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What to do When You Inherit Property in California

Inheriting property in California
You just inherited property in California, but what do you do with it?

Not to be too morbid, but you know what they say;

Nothing is certain except death and taxes.

When a California resident passes away, their property gets distributed according to the Intestate Succession Laws, which can be found in Division 6 of the California Probate Code.

These inheritance laws provide that the decedent's immediate relatives or other heirs inherit the decedent's property.

The inheritance process can cause significant emotional turmoil. It involves a lot of emotionally draining tasks such as:

  • Going through family heirlooms.

  • Reviewing family photos.

  • Cleaning out the property for the next steps.

In this article, we'll discuss what to expect if you inherit a property in California, and what options you have moving forward.

The will

If the decedent leaves a will, the process will be more straightforward. A will states who the beneficiaries are and what each is entitled too via the inheritance process.

If there is no will, however, the process becomes a little more complicated. In this scenario, the decedent's property has to be equally distributed between their immediate relatives.

If, for instance, the decedent had no spouse and you are one of four total siblings, their property will be equally shared between you and your siblings.

Everyone will get one-fourth of the property. In this case, you need to reach an agreement about what you should do with the property.

Sometimes it can be hard to get everyone involved in the process to agree on what to do.

If you are the only immediate relative, then you become the primary beneficiary, and you can make a decision that best suits you and the property.

What You Can Do Next

After the inheritance process is complete, the time comes to make the tough decision of what you should do next.

Here are some ideas on what to do when you inherit a property in California.

Live in the Property After You've Inherited it

It's not uncommon for the property to have sentimental value to the decedent's relatives.

  • It could be the place where you learned how to walk.

  • Maybe you enjoyed cooking Sunday family dinners.

  • Or it could be your home away from home after you moved out years ago.

All of these may tie many heartfelt memories to the property. As such, you may want to keep it in the family for as long as you can.

Putting a price tag on such memories is difficult for many of us.

You can make it a family home, where you live and continue creating new memories.

Rent out the property You've Inherited

Sometimes, it may be too difficult to continue living in the property, but you're not quite ready to let go of it yet. If you'd like to maintain ownership of the property, you can rent it out to someone who will appreciate and care for it.

Renting the property will require you to ensure it is in excellent condition for the new tenants.

It is also a great way to open up an additional stream of income.

Sell The Property After You've Inherited it

In California, the executor of the will is responsible for ensuring that the property is safe and in good condition during the legal process.

When you have finally inherited the property, then you will need to make sure:

  • You cover all your tax obligations.

  • Settle outstanding mortgage payments or debts accrued by the decedent.

  • Prepare the property for the next steps, be it renting or selling.

It is important to note that you will have to settle other outstanding debts too. For example, if there are any liens attached to the property.

What Should You Do?

Based on the decision that you, or you and the other beneficiaries, have made, it is critical you make the best choice for your situation.

At Contenza Properties, we might be a little biased. However, if you are a beneficiary of an inherited property in California and have no interest in keeping it, we recommend selling it directly to a professional home buyer like us.

When you sell directly to a professional home buyer, you don't have to worry about the headaches that come with inheriting property, especially if you live out of state, which will make the process much harder to deal with.

Here at Contenza, we do not require homeowners to do any:

  • Repairs

  • Cleaning

  • Or staging

We buy houses as-is, and we can close quickly, so you don't have to wait months to get an offer and close with a buyer off the MLS.

If you opt to sell your property directly to Contenza, submit your information below using our simple form.

We'll get back to you to discuss your property as soon as we can.

Disclaimer: We are not real estate attorneys, and this article is meant to be for informational purposes only. If you need to, we encourage you to seek legal advice from a licensed California attorney specializing in inheritance law.


About The Author

Jordan Reid - Founder of Contenza Properties

Jordan Reid founded Contenza Properties in April of 2018 to help homeowners solve their real estate problems quickly.

Since then, Jordan has helped multiple homeowners facing difficult situations such as divorce, property liens, and unwanted property inheritance.

Jordan believes in putting people first, and numbers second, which helps him reach the best possible solutions for the homeowners he works with.

Currently, Jordan and his team at Contenza Properties offer their professional home buying services in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Knoxville, Tennessee.


Grant W
Grant W
Sep 09, 2021

Great read, thanks for writing this

Jordan Reid
Jordan Reid
Sep 09, 2021
Replying to

You're welcome! :) I'm glad you got a lot out of it!

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