Selling a House in Probate Washington Guide
When a loved one dies, the last thing you likely want to deal with is handling the administration of the real estate that they left behind. If you’re currently in the probate process, you don’t have to wait months or even years to sell the Washington house that you inherited. We can purchase any inherited house that is in the probate process within Washington state. The best part is that you won’t have to hire a real estate agent or pay any costly fees. We’ll buy your Washington inherited property and make the entire process hassle-free.
Table Of Contents
- Probate Sale Meaning Washington
- Probate Process For Selling Real Estate in Washington
- When Can the Executor Sell the Probate Property in Washington?
- Can You Sell a House Before Probate is Complete in Washington?
- Do You Need to Go Through Probate to Sell an Inherited House in Washington?
- Washington Probate House Sale Issues
- Options You Can Consider When Selling a Probate House Washington
- Probate House Sale Frequently Asked Questions
- Easiest Way to Sell a Washington House in Probate
Probate Sale Meaning Washington
Whenever a loved one passes away, there is a formal legal process referred to as probate estate that is responsible for distributing the estate. In most cases, their titled assets and deeds are willed in accordance with their last testament contract. If this contract wasn’t established, it’s considered an intestate estate, and the state outlines who gets what. There are typically three stages of the probate process. These include validating contracts, collecting bank and brokerage accounts from creditors alongside their valuations, and dispersing the remaining assets to all the named beneficiaries.
Typically, the probate process for an estate can take anywhere between six and nine months before all qualifications are met and everything is closed. However, the total time can vary highly depending on the size of the estate and any legal injunctions erected by surviving beneficiaries. While this can seem quite daunting, many people are happily surprised to discover that they can sell their inherited property during probate without any long valuations, documentation, or confusion over capital gains tax or inheritance tax.
Probate Process For Selling Real Estate in Washington
In order for probate to get started, the surviving spouse or personal representative of the person that died is required to file for probate with a local court. The local clerk’s office must have the deceased person’s will, if there is one, to start probate. While a person’s last testament can be presented by anyone, it’s typically given to the clerk’s office by the person that intends to be the personal representative of the estate.
People who create a personal last testament certificate may choose a personal representative who is responsible for taking care of the dispersion of their estate’s assets after their passing. This personal representative could be anyone, such as siblings, close friends, parents, or an estate planning attorney. The probate court can officially appoint the estate’s executor, also known as its personal representative. If no one was designated to be this agent, then the court can appoint one of its representatives.
This agent is to be responsible for identifying all the deceased person’s assets and liabilities. They must ensure that all debts to creditors, like a mortgage or back taxation, are paid off and then disperse the money and items according to what’s in the last testament. If there are more creditor debts than assets, the executor may need to sell some of the estate’s assets in order to pay for the deceased person’s debts.
Top Probate Attorneys In Washington State
In Washington, virtually all probate filings need an attorney.
We’ve done some heavy lifting to identify top-rated probate attorneys in Washington State.
Here is the list!
Stacey Romberg, Attorney at Law. Stacy Romber, Attorney at Law, This Law office is one of the best-rated firms with a 5-star rating after 54 Google My Business Reviews. A good choice for a probate specialist.
- URL: Staceyromberg.com
- Address: 10115 Greenwood Ave N #275, Seattle, WA 98133
- Telephone: (206) 784-5305
Phinney Estate Law. Phinney Estate Law is a small firm from Seattle founded in 2007. It focuses on estate planning, probate, guardianship, and mediation, serving individuals and families throughout the Seattle metro area. This firm has 6 Google My Business Reviews and a 4.5-star rating.
- URL: Phinneyestatelas.com
- Address: 751 North 75th Street Seattle, Washington 98103
- Telephone: (206) 459-1908
Luce & Associates, P.S. According to satisfied client Edie Van, “They have a very good lawyer who specializes in estate planning, trusts, will still, guardianships, probate services..” 4.5-Star Rating with 13 Google My Business Reviews
- URL: Lucelawfirm.com
- Address: 4505 Pacific Highway East, Suite A, Tacoma, WA 98424
- Telephone: (253) 922-8724
Probate Court: Contact Info and Resources
Probate litigation occurs at the county level in Washington State. For example, probate litigation is filed with the Couty Clerks Ex Parte and Probate Department in King County and Pierce County Superior Court Clerk’s office in Pierce County
King County’s probate court office is located at 516 3rd ave Seattle WA 98104. Call the probate court office by calling (253) 477-2517 or review the Exparte Motions and Hearings Manual here.
Probate resources, rules, and info are available online:
- Washington Statutes (Title 11 RCW Probate and Trust Law)
- Probate Court Rules (LCR 40.1 Ex Parte and Probate Department)
- Probate Initial Hearing (King County)
- Probate, and Wills (Chapter 11.12 RCW)
- Probate Documents
Probate Costs & How To Pay Them
Probate litigation is expensive.
Many heirs wishing to sell a probate house in Washington struggle to afford the process.
Costs to expect in Washington include:
- Attorney’s Fees. Legal fees are the largest cost. Probate attorneys file the petition, notice heirs and creditors, conduct a property inventory of assets and liabilities, and manage the litigation. Compensation for simple cases averages $150/hour – complex cases can reach up to $300/hour for complex cases. Hourly rate is also dependent on the city and lawyer’s skill level.
- Court Filing Fees. Washington charges $240.00 for probate filing. For the Civil Probate fee schedule click here.
- Personal Representative Fee. Personal representatives in Washington may charge a fee. According to RCW 11.48.050, “He or she shall be allowed all necessary expenses in the care, management, and settlement of the estate.
If you do not have the resources available to start probate, here are some alternative payment options:
- Distribution of Estate Proceeds. Attorneys supply the entire costs for probate in exchange for being compensated directly from the estate.
- Professional Cash Home Buyer. Professional real estate investors pay for probate if the heir and investors agree on a price to sell a house at the conclusion of litigation. Interested in this service? Call us at (253) 289-3773 or enter click here for an offer.
- Percentage of An Estate. Rather than paying an attorney out of estate proceeds, attorneys may accept a percentage of the estate as compensation.
- Pro Bono & Legal Aide. In Washington, you can waive filing fees by submitting a Waiver Application if your income falls below specified thresholds. You can contact pro bono organizations to see if you meet their criteria for free representation to offset legal fees.
When Can the Executor Sell the Probate Property in Washington?
Once the executor is appointed, they are given the legal right to market any of the necessary property that the deceased person left behind. This property can be sold to help pay for outstanding liabilities. Or it may be sold based on the request within the last testament or if all the beneficiaries decide that they want to sell the Washington property. In the event that the property is being sold to pay off outstanding debts, most probate courts require that they provide written approval of the offer before it can be accepted by the executor.
Can You Sell a House Before Probate is Complete in Washington?
It’s completely possible to sell a Washington house before probate is complete. In fact, if you don’t plan on keeping the house, you’re better off selling it as early as possible in probate to avoid any property taxes, costly ongoing maintenance fees, foreclosures, or dealing with a prospective lender. Whenever a Washington house is sold before probate is completed, the proceeds from the sale go into an escrow account specifically for that descendant’s estate. Once all of the estate’s liabilities have been paid off, the remaining balance in the escrow account is dispersed to the heirs of the descendant’s estate.
Do You Need to Go Through Probate to Sell an Inherited House in Washington?
Whenever a person passes away in Washington, their last testament must be filed within 40 days. If they had any real estate that was held solely in their own name, then it must go through probate. Additionally, any real estate that was held as a joint property without rights of survivorship must go through the entire probate procedure before a clear title can be produced for the surviving party.
Washington Probate House Sale Issues
Unlike your average home sale, probate house sales tend to bring along a lot more complexity. If you plan on selling a house that’s currently in probate, it’s a good idea to understand what some of these common issues are so that you can be mentally prepared for them when they crop up.
One of the biggest issues is going to be the fact that the court is going to likely scrutinize any sale that happens. You’ll need to get their approval in order to officially approve any offer that is given on the house. Buyers of the house in probate won’t have any sort of guarantee as to how quickly the court may approve their offer and set a court date to finalize the buy. It could be a couple of months or could be up to a year later. Most buyers aren’t willing to wait this long to get into a home.
Another issue that you’re going to run into is overbidding. After you get an initial offer accepted by the court, they must set a formal hearing where the actual sale is to take place. At this hearing, the judge must take any additional bids over the purchase price that the initial buyers offer. Each bid is required to be 5% plus $500 more than the original buyer’s offer.
The bidding process continues until no one wants to bid any higher. Then, the house is sold to the highest bidder. This may not be the initial buyer who was named in the official agreement of sales. As a buyer, it’s easy to see from this information that there’s not a lot of value behind trying to purchase a house that’s in probate.
Options You Can Consider When Selling a Probate House Washington
When you decide that you want to sell a Washington house that is in probate, you have a few different options for who to sell it to. It’s a good idea to understand what these options are so that you can ensure the best route of sale possible.
Listing the Probate Property With a Washington Real Estate Agent
If you decide to go the traditional route, you can contact a realtor to list the property. This obviously incurs costly commission fees and requires that the property be available for showings regularly. While it might be helpful to know that the listed marketing of the house is in experienced hands, it’s important to realize that probate properties aren’t always ideal for realtors. In fact, their maximum charge is often set by the court and may be less than the regular income fee that they typically get. You may find that some realtors may not market probate properties.
Selling the Inherited Property To a Family Member in Washington
Another option you have is to sell the house to another family member. This can be great as it keeps the house in your family and can be easier than selling it to a stranger. However, you may find that they’ll pay less for the house than a non-family buyer. Also, they may come back to you if there are any issues with the house expecting you to fix them.
Selling a Washington Probate House As-Is to a Cash Home Buyer
One option that you may not be overly familiar with is selling the house to a cash home buyer. This type of company can buy houses, whether they’re a house or mobile homes, as they sit right now in their current condition, even with belongings inside of them. There’s no need to undergo any sort of repairs to sell the property or even get insurance. Better yet, you won’t even have to use a real estate agent. One drawback to selling your personal property to this type of service is that you’ll no longer be able to keep the house in the family as if you could if you sell it to a family member.
Washington Probate House Sale Frequently Asked Questions
Since most people don’t deal with selling a personal house in probate too often, they have a ton of questions about doing so. To help make the affair even smoother for you, we’re going to share some of the most common questions that we get and answer them in detail so that you have a better understanding of the entire affair.
Can You Sell a Washington House Without Going Through Probate in Washington?
In the state of Washington, most homes will need to be sold through probate. There are only a handful of exemptions that can be used to avoid probate. These include being a joint owner of the property with the right of survivorship and properties that are held in a living trust with living trustees.
It’s best to check with your attorney’s office to determine whether or not you legally have to sell your house through probate. In some cases, you may file an estate affidavit or small estate affidavit with the advice of an attorney to simplify the affair if the estate is worth less than $100,000.
Can You Live in a Washington House During Probate?
There are no probate laws out there against living in a house that is currently under ancillary probate proceedings. In fact, it’s typically preferred to have someone living in the house so that they can perform regular upkeep on it while the entire probate procedure is going on. Leaving a house to sit abandoned can lead to thefts and damages to the property.
Can You Empty a House Before Probate in Washington?
Typically, it’s not recommended that you empty an estate house before it enters probate. Since probate involves selling off the deceased estate to pay for any outstanding debts, all of their assets will be left in place until the entire affair is complete.
How Long Does It Take to Sell a Washington House in Probate?
The answer to this question is that it depends on how you sell the property. If you’re going to be selling the estate property to a family member or a cash home buyer, it’s likely going to be fairly quick. However, if you plan on selling the probate house via a real estate agent, it can take months for the court to approve the sale and go through the overbidding exercise.
Do All Heirs Need to Agree to Sell Washington Inherited Property?
If multiple heirs are left property from the decedent’s estate, they may not all agree that they want to sell the property. Typically, if all the beneficiaries agree that they want to sell the estate property, it can be sold without any sort of excess proceedings. However, if one or more of the heirs decides that they do not want to sell the property, then the heir that wants to sell will need to file a partition action. This essentially forces the sale of the estate property and will allow the other beneficiaries to purchase the house if they so choose.
Easiest Way to Sell a Washington House in Probate
If you’re looking for the easiest way to sell a house currently in estate probate proceedings because a loved one passed away, then the simple answer is to sell it to a cash home buyer. This can provide you with a quick sales action that is hassle-free. Be sure to get in contact with us today to learn more about how we can purchase your personal inherited property.
Selling an estate home to Sell My House is the ideal choice for people throughout the entire Washington area, including those who live in Tacoma, Everett, Yakima, Bellevue, Kirkland, Des Moines, Bellingham, Vancouver, Spokane, and more!