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Selling Your Parents House? Here’s How to Sell a House in Probate in Missouri

Have you been put in charge of selling your parents’ house? It might be because the house is in probate, at which point you’re going to be expected to understand how to sell a house in probate. If you don’t know, don’t worry. We’ll explain how selling your house in probate can be accomplished. 

We know that selling a house in probate can be a stressful and confusing process. Unlike selling a house on the housing market for just selling a house for cash to a home buyer, probate involves a lot of legal and financial concerns that you need to be aware of. It’s not uncommon for the probate process to put undue stress on your family members. But the more you understand about probate laws in Missouri, the better off you’ll be when questions arise and issues surrounding your parents’ house come up. Let’s take a closer look at how to sell a house in probate in Missouri.

How To Sell a House in Probate in Missouri

house with word probate - Sell a House in Probate in Missouri

What is Probate?

First, we need to make sure we understand what probate is and why it’s a necessary tool in certain real estate sales. Probate is the name given to the process whereby you provide last will and testament after someone has passed away. The point of probate is to verify that the will is confirmed to be a legal document and that the wishes of the person who has died are carried out as intended. Probate can also occur when there is no will. In that case, a private court will decide the best way to distribute the assets of the estate to those who are in line to receive them, such as spouses, children, and relatives. 

If the decedent’s estate is very small, then probate is a simple process that will be over in a matter of weeks or a few months. It can be a very fast home-selling process if everything is done by the book, the will checks out, and all of the recipients are readily available. But if the estate is very large, the probate process can take years to complete. And that’s if everything checks out. If someone decides they have a legitimate claim to assets that aren’t spelled out in a will, they can file a petition with the probate court, which will push things back even further, 

You should know that having a will in place doesn’t mean that you can avoid probate. That said, it does make it so much easier to bring it to a logical conclusion compared to when an estate is left without a will and many potential recipients wondering what they’ll receive. It’s also a lot easier if you need to sell a house in probate in Missouri within the estate. 

Probate Types in Missouri

When selling a house in probate in Missouri, there are a few different ways it can go, depending on the estate and situation. 

If the estate is valued under $40,000, then you can obtain a small estate certificate 30 days following the death of the estate owner. This will allow you to avoid the full probate process and move things along much quicker. The person in charge of distributing the assets of the estate must promise to satisfy all debts and distribute any property in accordance with Missouri law. 

It’s important to know that there are some kinds of estate assets that are not involved in the probate process. It’s up to the executor of the estate to determine which assets are to be excluded. Some of these assets often include those held in a trust, proceeds from a life insurance policy, joint property assets, and assets held as “payable on death” or “transfer on death.” 

If it’s an intestate estate, the surviving spouse of a decedent has the right to receive half of the estate. If the decedent has children and the surviving spouse is also the parent of those children, the spouse will receive certain financial entitlements as well, on top of any exempt property or allowances. If the surviving spouse receives less than one would expect due to a will, they can “take against the will” and receive the statutory amount instead of what the will provides. Missouri law prevents a spouse from being entirely cut out of a will unless it was legally agreed to prior to death, such as in a prenuptial agreement. 

paper with probate and gavel - probate process

The Probate Process

The probate process begins when the owner of the estate has died and an executor is placed in charge of the will and the estate. The will may have appointed someone to be the executor, but they still need to be willing to act in that role. If there is no one appointed as executor, the closest relative can be appointed as administrator, either by other relatives or by Missouri courts. 

If there is a house property involved in the estate, the executor will need to get it appraised. There are plenty of appraisers available that the estate can pay to do this. Or if you are working with a real estate agent they might be able to refer someone. When it comes time to sell the property in probate, it must sell for at least 90% of the appraised value. 

The estate’s executor can sell any real estate included in the estate’s assets, but only if it wasn’t willed to a beneficiary. If the decedent left their house to their spouse or child, that person or people need to receive ownership of it. If they did not name their real estate assets to a specific person, it’s possible to sell the house or property in the probate process in order to help offset any costs that will be incurred. 

At this point, the real estate is listed for sale and marketed in order to attract buyers. If you’re selling through a real estate agent, they will list the house on the multiple listing service (MLS), which will then place it on sites like Zillow and Redfin. It will be listed as a probate sale. An alternative is to sell the house to a cash buyer like Offer House, who can buy your house for cash without commissions or listing

When the house is sold in probate, proceeds from the sale are applied to the outstanding costs and debts related to the estate. The probate court will then split the remaining profits among all of the estate’s beneficiaries. Offer House can also help you with this process so be sure to contact us and ask how. We buy Missouri houses in probate and we pay cash for them, making it easy for you to offset costs and provide financial comfort to those left behind dealing with the probate process. 

One thing you want to be aware of is that you’ll need to make sure you’re filing all of the correct paperwork when needed with the courts and you’re getting their approval on everything. This process can take a few months and even longer than that, depending on the assets involved. I f you’re working with a real estate agent, that could mean more fees on top of what you already have to pay (which is why we don’t work with middlemen and agents). 

When you do get a buyer on the house in probate, that offer must include a 10% deposit upfront. This offer is dependant on a court acceptance, though the seller is not committed to it just because the court accepts the offer. The representative of the estate will then make a submission to the court to confirm that they would like to sell the Missouri property to this buyer. If everyone agrees, a date is set in the probate court to finalize the sale. But it’s not done yet.

At this point, a Notice of Proposed Action is mailed to all of the heirs and people noted in the will, making sure they understand the terms of the proposed sale. All of these people have 15 days to review the notice and make any objections known. If there are none, the sale can proceed without any further court hearings. But if anyone does state an issue with the sale, then it will be heard in the court and a judge will decide to either allow the sale to move forward to ask the offer to be removed. 

All the while, the estate executor must continue to pay all taxes, insurance, and utilities on the Missouri house in probate. The estate will be responsible for anything that is accrued and not paid for. That can really add up the longer the estate sale goes. All the more reason to consider if paying commission fees to real estate agents is the way to go. You can avoid those fees and cut down on the extra costs by working with Offer House when selling your Missouri house in probate. Contact us today and we’ll get you through the probate process with more cash on hand and without the hassles of dealing with a property you no longer want. 


Kevin is a real estate investor dedicated to helping homeowners sell their properties quickly and without the stress and hassle of a traditional listing.

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