Probate in California is one of the legal processes that can allow people to purchase real estate. It is the means by which the court system auctions off real estate that was left behind by people who pass away without a will. Probate is also a way for executors or friends who do not want to own the real estate to sell it and discharge responsibility.
How probate works
In most cases, the real estate assets of a person or a couple are their most valuable assets. If they have a will, that will designate what happens to the property. However, if they die intestate, meaning without a will, then the probate court system is responsible for evaluating the property and putting it up for sale in a public auction. The laws governing probate can vary from state to state, and it can also include cases where there is an heir specified in a will, but who wants to sell off the property as soon as they inherit it.
In both cases, the probate sales can have lower prices than a typical home sale, but they also tend to have houses that might need renovation or remodeling to be livable. They can also carry the risk of probate litigation, if there is any kind of dispute about the inheritance process or any other aspect of the probate process. That can delay or interfere with sales, creating an additional complication for potential buyers.
Understanding how probate works is important both for beneficiaries who might be involved with probate litigation as well as those interested in buying real estate with probate sales.