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Biddle Law Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, July 15, 2021

What to Know About Probate Homes in California

The purpose of estate administration is to ensure that one’s real and personal property is properly distributed after they have passed away. This process to administer the estate is known as probate and is overseen by a probate court. So who administers the estate? An estate representative is responsible and may be named in the Will or appointed by the Court if no one is named or if the named person is unwilling to take on the responsibilities.

This representative is responsible for paying off the debts of the deceased individual and making sure that the named beneficiaries receive as much inheritance as possible. Often the personal representative will hire a probate attorney to oversee the legal aspects of the process.

Can Homes Be Sold Through the Probate Process?

Under a Will, a piece of real property may be sold. When the Will dictates this, the personal representative must adhere to these instructions. However, the representative may be able to get a court order against this if following these instructions would not be in the best interest of those involved. If the Will doesn’t mention real property or if there is no Will, the decision to sell real property is left to the decision of the representative, assuming that they are granted full authority. This decision may be made as a means of paying off debts, taxes, and the like.

How Are CA Probate Homes Sold?

There are five ways in which probate homes are traditionally sold in California. They include:

  1. Real Estate Agent: Probate properties are most commonly sold through real estate agents. Generally this is the choice of the personal representative. While a probate attorney may suggest that the personal representative choose a real estate agent or probate broker, the representative is in no way obligated to follow the recommendations of the attorney.
  2. Private Sale: Another way in which probate homes are often sold is via private sale. Notice of private sales is listed in legal newspapers and bids are sealed. An attorney will open all bids on a certain predetermined date and time and the highest bidder will win.
  3. Public Auction: Public auctions bear some similarities to private sakes in that notice of them is listed in legal newspapers. However, bids are oral and bidding is held on a predetermined date and date. Bids are not written or sealed. Once again, the highest bidder wins.
  4. Private Auction: Unlike public auctions, private auctions are held by an auction company, which notifies of upcoming properties for auction. Again bids are oral and the highest bidder wins.
  5. Trust Department: The fifth traditional means of selling probate homes in California is through the trust department. The trust department may serve as the personal representative of the estate and sell the probate real property.

Biddle Law Can Help

When you work so hard for all of your assets and want them to go to specific people and causes in a certain manner, you deserve to be able to do so. However, without a properly structured estate plan, you can actually create detrimental circumstances for your loved ones, rather than help them. This is why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced California probate attorney who knows the current laws and has experience dealing with the probate process.

At Biddle Law, we are here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the probate process. We care about your assets and your loved ones and want to help in any way we can. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!


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