The term “probate property” refers to property that someone inherits upon another’s death. As soon as the administration of an estate is commenced and a Personal Representative is appointed, probate real estate information becomes available at the county courthouse – even if the PR has manifested no interest in selling it. If you’re interested in buying probate real estate, you can access information at the courthouse or subscribe to a probate listing service that collects and provides such data on subject properties to investors at a cost. If you then decide to bid on a property, you can submit an offer to the PR’s attorney, who will forward it to the PR for his consideration.
As with all real estate purchases, there is always a risk that the probate property is somehow encumbered or burdened, which will transfer to your shoulders once you complete your purchase. You should know that if there is an outstanding mortgage on the probate property, it may be paid off with the decedent’s life insurance or other assets, but this is NOT automatic. According to FL Statute 733.803, “the specific devisee of any encumbered property shall be entitled to have the encumbrance on devised property paid at the expense of the residue of the estate only when the Will shows that intent. A general direction in the Will to pay debts does not show that intent.” So the decedent’s beneficiary inherits the property with ALL liens, mortgages and other securities still attached in MOST circumstances. As with all real estate purchases, you should always, always perform a thorough title search prior to purchasing probate real estate, and you should obtain a comprehensive title insurance policy on it.