Last updated on July 26, 2021
The buying and selling of real estate is big business in any economy in the world. As the population increases, more houses are needed for people to live in and offices for people to work in. But as the circle of life goes… everyday people are born and everyday people pass. And sometimes when people pass their assets down to their heirs – the people who inherit those assets – they have no idea what to do or how to handle the probate process unfortunately.
So in this article I’m going to breakdown what the probate process is and what you need to do to execute it successfully in Philadelphia.
In order for you to fully understand the probate process it will be essential to also break down the other real estate jargon when it comes to this type of transaction so bare with me.
So what is a probate anyway?
This is the process of handling a deceased person’s debts and assets, regardless of whether he or she had a will. Basically, administering the estate of someone who has died. What is an estate?
An estate is everything the deceased person owned or had interests in at the time of his word death including life insurance. Now for each probate transaction there is a personal representative. A personal representative is the person who is named in the will or appointed by the register of wills to divide the deceased persons property and pay their debts. This person is sometimes called an administrator if they didn’t have a will or an executor if they did have a will.
The probate process is important to go through in order to get legal title to the house that you were left. Without legal title you can run into many problems and possibly even lose your home. The title is a legal way of saying you have ownership of the property and that you have the rights to use the property.
It is important to note that by taking title to the house and taking ownership you also take responsibility for any of the debts on the House including money owed for gas water sewer electric mortgage and any taxes.
How to begin the probate process for a house in Philadelphia
Here are the steps of what to expect during the probate process. After the person passes – rest in peace to them.
- Find and begin working with a good probate attorney
- Your attorney will be your general advisor throughout the entire probate process. They will do things such as file documents with the court, help solve problems on income tax issues, help collect any money received from life insurance and much more.
- File a petition to start the process
- You’ll have to follow petition with the local court office Where the deceased lived. During this time you also need to disclose to all errors and beneficiaries that you’re petitioning to begin the probate process. Then you will have to work on becoming the official personal representative
- Once the personal representative is assigned as either the administrator or executor then you’ll have the authority to put the house up for sale. You can sell directly to local Philadelphia homebuyers like us where we pay cash and close quickly or you can list it with me if you decide to go that route – either way we can help with the sale of your property
- Next you’ll have to take inventory of the estate
- this means the gathering of all important documents such as a will, power of attorney, Funeral arrangements etc. Other important documents include paperwork of stocks, bonds, cars, life insurance, bank statements and debt
- Then you have the notify known creditors
- You will have to pay out claims with money from the estate to any credit card that and or personal loans
- File income tax returns
- You will need to file income tax returns for the deceased and this includes paying any inheritance taxes due
- Assets are transferred to beneficiaries
- You’ll petition the court to legally transfer all assets to beneficiaries of the state after all the bills and creditors have been paid
Now I know this process may sound strenuous so I’m also going to tell you…
How To Avoid the Probate Process in Philadelphia
- Name a beneficiary
- You can do so through life insurance annuities and retirement plans
- Set up transfer on death accounts with your banks
- By setting this up you will be able to provide the name of an individual that you want to receive the money upon your death this way the account will bypass the probate process. And the person you designate has no right to the money until you pass
- Own property jointly with a right of survivorship
- You can establish joint ownership of property with tenancy by the entirety, joint tenancy with right of survivorship and Community property
- Create and fund a revocable living trust
- In this case a revocable living trust owns your property but you are still in charge of all legal decisions until you pass. After you pass, your trustee manages your assets according to your wishes
So those are some of your best practices in order to avoid the probate process. I hope that was helpful for you because we deal with a lot of people who are currently in the probate process and sometimes it’s just very long and drawn out. Once you go through those steps to avoid the probate process and you decide that you want to sell your Philadelphia house definitely give us a call, send us an email, or fill out the form on our page and we will give you a call and give you a cash offer in the next 24 hours
Want to sell your house in Philadelphia fast (and securely)?
We have been in this industry for years and our reputation speaks for itself. If you are interested in choosing us as your partner in Philadelphia, you are always free to contact us through our website form, our social media pages, as well as giving us a call at 215-770-0260. For immediate assistance, you can leave an email message on our site and we shall call you within the shortest possible time. In addition, you can leave a text message and we shall respond, as soon one of our real estate agents is free.
We are always here to help walk you through the probate process for a house in Philadelphia, we look forward to speaking with you. 🙂