By The A-Team | Jul 21, 2020 | Seller Advice
Have you recently lost a loved one and found that you will be responsible for selling their property in Fort McMurray?
Or has a loved one just moved into assisted living or palliative care?
Either, way, are you unsure where to start? It can be a daunting process.
This article contains all the information you’ll need to get started in either situation.
First of all, let me start out by saying that I am so sorry for your loss. I understand that this is a time when you might rather be mourning the loss of your loved one, than dealing with business matters. Hopefully, the information in this blog will enable you to focus on more important things.
We’ll start by introducing you to the legal side, then continue with your 7 steps towards a successful estate sale.
After the death of a loved one, it’s a good idea to involve a lawyer as soon as you are able so they can guide you on the legal process. As you’ll see below, until certain things are taken care of legally, our hands can be a bit tied on the real estate side. As REALTORSⓇ, we can’t give legal advice, but we do regularly recommend high-quality lawyers (in Alberta). There is a process that you may have already heard about, called probate. Basically, it gives someone or some people permission to list & sell the home (among other things).
“In Alberta, a Grant of Probate is the Surrogate Court's certification that the Will submitted by the Executor meets the formal requirements of a Will as set out in the Wills and Succession Act and is the last Will executed by the deceased. The Grant of Probate gives the Executor the authority to deal with the deceased's property and administer/distribute the deceased's Estate in accordance with the Will.” - Kirk Montoute LLP.
There can be a strong motivation on the part of one, more or all family members to list and sell the home, sometimes for financial, but more often for emotional reasons. But the reality is that a legal process needs to be followed carefully:
“Because it can take weeks to receive a Grant of Probate from the courts, and because executors are usually under pressure from beneficiaries to wrap up the estate quickly, executors are often in a hurry to sell the house or other property in the estate. This is particularly true if the market is in the seller's favour at the time. They don't always want to wait until they've received the paperwork from the court. Unfortunately, the executor does have to wait for the actual court order.” - Estate Law CanadaOne silver lining is that there are things we can do on the real estate side while waiting for the probate period to end. Sometimes preparing for a sale can be very difficult emotionally, but it can also bring some peace. We’ve noticed it’s important to go at your own pace and consider the emotional journeys of everyone else that was involved in the deceased person’s life.
This process is rarely an easy one for the executor or beneficiaries, but with a little bit of planning & collaboration, you can at least help it be smooth...
Info: “An executor (or executrix) of an estate is an individual appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person. The executor's main duty is to carry out the instructions to manage the affairs and wishes of the deceased person's estate." - Investopedia
A great place to start is to find out who the executor is for your loved one’s will. If they did not have a will, then the court will appoint a personal representative. If this has not yet been done, that’s ok - we can still get started on our end.
According to the CRA website:
“There may not be a will, or the will may not name an executor. In this case, a court will appoint an administrator to handle the deceased's estate. An administrator is often the spouse, common-law partner, or the next of kin.”
The executor will need to be involved with the decision making and signing the paperwork to list the property for sale, so it is best to involve them sooner than later if you are not the executor yourself.
If you are not located here in Fort McMurray, then no problem - we can also help arrange everything on the ground for you here!
I hope you found this helpful! Please feel free to reach out to me if you want more information or if you’d like to get started. We will look out for your best interests and help with any questions that come up along the way.
Take care! -Breanna