Inherited Real Estate and Probate: What You Need to Know

Probate is a legal process that takes place after a person dies. It involves transferring the deceased person’s assets, including real estate, to their heirs or beneficiaries. Inherited real estate can be a significant asset, but it is subject to the probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive.

The court will review the deceased person’s will or estate plan during probate to ensure its validity. If no will is present, the court will determine how the deceased person’s assets will be distributed according to state laws. Once the rightful heirs or beneficiaries have been determined, the real estate can be transferred to them.

Probate can take months or even years to complete, depending on the complexity of the estate. Usually in Lake County Florida, it takes around 3 months from start to finish. Orange County and other surrounding counties can take significantly longer due to the caseload. During this time, the real estate may be tied up in court and unavailable to the heirs or beneficiaries.

Moreover, the probate process can be costly, with fees for court costs and legal fees accumulating. A typical probate with a single piece of real estate could cost between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the complexity of the case and the number of heirs and creditors.

There are ways to bypass probate for inherited real estate. One option is to establish a living trust, which enables assets to be transferred to beneficiaries without undergoing probate. Alternatively, joint ownership allows the property to be jointly owned by the deceased person and another individual, such as a spouse and automatically transferred to the surviving owner. This is usually done with a “Ladybird Deed” or “Enhanced Life Estate Deed”.

Sometimes there are options for heirs so that they don’t have to pay out of pocket for the probate or for the repairs to their inherited property. When an inherited property needs a lot of work, it can be difficult to sell it traditionally on MLS to buyers who will need a loan. In these types of situations, often selling to an investor may be a great option for the heirs. The investor may pay for the probate upfront and buy the property As-Is with cash so the repairs can be completed after closing.

In conclusion, probate is the legal process of transferring assets, including inherited real estate, to heirs or beneficiaries following a person’s death. It can be a lengthy and costly process, but there are ways to avoid it, such as creating a living trust or joint ownership. It is vital to comprehend the probate process and consider alternatives when creating an estate plan.

About the Author

Jon Wanberg is a principal and co-owner of Buy My Home Florida and Expert Investments. He has been working with probate sellers for over 10 years and rehabbing property for more than 9 years. He lives in Eustis in Lake County Florida with his wife Kari and 3 kids. Jon is passionate about rehabilitating existing homes and restoring the beauty of their neighborhoods. If you have any questions for him or would like information regarding a cash offer on your home, reach out to:

Jon Wanberg

or visit us at

(352) 364-9900