25. How To Sell A House You Inherited In Natick MA – The Reality Behind Probate

We buy houses in Natick MA

Selling an inherited house in Natick, Massachusetts, represents a journey filled with legal intricacies, emotional challenges, and significant financial decisions. This extensive guide is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how to navigate the sale of an inherited property, particularly through the complexities of probate, and to offer practical advice for managing the process effectively.

Introduction to Inheriting Property

Inheriting property is a significant event, often accompanied by the loss of a loved one. The process involves not only dealing with grief but also facing the responsibility of managing the deceased’s estate. In Natick, as in other parts of Massachusetts, the legal framework surrounding this process is governed by probate law, which dictates how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed.

Understanding Probate in Massachusetts

Probate is a legal procedure that validates the deceased’s will and oversees the distribution of the estate under court supervision. The process ensures that any debts and taxes of the deceased are paid off before the remaining assets are passed on to the rightful heirs or beneficiaries.

Key Steps in the Probate Process:

  1. Filing a Petition: To begin probate, a petition must be filed with the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court, accompanied by the death certificate and the original will.
  2. Notifying Heirs and Creditors: Once the probate case is opened, heirs and creditors must be officially notified, allowing them the opportunity to make claims against the estate.
  3. Inventorying Assets: The executor or personal representative must compile a detailed inventory of the deceased’s assets, including real estate, to be submitted to the court.
  4. Paying Debts and Taxes: Before distribution, the estate is responsible for settling any outstanding debts and taxes.
  5. Distributing Assets: Once debts and taxes are cleared, the remaining assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries as outlined in the will.

The Real Estate Aspect: Selling an Inherited House

Selling an inherited house adds another layer of complexity to the probate process. It requires careful planning, market insight, and sometimes, significant emotional resilience.

1. Initial Assessment:

Upon inheriting a property in Natick, the first step is securing and assessing the property. This involves making sure the house is locked and insured, locating important documents like the deed and mortgage information, and assessing the physical condition of the property.

2. Going Through Probate:

For the property to be sold, it must go through probate, unless the deceased had placed the property in a trust. The probate court will grant the executor the authority to sell the property as part of the estate settlement process.

3. Clearing Debts:

The executor is responsible for ensuring that any debts, including mortgages and equity loans on the property, are satisfied before the sale can proceed.

4. Preparing the Property for Sale:

This step can involve cleaning, decluttering, making repairs, or even renovating, depending on the condition of the property and the local real estate market conditions. It’s also advisable to get a professional appraisal to understand the market value of the property in Natick’s competitive real estate environment.

5. Choosing a Selling Strategy:

The strategy for selling an inherited property can vary:

  • Listing with a Real Estate Agent: Offers expertise and market exposure but incurs commission fees.
  • Selling to a Cash Buyer: Ideal for a quick sale, especially if the property requires significant work.
  • For Sale by Owner (FSBO): Maximizes profit by eliminating agent fees, but demands more time and effort from the seller.

6. Understanding Tax Implications:

The sale of an inherited property may result in capital gains tax on the difference between the sale price and the property’s fair market value at the time of inheritance. Massachusetts law may offer some tax relief under certain conditions, but it’s crucial to consult with a tax advisor for detailed advice.

Navigating Emotional Challenges

Selling a family home is laden with emotional significance. The process can unearth deep-seated memories and feelings, not to mention potential conflicts among heirs. It’s essential to approach these challenges with empathy, open communication, and, when necessary, professional guidance from therapists or mediators to navigate familial dynamics sensitively.

Leveraging Professional Help

Throughout the process, leveraging professional help can be invaluable. Real estate agents, probate attorneys, tax advisors, and estate planners can offer crucial guidance and support, ensuring that legal requirements are met, the property is presented at its best, and financial implications are carefully managed.


Selling an inherited house in Natick MA, involves a complex blend of legal, financial, and emotional considerations. By understanding the probate process, preparing the property thoughtfully for sale, choosing the right selling strategy, and navigating the emotional aspects with care, you can manage this challenging journey more smoothly. With the right preparation and support, you can honor your loved one’s legacy while making informed decisions that benefit all parties involved.