As a personal representative, are you allowed to sell estate property on your own, or do you have to go to the court for permission first?
This is an important question with a complicated answer.
If you mess up, you could find yourself in hot water with the Georgia probate court. In this article, we’re going to get to the bottom of it so you stay out of trouble.
My name is Erik Broel. I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm, we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
As a personal representative, you have an obligation to handle the estate according to Georgia law.
As a result, whether you can sell estate property on your own depends upon whether the court granted you expanded powers when you were appointed.
What If You Don’t Have Expanded Powers?
When you serve without expanded powers, you are very limited in what you can do without court approval.
Even some of the most common tasks like selling an estate home or car require that you obtain permission with the court first.
To obtain that permission, you must file a petition for leave to sell with the probate court.
In that petition, you will need to identify for the court:
- What you would like to sell.
- The reason you would like to sell it.
- The proposed terms of the sale. (including price)
Once the petition is filed, the court will send formal notice to all heirs and/or beneficiaries to give them the opportunity to object to the petition for leave to sell.
If an objection is filed, then the court will order a hearing.
If no objection is filed, the court may or may not order a hearing, and may or may not approve the petition – it will depend on what the petition says and how the court feels about it.
Once an order is issued by the court on the petition, you must make sure to follow the terms of the order to the letter.
It is very common for the court to require you to make another filing showing the details of the sale transaction once the sale has been completed.
It is very important to remember that if you do not have expanded powers, then you cannot sell the property until the court gives you permission.
Since the petition to leave to sell process can take a month or two, you must plan ahead for when you want to sell property with that in mind.
These can be complicated issues. If you would like help, please reach out to our friendly team and we would be happy to assist you.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you’re considering selling estate property, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.