Can an Executor Sell a House without Beneficiaries Approving it in Colorado?
Posted on July 22, 2017 | Back to blogColorado Real Estate
As the executor of an estate, you may be called on to sell a house to pay off debts or expenses, or simply to distribute the estate among the beneficiaries.
But things can get complicated when the beneficiaries can’t agree whether or not to sell the house. Some beneficiaries may want to keep the house in the family, while others want to sell it as quickly as possible. In that case, you may have to seek out the assistance of a probate court.
First Step: Contact an Attorney
While the tips below can serve as a useful guide, they don’t constitute legal advice. Estate law can be complex, so it’s important to seek out legal advice as early in the process as possible.
Be aware that neither the probate judge nor the court staff can act as your legal advisors. You should seek out an attorney who specializes in probate law.
3 Kinds of Probate in Denver, Colorado
The legal process that transfers property from the decedent to the beneficiaries is called probate. It has been simplified by the Uniform Probate Code, and breaks down into three types:
- Small estates: under $50,000 and no real property.
- Informal estates: for uncontested estates, court involvement is limited.
- Formal estates: for contested estates and invalid or questionable wills, the executor may need to get court approval for every transaction.
Also worth noting: Colorado law requires that a decedent’s will must be filed with the local District Court within ten days of death, whether or not any probate administration is expected.
Avoid Conflicts of Interest
As the executor, you must be particularly careful about conflicts of interest. This can happen if you want to buy the property, or if you are related to a potential buyer, or even if you hold a joint interest in the property. If you are a beneficiary as well as the executor, things can quickly get complicated.
Even if there is no actual conflict of interest, even the appearance of a conflict can lead to legal hassles. It’s best to consult an attorney before making any decisions.
How Soon Do You Have To Sell the House?
It’s more expensive to insure a vacant house. If the property is sitting empty, your insurance costs could go through the roof. The longer the property sits vacant, the greater the risk of attracting thieves or vandals. And if a small problem such as a roof leak goes unnoticed, it could lead to major damage. So it’s often better to sell as quickly as possible.
Can You Make Improvements to the Property?
A real estate agent may recommend that you make repairs or improvements to the house in order to make it easier to sell. These suggestions could be as simple as repainting the front door or as extensive as redoing all of the landscaping.
But before you even pick up a paintbrush, you need to find out whether you are authorized to spend estate assets to make these improvements. If not, you could end up in legal trouble.
It’s also worth noting that you may not sell the property unless you have the authority to do so, whether it’s been granted to you by law, court order, or under the terms of the will.
The Easiest Way for an Executor to Sell a House in Denver
Before you can sell the house, you must have the clear legal authority to proceed with the sale. Then, you should make sure that all mortgage payments are up to date, and all property taxes have been paid.
Once all of those obstacles are out of the way, call HomeVestors for a free quote. That way, you can avoid much of the headaches and expenses of a lengthy real estate transaction. Instead, you can sell the house quickly, as-is, for cash.