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Interviewing a Probate Real Estate Agent




Probate Listing Specialist Bridget Morrissey

Probate real estate is different in many ways from traditional real estate transactions. Make sure you ask pertinent questions that can help you understand the process. Specialized knowledge and years of experience are important to look for as you interview real estate agents.

What is your experience selling real property through probate?

Although there may be just one executor there may be siblings involved.  Has your agent ever had to deal with multiple personalities to get the sale approved?

How long have you been selling real estate?

There is no substitute for experience. Be sure to ask if the agent is new or seasoned.

Does a probate sale differ from a typical real estate transaction?

If your agent has done probate sales then they have experience with legal professionals and the sales process. Your agent should have a good working arrangement with probate attorneys, paralegals and administrative staff. Ask for references.

How are you different from other agents?

A confident and capable agent is going to be a better negotiator for you than a newcomer.  Confidence comes from experience, knowledge, good marketing and communication.  Having a capable agent is very important in helping you through a tough situation.

May I see your references?

References should be readily available.  Google the name of the agent you are talking to and learn about them.

Be sure to ask questions of your agent.  There is a lot of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction and you want to be reassured that your agent has your best interests at heart.

I have worked a number of home sales involving Probate Real Estate with some of the best Probate attorneys in the area. There are a few items that you need to pay particular attention to in order to get the maximum return on your inherited property in the shortest amount of time. 

You already are experiencing enough stress. Please take a few minutes to learn how to avoid more stress by not making these common mistakes in Probate Real Estate.

Click here for The top 10 most common mistakes in Probate Real Estate. 

According to the PROBATE COURT USER GUIDE, ADMINISTRATION OF DECEDENTS’ ESTATES, published by the OFFICE OF THE PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, all estates must file an Estate Tax Return in the Probate Court within six (6) months of death.

Forms for Probate Court matters are available online at . Click on “Forms.” Forms are also available at the Probate Courts.

The PROBATE COURT USER GUIDE includes steps that outline the major responsibilities of the fiduciary in settling a decedent's estate. The outline is not intended to be all-inclusive and cover every situation. Fiduciaries of some estates may have additional responsibilities, depending on individual circumstances.

Step 1: File the will and Petition/Administration or Probate of Will, PC-200, within 30 days of the decedent’s death.

Step 2: Take possession of the decedent’s property.

Step 3: If the decedent owned real estate, file Notice for Land Records/Appointment of Fiduciary, PC-251, within two months of appointment as fiduciary.

Step 4: File Inventory, PC-440, within two months of appointment as fiduciary.

Step 5: Obtain cash for estate administration as needed.  The fiduciary should anticipate the cash needs of the estate to pay for administration expenses, taxes, claims and bequests. He or she has the authority to convert into cash any personal property not specifically bequeathed but must obtain permission from the Probate Court to sell, mortgage or otherwise convey real estate, unless specifically authorized to do so under the terms of the will.

Step 6: Follow statutory procedures for the payment of claims against the estate, and file Return of Claims and List of Notified Creditors, PC-237, at the required time.

Step 7: File tax returns and pay applicable taxes.  Taxes payable as a result of death include the federal estate tax, which is reported to the federal government on federal Form 706, and the Connecticut estate and gift tax, which is reported to Connecticut on Form CT-706/709.

Step 8: File final financial report or account, usually within 12 months of the decedent’s death.

Step 9: Distribute assets to beneficiaries.

Step 10: File Affidavit of Closing of Estate, PC-213.

The PROBATE COURT USER GUIDE at also has a list of frequently asked questions, one of which asks if an attorney is required.  While not required, it is often advisable for the executor or administrator to consider seeking professional assistance in connection with settling an estate, particularly when preparing tax returns, dealing with substantial or unusual assets or in the event of a dispute among the parties.

The above information is not legal advice and is solely provided for educational purposes.  It is a summary of information provided by the OFFICE OF THE PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR, STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

For a complete description of Probate Procedures go to

Section 30.15 Sale of real property from decedent’s estate (a) An executor or administrator may file a petition seeking authority to sell real property by private sale. The executor or administrator shall accompany the petition with a copy of the contract of sale and, if not previously filed, an inventory or supplemental or substitute inventory that lists the property and includes a copy of the deed. (b) The executor or administrator shall present evidence regarding the fair market value of the property. The court may require the executor or administrator to submit a comparative market analysis, appraisal, municipal assessment or other information about the value of the property. (c) The court may require the executor or administrator seeking authority to sell the property to submit a return of claims. (d) Notice of hearing on the petition shall not be required to be made by publication unless the court determines that notification of the public is necessary to protect the interests of the estate. (e) The court may excuse notice of hearing on the petition if all parties waive notice. If 3 a beneficiary under a will or any current or presumptive remainder beneficiary of a trust established under the will is a charity or charitable interest, the court may excuse notice only if the Attorney General joins the other parties in waiving notice. (f) The court may approve the sale of the property if the court determines that the sale is in the best interests of the estate. (g) If a prospective purchaser other than the buyer identified in the petition indicates that the prospective purchaser is willing to pay a price that is higher than the amount specified in the contract of sale, the court may deny the petition and order a public sale or take other action as the court determines to be in the best interests of the estate. (C.G.S. sections 45a-164 through 168, 45a-317 (c), 45a-324 through 45