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Selling a home as part of estate administration

For many British Columbia estates, the asset with the greatest value is the testator's home. If there were no other occupants, and no other names on the title, the home is typically sold. This may be one of the more complicated aspects of estate administration as it combines estate law with real estate law.

As part of the probate process, the executor will need to acquire an appraisal of the home's value. Either a realtor or an accredited appraiser can provide this service. Technically, a realtor's assessment of a home's value is an "opinion of value", but in many cases this will be sufficient to satisfy the courts. An accredited appraiser will likely charge for his or her services, but the result is always valid during probate.

Not all realtor's are experienced with estate property sales, so it may be wise to pose that question directly before making a selection. The realtor may need to meet with the beneficiaries in order to satisfy everyone that a fair evaluation of value has been given, and that the list price is agreeable. However, even once the appraisal is complete, the home may not be ready for listing just yet. In most cases, probate must be completed before the executor has the legal authority to sell the home.

Selling the estate home is a large responsibility, especially when it represents a significant portion of the estate. Due to the complexity of the procedure, most people would be well advised to enlist professional help. A law firm that handles both estate administration and real estate law in British Columbia is well positioned to assist with this task.

Source:, "When Can a Property Be Listed for Sale by the Estate Trustee?", June Smith, Accessed on Feb. 21, 2017

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