Selling a home after a relative dies

Dealing with a family member’s death can be a double cruelty. There is the emotional loss. Then, that’s followed by the monumental task of dealing with the deceased’s estate—you might have to figure out how to sell their home and sort through any property or possessions left behind. Selling the home of someone who passed away recently is similar in many ways to selling any other home, but there are some extra considerations. Knowing how to address all the potential hurdles of the estate sale will make the process easier.

Below you’ll find information about selling a property after a parent or other relative dies.

Can the home be sold right away?

When someone passes away, the executor named in the Will is now in charge of everything including the home sale process. The executor can list the home for sale immediately as long as they have a copy of the death certificate and will, but title cannot be transferred until the Will is probated. This process takes 4-6 months but the home can be advertised for sale while the property is clearing probate as long as “subject to probate” clause is included in the sale agreement 

What does the Probate Process Look Like?

In order to apply for probate the executor needs to do the following:

  1. Obtain a copy of the current Will.
  2. Search Vital Statistics Agency to ensure it is the most recent Will.
  3. Provide notice of the application for probate to all the beneficiaries and anyone entitled to make a claim under the Wills Variation Act, which means to all beneficiaries plus spouses and children, if any are excluded from the Will.
  4. Identify all assets, value of assets and any debts.
  5. Apply to the Supreme Court of BC for probate.

Before the process can be completed the probate office will require payment of a probate fee prior to issuing the Grant of Letters Probate. Once probate is granted the executor must sell all the assets, distribute the estate and file taxes.

An important note on taxes when dealing with an estate property sale

When selling an estate one of the most important financial considerations will be dealing with taxes. For vital tax considerations and how they relate to your personal circumstances be sure to speak to an accountant. Having a massive unexpected tax bill is never fun. In fact, it is the last thing you’ll want to deal with after the death of a parent.

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