The answer to the often-asked question “Can a house be sold while it is in probate in Connecticut?” is “Yes”, but as is true of any home sale, you must adhere carefully to our state’s pertinent rules and regulations. The probate court will monitor every step and all aspects of the sale, and if you’re the executor, you, too, must monitor and approve all the terms of the sale. It can be a complex process, but understanding it will make things a little smoother. The rules are intended to promote uniformity in the procedures used by all Probate Courts throughout the state and are an essential resource for attorneys and court users.
We ask they you check with your attorney to verify all laws and claims. We are not lawyers. We do our best to provide information but laws can vary by jurisdiction and can change.
Can A House Be Sold While In Probate In Connecticut?
Appointment of Administrator/Executor
If the decedent’s will designated a specific person as the executor and that person is willing to act in that capacity, then he or she is officially appointed as the executor. If on the other hand, no one has been designated as executor in the will, then the court and/or other relatives will appoint a near relative to act as administrator. The Connecticut probate court judge and personnel monitor the work that the executor carries out. The court can remove an executor who is not following the law, who is not following the will & testaments, or who is not fulfilling their fiduciary duties. The court can, and often does, appoint a new personal representative in those situations.
The next step is to have the property appraised. But you must make sure the appraiser you choose is a licensed, reputable appraiser. Real estate appraisers require a license from the Department of Consumer Protection. Please note that there are several different appraisal licenses.
Provisional Appraiser Requirements: All provisional appraisers & their sponsor(s) must complete a course in supervisor/provisional education. There are currently only 2 courses approved that meet this requirement. They are:
- Mandatory CT Appraisal Law with Supervisor / Provisional Education (3hrs)
- Supervisor/Trainee Education course (4hrs)
In addition, supervisors must be a certified appraiser for at least 3 years with no disciplinary action in the past 3 years that would prevent them from supervising a provisional appraiser.
Provisional Appraisers are required to complete at least 1 pre-licensing course each continuing education cycle. The pre-licensing course will also count as part of your required continuing education.
Inventory and Appraisals are due to the court no later than 120 days after the personal representative has been appointed. This lists the monetary value of items including real estate, cars, art pieces, jewelry and more. The inventory and appraisal determines the overall value of the estate.
All property must be valued on the inventory at its fair market value at the time of death. It is the responsibility of the fiduciary to determine these values through inquiry and his or her own experience. The value of real estate may be determined in one of several ways, including:
- A written appraisal
- A comparative market analysis by a real estate agent
- The assessed value from the local tax assessor, adjusted to reflect 100 percent of the fair market value
- The actual sale price obtained in an arm’s-length transaction within six months following the decedent’s death
Itemized lists of valuable personal property, such as jewelry and antiques, should also be included. Household furnishings and personal items need not be itemized unless of particular value.
The fiduciary must send copies of the inventory to each party and attorney involved with the estate and must certify on the inventory that the copies have been provided. The copies may be sent by mail, fax, e-mail or via hand delivery.
The property usually must sell at a price that is at least 90% of the appraised value, so you need an appraiser who can get it right.
This is the step where the answer to “Can a house be sold while it is in probate in Connecticut?” begins to become a reality. And you’ll start by having your agent list the house on a multiple listing service so that buyers will know it’s a probate sale.
An interested buyer makes an offer along with a 10% deposit, an offer which you can accept or reject. If you do accept it, the offer is then subject to court confirmation. You must submit the offer through your probate attorney to the court for confirmation. If everyone is in agreement, then a date is set for the sale to be finalized in court.
When the offer on the house in probate has been accepted and confirmed by the court, a Notice of Proposed Action must be mailed to all the heirs. This document states all the terms and conditions of the proposed sale. Heirs then have 15 days to review the notice and raise objections if they have any. If none of the heirs has any objections, the sale can go forward without a court hearing.
Now, here’s where it gets a little complicated. Before the court confirms and approves the original buyer’s offer, the judge will ask those present in the courtroom if any of them would like to bid on the property. If no one does, then the sale proceeds in the standard fashion mentioned above.
If, however, there is an overbid, the original buyer’s 10% deposit must be refunded before the new sale at the new bid price can proceed. When the overbid is accepted, the new buyer must then put up a 10% deposit, which is required to be a cashier’s check. This check for the accepted overbid deposit is presented to the executor/administrator at the winning bidder’s acceptance hearing.
Upon court confirmation and approval, a contract can then be signed. But it is a specialized kind of sale contract because it cannot have any contingencies, and escrow closes soon after the hearing, usually within 15 days.
As you can see, there are some complicated rules for selling a house while in probate. It is advised to consider contacting an attorney for more specific help.