Should real estate be transferred to an executor's name before a sale?

First of all, in order to be authorized to sell real estate, an executor will probably have to obtain a grant of probate from the probate court.

Posted on November 5, 2021 by Alex Gauthier
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An estate executor has many duties they need to navigate, including dealing with the deceased’s taxes, settling any outstanding debt, and listing and valuing all assets contained in the estate.

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Oftentimes, unless an asset such as a car or a house has an explicitly named beneficiary established in the will, those so-called non-liquid assets need to be sold in order to be converted into cash. This is particularly necessary if the estate carried a lot of debt that now needs to be paid off. And while the estate executor is in charge of overseeing the sale of assets such as real estate belonging to an estate, there are a couple of things that need to be kept in mind.

First of all, in order to be authorized to sell real estate, an executor will probably have to obtain a grant of probate from the probate court. They’ll then need to organize the sale, and everything that goes with it, including doing repairs and maintenance work on the property and ensuring property taxes are still being paid. The executor should also inform all beneficiaries of the impending sale. Finally, once a sale has been made, the executor will oversee the transfer of the property deed to the new owners.

It may be natural to wonder whether real estate should first be transferred to an executor’s name before being sold. But you probably don’t want to do that: An estate executor can only transfer property to themselves if they’ve been named as a beneficiary in the will or if they bought it at market price.