How Long Does An Executor Have To Sell A House In Texas?

The loss of a loved one is life-changing in so many ways. We find ourselves in limbo, in a state of grief and confusion, facing major decisions and a mountain of tasks. 

So what do you do when you’ve been named executor? Let’s say the estate planning lawyer tells you that your parents named you the executor of their will, and it’s your job to see to it that their wishes are carried out in their absence. The biggest asset to distribute among the family is their home, of course.

You think to yourself: is this a good idea? Your parents could have chosen your siblings. You come to your senses and say you’ll get around to this for your parents and siblings’ sake. But what is the timeframe you’re looking at? How long does an executor have to sell a house in Texas?

Consult with your estate planning lawyer and follow this guide on selling a house as an executor. 

What Is An Executor?

You don’t know this, but your parents thought long and hard before naming you executor. The estate planning lawyer advised them to consider other children, family members, and friends, but they chose you to do the job. You’re the one that they trust the most to represent them at this challenging time. Your parents have seen your honesty and integrity, especially with money. 

Can an executor sell the house? Yes, that’s why your parents will lean on your fairness and loyalty to your siblings and other beneficiaries in distributing their legacy.

Handling Real Estate As An Executor

After obtaining your parents’ death certificates and arranging their funeral according to their wishes, your next responsibility as executor of an estate is to manage the estate assets and its expenses. The one that needs the most attention is the estate home. 

The executor must first secure the inherited home. Securing the property includes:

  • installing a monitoring system;
  • checking the security system;
  • forwarding the mail; 
  • preventing future deterioration like water damage.

The next step is to contact your parents’ insurance and get a new policy under your name. An executor also settles the estate property taxes.

Then you will have to file for probate in court. Probate is the process where a court verifies a deceased person’s will. After an estimated six months, the court will issue its official recognition of the will and your appointment as executor. 

Lastly, before the executor can list the home and divide its profits among the beneficiaries, the home’s current market value must be established first by a licensed real estate appraiser. If there are debts, the earnings of the sale must go towards this before the beneficiaries can divide the remaining profits. 

Does an executor have to sell the property? No. If the inherited property is a rental and selling is not the direction you’d like to go in, the executor can research the average rent in the area to ensure that the property’s rent is up to date.

How Long Do You Have To Sell A House As An Executor In Texas?

Perhaps you and your siblings are not yet ready to sell the home and let go of the remaining assets of your parents. How long do you have to sell a house after someone dies? 

Probate is ideal before selling, and there is no rush to file for probate. After securing the property and updating the insurance policy, the executor can wait four years before filing for probate.  

The probate process can last for years if the estate assets are complex and contested.

Non-Beneficiary Vs. Beneficiary

You can further classify an executor as non-beneficiary or beneficiary.  

Sometimes an executor is an accountant or lawyer and is not necessarily a beneficiary of the deceased’s will. In this case, the court will approve an executor’s fee from the estate funds as compensation to the executor.

When an executor is a relative, they are also a beneficiary of the will most of the time. This role entitles the executor to an executor fee and a share of the inheritance, as stipulated in the will.

Can an executor sell the property without all beneficiaries approving in Texas? The only time an executor can sell the estate home without getting approval from the other heirs and the court is when it explicitly states in the will that they are the sole beneficiary of the inherited real estate property. If they are the sole beneficiary, they would still need to give notice of the sale to the other beneficiaries of the will. 

When the estate home has multiple beneficiaries, the property most likely will be put on the market so that the beneficiaries can divide the earnings. 

Can I Sell A House In Probate?  

To help you navigate selling a house in probate, experts recommend hiring a Texas real estate agent who is a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) and a probate attorney.  

Can an executor sell a property before probate? While it is not ideal to sell the estate home before the probate process is final, it is still possible. The probate court will facilitate the sale.

What Are The Steps Involved In Selling A House As The Executor?

Will Submission To The Probate Court

The first step is to confirm which probate court has jurisdiction over the deceased’s will. If the probate judge accepts the submitted will, it will be tagged as “admitted to probate,” which will start the probate process. 

If the deceased left no will, their estate would still have to go through probate court, and the heirs would need an Affidavit of Heirship to transfer the title to their name. Title companies typically approve the title transfer six months after the property owner’s death.

Get An Appraisal

If you haven’t found an appraiser, your real estate agent can refer you to one. It’s a must for the property to sell at 90% of the appraised value. 

The buyer must accompany their offer with a 10% deposit and is subject to the probate court’s confirmation. The executor has no obligation to sell even after the court approves of the buyer.

Notify Beneficiaries Of Intent To Sell

When the executor does agree to the sale, they will inform the court through their probate attorney. 

The executor and probate attorney must also mail a Notice of Proposed Action to the other beneficiaries.

Can a beneficiary stop the sale of a property? Yes. The beneficiaries have 15 days to object to the sale.

Selling The Home

Final Sale Must Be 90% Of Appraised Value

This sale price is a particular requirement, and to achieve this, the executor’s realtor can show the home and accept offers until the court confirmation hearing. 

Buyer Must Pay 10% Deposit

The estate keeps the deposit if the homebuyer backs out for any reason at all, and you will need to refund the deposit if you accept a higher offer from a new buyer. 

Repairs Or Negotiations

As with other home sales, it is the executor’s responsibility to make all the necessary repairs and pass a certified home inspector’s assessment. 

Notice Of Proposed Action Mailed To Beneficiaries

The notice will include the terms of the sale, and the beneficiaries have 15 days to review and express objection.

Contested Period

If there are no complaints from the beneficiaries after 15 days, there will be no need for a court hearing for the objections.

Approval Of The Court

When the executor and probate attorney meet the sale requirements above, they may apply for a court confirmation hearing. The day of the hearing will usually take place 30 days after the application. 

The public can attend and outbid the previously approved offer during the court hearing. 

Disperse The Proceeds To Beneficiaries

Before the beneficiaries may enjoy the returns of the property sale, the executor must settle the debts of the property owner.

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