Can an Inherited House Be Sold by the Executor in Florida Without Knowledge or Consent?

By Andrine Redsteer

In Florida, one of the many duties of an executor includes paying the decedent's creditors with estate assets. Sometimes, an executor may sell real estate without the heirs' or beneficiaries' permission. However, the circumstances under which the executor may sell real estate without approval of a probate court are limited.

Probate Process

During the probate process, the executor is responsible for making sure all the decedent's debts are paid. Once an executor is granted authority to administer the estate, he is required to notify the decedent's creditors that the estate is being probated. The decedent's creditors then submit claims to the probate court; the executor must pay the claims after the court approves them. Under certain circumstances, an executor may sell real property, such as a house, if other assets are insufficient to pay creditors' claims.


In Florida, an executor is required to obtain a court order approving the sale of real estate if the decedent neglected to make a last will and testament; failure to make a will is called dying "intestate." Moreover, the probate court may require the executor to notify all heirs of the sale of real estate.

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Express Authority

If the decedent did make a will -- also known as dying "testate" -- an executor may not sell real estate without the court's permission unless the will expressly grants him the authority to do so. If the will does not grant this authority, the executor may be required to seek the court's approval -- and the beneficiaries' approval -- before he may sell any real estate, including real estate that is considered "homestead" property.

Homestead Property

In Florida, property that is designated as homestead property is exempt from probate and may not be sold to satisfy creditor's claims unless the decedent's will expressly grants the authority to do so. Homestead property is typically the decedent's primary residence. If a decedent's will gives an executor the authority to sell homestead property so the proceeds may be distributed among beneficiaries, the decedent may sell the property without a court order.

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What Are the Duties of an Executor of a Will in Florida?


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Florida Probate Court Laws of the Deceased

Generally, probate is the process of gathering a deceased person’s estate, paying his final debts and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. Florida’s circuit courts oversee probate cases in accordance with Florida’s probate laws, found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida statutes. These laws address who can inherit from a decedent, as well as how the inheritances are distributed.

Administrator Responsibilities for Estate Sales Without a Will

When a person dies without a will, the state probate court will appoint an individual to oversee the transfer of his property to any living heirs. This person is referred to as the administrator; it is his job to value all of the deceased person's assets and make sure all outstanding debts and taxes are paid before distributing any property.

Can the Executor of a Will Put Property in Probate?

When a person dies, his assets must be distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries or heirs. To accomplish this, most of these assets go through the probate process first. This process, often administered by the courts, varies according to each state’s laws. Typically, title to a deceased person’s property cannot be changed without first going through the probate steps.

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