Buying and Selling Real Estate After an Owner Has Died
When an owner of real estate has died and the property is to be sold, there are a few important differences from a sale involving a living person.
First, someone needs to obtain credentials to sell the real estate. If the deceased has executed a Last Will and Testament prior to their death, an executor or executrix will have been appointed. Typically a Will grants the executor or executrix the power to sell real estate without approval of the probate court. When an individual has died WITHOUT a Will (intestate), an administrator or administratrix will need to be appointed. Once appointed, however, an administrator or administratrix does not have the power to sell real estate without first obtaining approval of the probate court. And although parties in interest can consent to the proposed sale and streamline the process by signing waivers, obtaining the approval is an additional step that will take additional time - and which may require waiting out an appeal period if waivers are not obtained. Real Estate Purchase Contracts for these transactions should be made subject to probate court approval.
Second, state statutes normally require that a Seller of residential real estate consisting of four dwellings or less provide a buyer with a Residential Property Condition Report at the time that a contract is entered into (see https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCP/Forms/2021-Residential-Property-Condition-Report--revised.pdf), or the seller must credit the buyer the sum of $500. However, transfers made by executors and administrators are completely exempt from these requirements. This means that as a seller, you are not required to provide these disclosures (or grant the monetary credit), and as a buyer, you are not entitled to receive them (or the monetary credit).
Third, state statutes require that a Seller of residential real estate designed to be occupied by one or two families sign an affidavit attesting to certain things regarding the presence of smoke/carbon monoxide detectors - or the seller must credit the buyer the sum of $250. However, transfers made by executors and administrators are completely exempt from these requirements. This means that as a seller, you are not required to provide this affidavit (or grant the monetary credit), and as a buyer, you are not entitled to receive the affidavit (or receive the monetary credit).
Finally, there may be differences in the tax treatment when property is sold out of an estate. We've been representing buyers and sellers of residential real estate for over 50 years, and we would be happy to help you, your family member, or a friend navigate the process of buying or selling a home.