Agent

Selling inherited house hits roadblock

How probate, tax issues could have been avoided

Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, April 2, 2006. DEAR BOB: In 1993, my wife's father died. He left everything to her in his will. There are no siblings or other close relatives. Knowing she inherited the house, we moved our family in and have been living in the house and paying its mortgage ever since. Now that our kids are grown and on their own, we want to sell the house and "downsize" for our retirement years ahead. However, when we talked with a Realtor about listing the house for sale, she said we can't sell it until my father-in-law's estate is probated and the house title is transferred to my wife. Is there any way to avoid probate? --Jerome W. DEAR JEROME: No. However, many states have speedy small estate probate procedures for situations like the one you describe. Because your late father-in-law willed his house, probate court proceedings are usually required. Purch...

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