Paul’s mother passed away recently and the will stipulates that he will inherit his mom’s house.  This is great news for Paul as he is in need of money, so he immediately puts the house up for sale and quickly finds a buyer.  Everything goes smoothly until it’s time to close on the property and the title search shows a cloud (a lien or claim against the house).

Why was there an encumbrance?  The reason is that in order for Paul to sell the house, the house and all other assets must pass through probate before it is devised and Paul gets put on title, becoming the official owner.  Not only can he not sell the house, but it could cost him a lot of money and jail time! Here’s how,a contract between a homeowner and a broker says that if the broker brings a buyer who is willing, able and financible, the broker is due a commission. That alone could cost Paul thousands of dollars.

Thatis not the worst of Paul’s situation however.  He can be sued for fraud, and that is a crime.  Paul does not own the home, so he may not try and sell it.

Selling the house is possible but getting money out of the estatebefore it’s probated is unlikely.  If Paul was the Executor of the Estate, he would be able to get a release from the court in order tosell the house.  In this situation though, the money recieved from the sale would go back into the estate until the estate has been settled.  Only at that time, can the money be distributed to the beneficiaries.

The one chance Paul would have is if the estate’s assets total value was smaller then $20,000.  In New Jersey probate,estate’s valuing less then $20,000 are not required to pass through probate. After the required procedures are followed and the heir has transferred title to himself/herself, the property can be sold.  This however is highly unlikely in New Jersey probate as having a house in an estate will surely have the value of the estate well over $20,000.

Insummary, the executor can sell a house out of theestate by getting the courts consent.  This is a good idea if you arein need of money to pay off the decedent’s outstanding taxes or liens.

Sometimes money is needed fast, if you need to sell quickly visit

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