When someone dies and their house, condo, or agricultural property needs to be sold, the executor might engage a realtor. Executors and their realtors need to be aware of complicating factors regarding the sale of real estate held by an estate.
If the executor (or estate trustee in Ontario) is planning to sell real estate held in the estate and the deceased was the sole owner, probate1,2 will be required to transfer the property. When listing the property for sale before probate is granted, both the listing and any offers to purchase are to be made 'subject to obtaining probate.'
Check with Land Titles
It may be prudent to check with Land Titles to confirm the registered owner, as the transfer of title from jointly owned to solely owned might have been overlooked upon the death of the first spouse or common-law partner. A death certificate for the first spouse/partner would have to be located, and if not available, requested from Vital Statistics.
When Joint Isn't Joint
Where an asset is registered jointly as tenants-in-common and one of the owners dies, their share of the title will not pass to the joint owner as it would with right of survivorship. It will form a part of the deceased's estate. Probate will be required to transfer the property.
Minor, Dependent & Disabled Beneficiaries
When there are minor, dependent or disabled residual beneficiaries, there might be additional requirements3 for the proper transfer of the property. It is best for the executor to check with a professional such as Concentra Trust or an estate lawyer.
1. Letters of administration for intestacies (no Will); known as the Certificat of Appointment of Estate Trustee in Ontario
2. Certain exceptions will apply in Ontario
3. Saskatchewan requires a Certificate of No Infants