Can You Sell A House In Probate In Lincoln, NE?

Sorting through a loved one’s belongings is never easy. And it is overwhelming enough when you’re wondering who might like a rock collection or those Frank Sinatra albums- let alone what happens to the house.

Questions will surface like should you keep the property in the family? Or, should you sell it to cover outstanding expenses? Having a will in place helps determine who is named beneficiary and how the estate should be handled. But if a will is not in place, it makes the process much harder. 

Keep in mind that the estate, including the house, still may need to go through probate, even if there is a will left by your loved one. The need for probate depends on where you live and how much the decedent’s assets are worth. Going through probate is not a quick process, and along the way, you may want to sell the property you have inherited. 

So you are probably wondering, can you sell a house in probate in Lincoln? Selling the house can remove some stress and help pay some of the bills associated with the estate. If you know that there is probably a property associated with the estate, why not see what someone will offer for it?

Not so fast, it would be best to go over some legal measures that you will need to navigate when selling an inherited property—starting with the probate process.

Understanding A House In Probate And Your Options

Probate sign, stack of papers and gavel

The Probate Process

In Nebraska, the majority of probate cases are handled in County Courts. Since Nebraska law governs the steps, it can be a lengthy process for several reasons, and getting a good lawyer will help you greatly.

Typically, the probate process consists of three main phases.

  • Pre-petition
  • Administration
  • Closing

Pre-petition– Starting out, the executor has not been named legally by the court. During this phase, documents like death certificate, will, and a petition need to be gathered. And legally, no actions can be taken towards the estate besides maintaining the property. 

Administration– during this second phase, the court appoints the executor or a representative. If that is you, as the executor, you will settle all the deceased person’s debts and adequately document an inventory of all their assets.

Closing– During the last phase, you will outline all of the financial steps taken in the administration phase and file them to the court. Including the inventory list you created and proof of debts paid. 

Now that you understand the probate phases, how do you sell a house in probate in Lincoln, NE?

How To Sell A House In Probate In Lincoln

A home is usually the biggest asset you own, and selling a house in probate will likely be the most complicated, time-consuming, and essential role of the estate executor

Sometimes heirs want to keep the property within the family but it may not be possible to do so. To comply with the will or court, selling the property may be necessary. Selling the house allows the personal representative to pay the estate debts, like credit cards or medical bills. Below is the probate property sale procedure that the court will want you to comply with.

Procedures to sell a house in probate in Lincoln can include:

  • Get a real estate appraisal 
  • Place the property for sale 
  • Secure a purchase offer
  • File a petition for approval of sale for real estate in NE
  • Secure a surety bond to sell real estate to protect the estate
  • Secure a court confirmation
  • Advertise the sale in a local paper

If you hire a real estate agent, the process would also include:

  • Listing the property on the MLS
  • Showing the property
  • Negotiating an offer and concessions
  • Open escrow
  • Real estate appraisal 
  • Property inspection 
  • Repairs as required 
  • Attending the closing at the title company

How Long Is The Probate Process In Nebraska?

Probate in Nebraska must remain open for at least 3 months to allow creditors to file claims against the estate. Typically, probate in Nebraska takes 3 to 9 months. But that is saying everything goes smoothly. The probate process could take years, especially if complications arise with beneficiaries not agreeing on the dissolution of the assets or unforeseen creditors making claims against the property. 

Another factor in the timeframe to consider is how long it will take to get the house ready to sell. Make sure to estimate several months to go through stuff, clean, and get any repairs done to the property. Most buyers aren’t interested in purchasing a home that needs fixing up, limiting the number of potential buyers.

How Much Does Probate Cost?

One of the initial fees is the filing fee. And in Nebraska, the filing fee is based on the value of the estate. For example, if the estate value is $100,000, the fee for filing is $196. However, there will be other fees to take into consideration, for instance:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Executor’s commission 
  • Property appraisal
  • Property inspection
  • Real estate commissions
  • Home maintenance 
  • Repairs to the home
  • Utilities 
  • Taxes

Who Pays For Probate Costs in Nebraska?

The assets of the estate will pay for expenses and management fees. There are times that the estate has limited liquid assets. So, to cover the costs, the representative typically has to sell the house while in probate. How much and which creditors to pay is decided by the probate court. Once assets are sold or liquidated, the court will order outstanding bills paid in the following order:

  • Administration fees, including attorneys
  • Funeral expenses
  • Taxes
  • Creditors
  • Beneficiaries

Whatever is leftover is then paid to the heirs or beneficiaries.  

How To Avoid Probate In Nebraska 

Probate can be a stressful situation, especially during a time of loss. Probate can take months or even years to resolve an estate, especially if complications arise. 

Unfortunately, the longer the probate process takes, the more money goes towards home expenses and professional fees. The mounting costs reduce assists that could have gone to the heirs, instead. 

With that said, you are probably wondering if it is possible to avoid probate in Lincoln Nebraska?

It is possible to avoid probate, but steps must be taken before someone passes away. 

You can avoid probate by:

  • Naming beneficiaries for your assets such as retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, and insurance policies
  • Joint ownership of real estate so ownership transfers to the surviving owner
  • Transferring ownership of the property before death through a living trust 
  • Creating a Lady Bird Deed transfers ownership of the property at the owner’s death, but they retain control of the property during their life
house in probate in Lincoln, Nebraska

How To Sell Probate Property As-Is Fast

Going through probate is an expensive and time-consuming process. So, you are probably wondering if there is an easier way to sell a house in probate in Lincoln? As the representative, you want to ensure the heirs receive a fair share of their inheritance. It is disheartening to see assets intended to go to loved ones, diminished because of property maintenance or months of attorney fees. 

The easiest way to sell while in probate is by finding a cash buyer like Element Homebuyers. They understand the probate process and are willing to work with you along the way. No repairs or updates required. They buy houses in the Lincoln, Nebraska area in any condition, and under any circumstances. 

The advantages of selling to a cash buyer include no real estate commissions, professional fees, closing costs, buyer’s concessions, or lender-required repairs. Meaning you can close probate faster and have more money in the heirs’ pockets sooner. 

Element Homebuyers is a local business in Lincoln, Nebraska. Our experienced team is ready to help you solve your unique probate problems. To check out their three-step process, click here.

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