Selling property

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Updated: 4/13/2007 6:35 pm
Generally, real and personal property can either be sold within a probate action by the executor or administrator, or be sold after the probate action by the heirs. The tax consequences will usually be the same if the real estate market is stable and the probate relatively brief. However, other factors should be considered carefully, including avoiding the time and effort of a sale after probate, concluding the probate quickly, avoiding disputes which may arise between multiple owners after probate, and limiting liability for unknown defects. If the owner of the property has not yet died, then it's important to consider the available options carefully, as the choice of selling before or after death can have significant financial and tax consequences. For instance, if property is sold before death, unnecessary taxes can sometimes result. Sale prior to death may result in capital gains taxes if it's been owned a long time and has a low cost basis. Real estate receives a new cost basis for tax purposes after death. Therefore, waiting until after death to sell may minimize capital gains taxes.
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