Whether it was sudden, or you knew it was coming, saying goodbye to a family member or close friend is difficult. There are no words that can heal the heart and settle the mind, only time.
As an executor or legal representative of the deceased estate, you’re the person on the will responsible for carrying out their wishes. It’s a wonderful honour, but also a position that you might not have the capacity for, as you’re also grieving.
Many families have walked this path before. You’re certainly not alone and we’re here as a support during this time, if maintaining the estate is too much and you’d like to sell it. First, there’s some important information to cover.
Before you become the executor of the will, you’ll need to apply for a legal document, the Grant of Probate to execute decisions. There are different websites according to which state you reside, so make sure you choose the correct one. Do this as early as possible to avoid any delays.
If an executor hasn’t been appointed, families will require a Grant of Letter of Administration with a will annexed. For estates with no valid will, a Grant of Letter of Administration must be obtained. A solicitor can help you navigate any situation you’re in.
A property cannot be sold until the title has been transferred to you, the executor. The sale preparation can begin, but the settlement won’t occur. You need the authority to then transfer it over to the purchaser.
As the executor, it’s your responsibility to get various quotes from real estate agents and tradespeople for repairs. Extensive maintenance and updates are common in estates, given they’re lived in for many years. It’s important to remain transparent and in regular communication with all the beneficiaries. This includes all quotes, costings, and valuations.
Estates and will can divide families. This is why many executors choose to sell the property, and at an open auction, so there’s no room to challenge the outcome. Once sold, settlement happens after 60-90 days and signifies the closing of a chapter. While there’s no set time you need to sell the property by, most families do it within the first six months. The timing can impact taxes, so it’s best to speak with a financial and tax advisor. Get clarity on the deceased estate administration requirements.
According to the ATO: You can be exempt from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on disposal of an inherited dwelling if you sell it within two years of the family member’s death, as well as fulfill one or both of the following conditions - prove it was their main residence or that it was acquired before September 1985.
If they become owner after this date, you’ll need records of the cost base for the asset.
Generally, CGT doesn’t apply when you inherit a property - unless it’s sold at a much later date. As executor, you’ll have a year to distribute the estate to avoid capital gains tax implications.
For more information tax specific to your estate, follow the ATO’s deceased estate planning checklist. This includes lodging a final tax return on their behalf, completing one for the estate, and any other tax obligations.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as you sell a deceased estate property. This is the first time you’re doing this, and you likely have more questions than answers.
There’s support available for you, who can bring their own experience to make the transfer, sale, and distribution as smooth as possible. People who understand the steps to take to put a deceased estate property up for sale.
Start building your support network today - a solicitor, tax agent, financial advisor, trusted contractors, and friends who’ve been through it before.
Just because you’re the executor, you don’t have to handle this alone - certainly not obtaining those multiple valuations (or vetting real estate agents to find the best one to represent your family).
This is where we come in. Agent Select is a free, independent service that helps homeowners select the best performing real estate agent and negotiate the most desirable terms to sell their property, anywhere in Australia.
Agent Select uses our sophisticated algorithm to find 2-3 top agents and coordinates the appraisal process. Rather than inundating you with dozens of calls from agents, like other comparison websites do, we provide you with all the information you need to make an empowered decision… with the complete freedom to appoint your agent of choice.
Give us a call today on 1300 040 463. We’re here to help ease this challenging chapter for you.
1. Can a beneficiary buy a house from the estate?
Yes, you can apply for a mortgage to buy out the beneficiaries.
2. What if one beneficiary wants to keep the property while others prefer to sell?
This is a sensitive issue to navigate. Engage legal advice if you can’t come to a mutual agreement.
3. Instead of selling a deceased estate, is it better to turn it into an investment property?
Every situation is different. Selling might be good for one family but holding onto it is better for another. You can either keep it in the family to live in or rent out, or sell the property altogether.
4. Can the executor sell property without all beneficiaries approving?
In some cases, the executor can sell the property after probate, if there’s been no mention of keeping it in the will. However, because this is a sensitive situation, executors should take care to communicate with the beneficiaries.
5. Can an estate sell through a private arrangement?
Yes, as long as the probate is granted, a deceased estate can be sold by auction or privately.
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