Real estate inheritance runs into probate, tax issues

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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. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Probate could have been completely avoided if he held title in his revocable living trust, specifying that after his death the hous...