How do I sell property after someone dies?

September 24, 2017 bscott

Question: I need to sell real estate that has been in my family for generations. The title company says I need to open succession for my parents in order to be able to sell it. What does this mean and how long will it take?

Answer: We get this question often. The typical situation that is presented is that the client has a home or real estate that has been in the family and has simply been passed down. Their grandparents may have originally bought the property, and after they passed away the client’s parents began using the house. The client is now taking care of the property because their parents have now passed away.

Once we start looking into the history of the property, we discover that the property has simply been “passed down” from generation to generation and no succession proceeding has ever been opened for either the grandparents or the parents of the client. Now that there is a potential sale of the house to a third party, the title to the property has to be cleared so the sale can take place.

Basically, what needs to happen is the record ownership of the property needs to be transferred from the grandparents to the client. This means that successions need to be opened for the deceased family members.

A “succession” is simply the legal process by which the ownership of property is transferred from one generation to the next.

Depending on the circumstances, many times our office can complete the necessary succession proceedings within just a few days if the family members are all cooperative. This allows the client to maintain their closing date for the sale of the property.

Of course, it is always best to take care of any successions well in advance of putting the property on the market to sell to a third party because sometimes the legal process can take time due to complications or problems that might come up relative to the estate of a parent or grandparent.