4.8/5 based on 35 reviews.

Sudden Wealth Blog

When Can a Personal Representative Sell Property?

For sale sign in front of house. When can a personal representative sell property?

As the personal representative of a deceased loved one’s estate, you may be tasked with selling their property. However, when can a personal representative sell property? There are legal requirements and steps that must be followed in order to do so. This guide will provide you with the information you need to know about when and how a personal representative can sell property in probate.

Understand the Role of the Personal Representative.

Before selling any property, it’s important to understand the role of the personal representative in the probate process. The personal representative is responsible for managing the estate and distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the deceased person’s will or state law. This includes selling property if necessary to pay off debts or distribute assets. However, the personal representative must follow specific legal requirements and obtain court approval before selling any property. It’s important to consult with an attorney to ensure all legal requirements are met.

Determine if the Property is Part of the Probate Estate.

The first step in determining if a personal representative can sell a property is to determine if the property is part of the probate estate. This means that the property is owned solely by the deceased person and was not jointly owned with another person or held in a trust. If the property is part of the probate estate, the personal representative can sell it, but must follow specific legal requirements and obtain court approval before doing so. It’s important to consult with an attorney to ensure all legal requirements are met.

When Can a Personal Representative Sell Personal Property (Household Contents, Cars, etc.)?

In Arizona, you first need to look at the Will to see if it specifies what happens to personal property. Sometimes the Will refers to a written list of instructions about personal property.

If no such written list exists, then the next step is to see if the heirs (if there is no will) or beneficiaries of the will want any of the personal property. Arizona statute 14-3906 provides that personal property should be distributed outright (and not sold). Be sure to read that statute, as it has important details about how this should be done.

When Can a Personal Representative Sell Real Property (houses, land, etc.)?

Again, be sure to read the Will (if there is one) because it could have instructions about real property. If there is no Will, then the Personal Representative can sell real property as soon as the court issues Letters of Personal Representative. (The Letters might have restrictions concerning the sale of real property.) Mismanaging real property is one of the common mistakes that personal representatives make.

Sometimes Court Approval Is Needed to Sell the Property.

Sometimes the court will restrict property so a court order is needed to sell or transfer it. That is often the case if the Personal Representative can’t qualify for a bond (or prefers not to get a bond). In this case, the personal rep will need to file a petition requesting authority to sell the property. There are statutes and procedures for how this gets done. Basically, a judicial approval of sale of real property is conducted similar to an auction. The notice of hearing is published and other possible purchasers are allowed to attend and bid higher than the proposed buyer.

Notify Heirs and Beneficiaries of the Sale.

Before selling any property as a personal representative, it’s important to notify all heirs and beneficiaries of the estate. This includes providing them with information about the property, the proposed sale, and any offers received. It’s important to keep all parties informed and involved in the process to avoid any potential disputes or legal issues. Additionally, the personal representative should keep detailed records of all communications and transactions related to the sale of the property.

Complete the Sale and Distribute Proceeds.

Once all legal requirements have been met and the property has been sold, the personal representative must distribute the proceeds according to the terms of the will or state law. This may involve paying off any outstanding debts or taxes owed by the estate, as well as distributing assets to heirs and beneficiaries. It’s important to keep accurate records of all transactions and distributions to ensure that the estate is properly settled and all parties receive their fair share.

Attention Personal Representatives:

Are you facing the complex and daunting task of selling property as part of your duties? Look no further! Our expert legal team is here to guide and support you every step of the way. Call us today at 602-443-4888. Take charge today and make the property sale process a seamless and rewarding experience!

Attention Estate Beneficiaries:

Concerned about the sale of property by a Personal Representative? Your voice matters, and we are here to help you protect your rights and interests. Give us a call at 602-443-4888. We’re here to help. Take charge today and safeguard your rightful inheritance.


Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.