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Probate is the court process to obtain the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate of a person who has died (Decedent). The estate is distributed according to: the decendent’s will or if the decendent did not have a will, according to laws of intestate succession. The probate court appoints legally qualified persons, called Personal Representatives, to manage and settle the decedent’s affairs. Personal representatives distribute the assets decedent’s estate to the rightful recipients. These might include heirs, devisees named in a valid and current will, or creditors.  

Simply stated, Probate is the process of distributing assets of an estate after the creditors have been satisfied. The primary function of probate is to transfer title of the decedent’s property to its proper heirs. At this point, the decedent’s property is sold, all creditors are paid and the people who have inherited anything, divide up the remaining money.

“Receipt of probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. A probate court (surrogate court) decides the legal validity of a testator‘s will and grants its approval by granting probate to the executor. The probated will becomes a legal document that may be enforced by the executor in the law-courts if necessary. A probate also officially appoints the executor (or personal representative), generally named in the will, as having legal power to dispose of the testator’s assets in the manner specified in the will.” – Wikipedia.

As we all know, there are two certainties in life… Death & Taxes. And isn’t it ironic that one of the major functions of probate is to pay off any taxes owed by the deceased. This is one of the reasons why the Estate is so motivated to sell to you. They are looking to Sell Their House Fast and get cashed out and move forward with their lives. So in essence, the bottom line is that Probate Real Estate is a great way to buy property that Motivated Sellers really want to Sell Fast and Move on with their lives…

Now remember, If there is real property involved in the Probate, most likely it will be sold in order to convert it to cash to pay any outstanding debts and if there is any cash remaining, it will be passed on to the heirs of the estate.

How long does the Probate Process take? Well, it can take anywhere from five months to a few years depending upon a couple of factors like, #1 the complexity of the estate and #2, the intent of parties involved. It all really depends, but remember, as an investor, you will not have to wait this long to purchase these properties.

As a rule of thumb, once a petition for probate has been filed and a PR or Personal Representative has been appointed, generally they have the authority to represent the estate and sell the real or personal property to investors like you. It’s important to note that in some states, the probate court may hold control over the Personal Representative and selling of their property MAY require court permission. Just make sure to check with your county to understand and know the procedures for your county and state.

At, we compile a timely and accurate list of probate filings in your area. Armed with this data, you can reach motivated executors that almost always want to sell the property. 

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Comment by Masooma Z Ali on July 21, 2014 at 11:50am

This is a great article. Thanks for sharing the information.

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