How Does One Sell Real Estate In a Probate?

Nonintervention personal representatives sell real property as would any other person, except that a personal representative is not obligated to provide a seller with Form 17, which concerns real estate disclosures (RCW 64.06.010), and a personal representative generally offers a personal representative’s deed (also known as a special warranty deed or a bargain and sale deed), which provides fewer warranties than does a statutory warranty deed.  RCW 64.04.040.

Full intervention personal representatives sell property by court order.  RCW 11.56.010.  The personal representative must bring a petition for sale of the real property with all pertinent facts.  The petition for sale may be presented ex parte, that is, no notice to interested parties need be given.  The court may order a hearing, if the facts warrant such.  RCW 11.56.030.  The court may order real property sold by public sale, private sale, or by negotiation.  It is the duty of the personal representative to sell the real property in the manner specified by the court.  RCW 11.56.050.  Upon sale of the real property by court order, the personal representative shall file with the probate court a return of sale.  If the parcel was sold by negotiation, the sale must be published in the a legal newspaper of the county of probate proceedings.  Not sooner than ten days after publication of the sale, the court may confirm the sale of the parcel, unless the court deems the terms of sale unfair or the sum obtained was disproportionate to the parcel’s value or failed to sell for at least ninety percent of its appraised value, the court may refuse to confirm the sale.  RCW 11.56.100.  Once confirmed, the sale of real property is immune to attack for all reasons except fraud.  RCW 11.56.115.  After confirmation, the personal representative may create documents that transfer the real parcel to the buyer.  RCW 11.56.120.  Real property sold by a personal representative pursuant to a court order transfers to the buyer the same title as if the decedent remained alive and transferred it herself. RCW 11.60.040.

If a decedent’s Will expressly provides that the personal representative shall sell the real property of the estate, then even the full intervention personal representative does not require court approval for sale of the real property.  RCW 11.56.250.