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5 Things to Know About Probate Estate Land Sale Proceedings in Ohio

Probate estate land sales are one of the most common topics that our clients ask us about, so we thought it would be useful to mention some of the most vital aspects to consider when you’re dealing with the sale of real estate in a probate case.

(Note: the information that follows is specific to Ohio; if you live in another state, you will need to review the laws and guidelines for estate sales in your state. Please also note that the information presented here is no substitute for seeking direct legal counsel for the specifics of your case.)

If you’re new to the realm of land sales for an estate of someone who is deceased, read on 3 of the most important factors to keep in mind when it comes to estate land sales.

1) In Ohio, land sale proceedings for a decedent’s real estate are governed by Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2127.

These laws can get very complex and it is strongly recommended that you seek highly experienced legal counsel if you are going to be represented in these kinds of proceedings.

2) Estate land sales are civil litigation actions. Either the executor or administrator of the estate initiates the process by filing a complaint in probate court.

The complaint must name all the beneficiaries or heirs and all other lienholders for the real estate as defendants.

3) The defendants receive a period of 28 days to respond to an executor or administrator’s complaint to sell the real estate.

The 28 days start from the time that all of the defendants are served.

4) Land sale proceedings can be employed to sell the decedent’s real estate for different reasons.

Often, land sale proceedings occur when it is necessary to sell the real estate in order to pay the decedent’s outstanding debts. But real estate can be sold even when it is not necessary for the payment of debts.

However, when this happens, if one or more people hold in aggregate 25% or more of the interest in the real estate, the individual(s) can halt the sale if they file a written objection, according to the proceedings as outlined in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2127 described above.

5) The procedure depends both on whether the person who died (the decedent) had a will and upon how the real estate is titled.

Remember, a testate estate is one in which the decedent had a will, while an intestate estate is an estate without a will. (If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the probate estate terminology, we recommend you check out our Glossary of Key Terms!)

In a testate estate, the title to the real estate of the decedent vests immediately in the beneficiaries entitled to inherit the property according to the decedent’s will—but this occurs when the decedent’s Ohio real estate is titled in either:

a) the decedent’s name only, OR

b) as “tenants in common.”

In contrast, when the real estate is titled as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the procedure is significantly different, as outlined in ORC 2127.

Meanwhile, for an intestate estate, the title to the decedent’s real estate vests in the decedent’s heirs at law. (See what we mean about how these land sale proceedings can get very complex?)

Keep in mind that the information presented here is intended only as a basic overview to provide you with a general idea of how Ohio estate land sales work—but it can be an extremely tricky process and it is not something to undertake alone. If you would like hands-on guidance with the specifics of your own estate land sale case, we encourage you to reach out to us for a free phone consultation today.