Estates with a gross value of $200,000 or less can be filed as small estates under Iowa Code Chapter 635, which can expedite the probate process.

In the event of a very small estate, distribution of the assets can occur pursuant to a small estate affidavit under Iowa Code 633.356 rather than opening an estate with the probate court. The affidavit option may be utilized if the decedent did not own real property at the time of death and the value of the decedent’s assets equates to $50,000 or less. The affidavit can then be presented to the holders of the property to allow the heirs to obtain possession.

When an Executor Can Sell a Property

An executor is named by the deceased or appointed by the court to ensure that the instructions in their will are carried out accurately and completely. The executor is responsible for completing the probate process or hiring a lawyer to do so.

If the will gives the executor the authority to sell, property may be sold during probate without permission from the court. Without such authority expressed in the will, the executor would require the court’s permission before selling property.

How a Probate Attorney Can Help

Selling an inherited property before probate is possible, but you need to understand the local laws and legal processes involved to ensure a valid sale. The skilled probate attorneys at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP have guided clients through the probate process since 1952 and are ready to handle your case with care and compassion.

Let our experienced lawyers help you navigate Iowa’s probate law associated with selling your inherited property so you can focus on grieving the loss of your loved one. Call us at 712-309-3738 today to discuss how we can help.