My Parents Didn’t Have a Will – Can I Still Sell Their House?

For Home Sellers

Selling a parent or family member’s home is never easy, especially after they’ve passed away. It’s a process that involves countless logistics, legal details, and moving pieces – and that’s without considering how emotional and consuming it can be. 

One of the more unique situations someone may find themselves in after their parents have died is dealing with their estate when there is no will. 

If you are in this type of situation, you may have wondered how you can legally sell your parents’ home despite not being named as the estate executor or an inheritor of the home. Thankfully, there is a relatively straightforward process that you can follow in order to do so. 

Selling a home on behalf of a parent who has died? I’ve put together an in-depth guide that covers everything you need to know about this unique process. Click here to read it

What’s Possible Without a Will?

Someone passing away without a will or forgetting to include their home in the will isn’t necessarily uncommon. Many older homeowners (and their families) simply assume that their children will inherit their property when they pass. However, what they don’t recognize is that there’s a lot of legal regulation involved – even in the case of passing an asset on to a family member. 

After someone dies, one of their children can’t simply begin the selling process or make decisions about the estate without proper clearance. This applies with or without a will. 

There’s more to selling your parents’ home than I can cover in just one blog post. Check out these other articles next for more helpful advice. 

Applying For Probate

If you’re looking for legal permission to sell your parents’ home after they’ve passed away, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is applying for probate. If you haven’t heard of this process before, that’s ok. 

In simple terms, probate is the process of naming someone as the legal executor of an estate. An executor is a person who has been granted legal permission to act on behalf of a person’s estate after they’ve died. As only they can make legal decisions regarding the deceased’s assets, it’s usually the executor who takes the reins during the sale of assets – such as a home. 

So, if you’re looking to sell your deceased parents’ home, you’ll need to first follow the probate process and become the executor. 

It’s important to note that in Ontario, only one person can be named the executor of an individual’s estate. So, if you’re working closely with siblings or other family members during the sale, everyone should be aware that there will only be one binding executor. 

How Long Does Probate Take?

One of the inherent challenges of the probate process is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Given all the legal elements involved, it can take several weeks or even months before the executorship is finalized. However, that doesn’t exactly mean that you can’t get the ball rolling on your parents’ home sale until probate is finished. 

While you may need to be formally named the executor before the sale can be finalized, you can start working towards the sale in other ways. On top of that, you may also be able to speed up probate if you can show the court that you’re looking to get the home sold on a specific timeline. 

Whether you’re selling on behalf of a parent or yourself, there’s a lot that goes into the process. Here are a few more blogs jam-packed with advice you may find helpful. 

Navigating the Sale With a Professional 

Before you approach the probate process, the best place to start when selling your parents’ home is to find the right real estate agent for the job. There’s a lot that goes into selling a home, and things get even more complicated when the owner or owners have passed away. Luckily, there are agents who have direct experience with these types of sales – like me. 

Throughout my career, I’ve helped countless individuals and families sell on behalf of someone who has died. I understand the various complications involved in this type of sale and how you can best navigate them. I’m here to answer any of the tough questions you may have and help you get through the steps of selling without being overwhelmed. 

Looking for guidance on selling your parents’ home? I can help! Call or text me at 647-239-7587 or send me an email at to get started.

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