Here’s just a bit of a primer for sellers and buyers of probate property (real estate) in Florida. It’s only the nuts and bolts – bottom line – INQUIRE EARLY TO SEE PROBATE IS NECESSARY!
If you just inherited property in Florida and you’re looking to sell it, make sure your ducks are all in a row. You can’t sell the property you don’t legally own!
We frequently get calls from real estate agents wanting to know how long probate in Florida will take. The answer is invariably, “it depends.” Don’t assume your realtor knows anything about probate. Realtors know plenty about real estate, but many of them don’t understand probate. Technically, a real estate listing agreement probably isn’t even binding until you have actually inherited the property through probate administration.
If the property will go through a formal real estate closing and title insurance will be issued, probate is undoubtedly going to be required by the title company! This can be a deal breaker for a potential buyer if it is not addressed early!
On the other hand, if you plan on signing over a quit claim deed, the buyer will eventually discover the probate problems – a headache you do not want to deal with long after you’ve “closed” the deal.
If you suspect that the seller is liquidating an estate, ALWAYS inquire if the property is in probate administration or if it has been through probate! If the answer is “yes” it should be quite simple to confirm in the county clerk’s official records.
Furthermore, unless the seller is a surviving spouse, it is typically not enough to simply record a death certificate to “clear” title to the property!