Navigating Probate in Inherited Real Estate

When inheriting property, you may be collecting more than you think.

So you’ve inherited property — now what? Even if your inheritance isn’t in a legally binding trust or will, you may have to go through the process of clearing the title of any inherited property through probate.

Probate is the process of gathering all of a decedent’s assets and appropriately distributing them among inheritors and creditors.

In most cases, there are four steps in the probate process:

  1. File a court petition, and give notice to any other beneficiaries
  2. Alert all known creditors of the estate once a court date is set and take inventory of the property
  3. After the probate hearing, in which the distribution of assets has been determined, pay off all estate and funeral expenses as well as debts and taxes
  4. Inheritors gain legal ownership of the property or properties

When you’ve inherited property that ends up in probate, don’t assume that it will be a simple or short process. Here are some things to consider if you find yourself in a probate trial or before you choose to file for probate.

When inherited property ends up in probate, you might be in for a wait — and unforeseen expenses — before you can fully claim the property. The state in which you live, the value of the inheritance, and when you file will affect the final outcome.

Probate 101

The state in which probate takes place can have an enormous impact upon the length of time—from weeks to years—in which the estate will be settled, as well as the costs.

Potential probate expenses:

The Necessity of Appraisals

In probate, nonliquid assets must be appraised to determine their worth.

Real property, including:

  • Land
  • Homes
  • Commercial property
  • Crops
  • Machinery

Personal property, including:

  • Jewelry
  • Vehicles
  • Art
  • Livestock
  • Boats

Average cost of a home appraisal is between $300 to $400

  • National average: $326
  • High: $450
  • Low: $225

The Cost of Going to Court

Many states require a statutory attorney, who may charge by the hour, a flat fee, or a percentage of the gross estate value, which may not include court fees. These can run tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars with extremely large estates. Court fees can range from $215 to $3,000.

Inheriting real estate can be complicated, but navigating probate doesn’t have to be. Don’t let legal issues and extensive fees delay claiming your inheritance.


This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.