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Ohio Estate Sales When in Probate: What You Should Know

November 21, 2017 by Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.


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In the absence of a trust, Ohio probate court is required whether a person dies with or without a will. After determining an inventory of the assets, and the heirs, an estate sale may follow.

Here are a few frequently asked questions we receive on estate sales.

Who Handles the Sale?

Arranging for the sale like all actions in probate is the sole responsibility of the executor or the administrator. It may an auction or tag sale, depending on the circumstances.  

What are the Duties of the Executor or Administrator?

When it comes to wrapping up the affairs, the executor must perform the necessary appraisals and determine fair market value and date-of-death value of all the assets and property in the inventory subjected to probate.

Evaluations must be conducted professionally for items such as antiques, art, and jewelry. However, assets like stocks and shares don't require a professional appraisal.

An executor does this when they need to sell some of the property or assets to settle debts or taxes or if the beneficiary approves of the sale.

What can you expect from probate? Download our free guide.

How are debts paid from estate sales?

A settling of the debts follows priority. Funeral expenses, taxes and any expenses incurred in the administration process take precedence.

If the executor doesn't follow the priority, they might be personally liable if there aren't sufficient funds to pay other claims filed.

It's a breach of the fiduciary duty to overlook a debt that has priority over another.  If there isn't sufficient liquid cash to pay them, some assets will be sold to cover the amount.

What can be sold in an estate sale?

Executors should be aware of the listed property and assets they can sell.

Property that was specifically set aside for a person unless they give their consent cannot be sold. Real estate is one of the trickiest assets to manage because some of the beneficiaries might still be living in the home another recipient wants to sell.

The executor can only begin a sale after the specified wait period has expired and court approval gained. The executor must agree on a reasonable price to list the property and commission to pay the real estate agent that will cover any maintenance costs to the property before selling.

Executors must maintain the home insurance policy and the vehicle insurance during the entire period until the sale.

How does the sale of property and assets occur?

The executor may sell the property following Ohio law but may also utilize and auctioneer, real estate agent or estate sale specialist. When selling a house, you will need to have it valued according to the current market value. During this period, you will have potential buyers visiting the home the administrator may want to fix any plumbing or electrical problems in addition to maintaining the property in good working order.

Executors should move towards a quick sale to avoid the costs of maintaining the house and reduce liabilities including taxes.

Interested buyers should be told that the court needs to confirm any offers they give and this further lengthens the sale time. This process can take more time than desired as the executor through their probate court first needs to file a petition to confirm the sale.

If you’ve been named the executor or administrator of an estate and are looking for guidance please contact us for a free consultation.

Our consultations are completely free of charge and intended to equip you to make the best decision.


Topics: Probate, Ohio Probate, Probate Process, Sale of Probate Property, Estate Sales

Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.

Written by Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.

Port Legal founding attorney, Gregory Port has over 30 years experience. He has provided strategic corporate law representation in Central Ohio to clients since 1990. Gregory Port is a lawyer actively practicing in the areas of probate, estate planning, and real estate. His experience and core values are the cornerstones of Port Legal as a specialized advocate for your interests.