Inheriting a home or Ontario land takes time.
Be prepared to wait — probate can be slow. You may take possession months or even years after your inheritance is discovered.
Axess Law’s real estate lawyers (Ontario) close the sale if you have estate property you no longer want or can afford. We refinance mortgages for estate beneficiaries who inherit real property and transfer title to the property to new owners.
We offer brief legal advice and referrals if you are challenged by other beneficiaries or spouses over title to an inherited or matrimonial home.
Here are our tips on selling inherited property in Ontario.
Estate Trustee Duties
When you’ve been named estate trustee and don’t know what to do with real property in Wills in Ontario, ask an Axess Law probate lawyer near you. We give you practical tips on estate executor duties.
You’ll be expected to:
- gather and appraise assets
- apply for probate for real property like homes, land or vacation cottages
- pay outstanding property taxes
- arrange mortgage and utility payments
- distribute real estate to rightful beneficiaries or sell or lease it
- and much more.
If You’re Estate Trustee
Real property in Wills transfers to beneficiaries once probate is complete.
What is probate? Without a grant of probate to an estate trustee, your hands are legally tied. If you’ve been appointed estate executor or personal representative in an Ontario Will, call Axess Law first. Your first probate consultation is free.
We file applications in Ontario probate court for certificates of appointment of estate trustee, with or without a Will. That makes a transfer or sale legally valid.
Who Pays Mortgages?
You can’t decline an inheritance when a Will maker is gone. But you can sell or lease a home you can’t afford to maintain.
Estate trustees, whether that’s you or someone else, pay a home’s or lot’s mortgages, utilities and property taxes until the estate is distributed. Any upkeep required, from mowing the lawn to renewing mandatory fire insurance, comes from estate assets.
Many Will makers (testators) have mortgage or regular life insurance for discharge of mortgages. Like any insurance policy, claims can be denied. But that’s the exception and most banks or credit unions are fully covered for principal balances remaining on mortgages they loaned.
If they’re not or the mortgage life insurance has expired (as it can), the executor will have to use estate assets, such as cash or other life insurance policies, to make up the difference. Selling properties to pay mortgage balances and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) can work, as long as mortgage payments and property taxes are kept up.
Steps to Listing Estate Homes
Listing estate homes is not quite as easy as calling a real estate agent. You’ll have to:
Get a grant of probate.
Estate trustees require a legal certificate of appointment of estate trustee with a Will or without, to sell estate assets. Axess Law files your application in an Ontario probate court and ensures all the paperwork is in order. If you’re not the estate executor, ask to see a certified true copy of the probate certificate.
Getting probate takes about three to five months.
Decide to sell, lease or buy.
Check with other beneficiaries if you inherit only a share and not full title to real property. Ensure all are willing to sell, lease or buy out others before you take any other action. You could be challenged in court if a property was a matrimonial home, shared with a financially dependant common law partner or others are on the title.
Appraise properties’ fair market value.
A licensed realtor in Ontario can advise you on what the deceased’s property is worth in today’s housing market. The estate trustee may have this information already, as part of their court submission when they paid estate administration taxes.
Obtain property titles.
Inherited property is not legally yours until you have the title. Axess Law arranges transfers of title to properties when we close real estate transactions. Our real estate lawyers can secure and transfer titles to you as part of an estate’s distribution.
List properties for sale.
You can list real property for sale before probate is granted. You just can’t finalize a sale.
Buyers can become frustrated when a property they want to purchase is delayed by legal estate requirements. Be open with buyers if you are awaiting probate or, for any reason, are unable to conclude a sale in the usual 15 to 30 days.
Axess Law drafts escrow agreements that allow buyers to occupy a home before legal possession if estate distribution is delayed.
Register the property title transfer in Ontario.
Once sold, the property deed passes to the new owner. Axess Law closes real estate transactions by transferring the title to property to the buyer and removing the owners and beneficiaries’ names from legal documents.
Turn over the keys.
Axess Law arranges for the new owner to receive the keys to estate properties.
Pass the accounts.
Probate court and beneficiaries can ask you at any time to pass the accounts. Providing your financial records to the court demonstrates you listed and sold properties at fair market value.
Virtual Lawyers for Real Property Sales
Axess Law virtual real estate lawyers are licensed to close your transaction, quickly and efficiently. We have a real estate lawyer (Toronto, Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa) available 7 days a week, anywhere you are in Ontario.
Remote in with our virtual lawyers by online video conference from the comfort of your home or office. Our secure video call software lets you discuss your real estate transaction confidentially and e-sign documents online.
We email or courier legal documents to make your virtual real estate closing deadline on time. Book online or see our phone numbers below for quick, cheap real estate services. We keep your sale on time and our mortgage discharge fee low.
Book Appointments In Person
Meet in person at Axess Law locations in Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa. Call our 647-479-0118 lawyer line or dial toll free to 1-877-402-4277 to access lawyers anytime. You can book online — it only takes minutes of your time to set up appointments that suit your schedule — or talk to our live operators.
When you meet with our lawyers, bring two pieces of Ontario photo I.D. and your agreement of purchase and sale. We go through the offer of purchase to ensure crucial closing dates are met.
Messy contract? No problem. Our professional real estate lawyers negotiate with the buyer’s lawyer to extend timelines or discuss conditions that may be holding up your sale.