Estates and real estate — what you should know

Nov 5, 2020

When someone dies and their house, condo or agricultural property needs to be sold, the executor might engage a realtor. Executors and their realtors need to be aware of complicating factors regarding the sale of real estate held by an estate.

Obtaining probate

If the executor (or estate trustee in Ontario) is planning to sell real estate held in the estate and the deceased was the sole owner, probate will be required to transfer the property. When listing the property for sale before probate is granted, both the listing and any offers to purchase are to be made ‘subject to obtaining probate.’

Check with Land Titles

It may be prudent to check with Land Titles to confirm the registered owner, as the transfer of title from jointly owned to solely owned might have been overlooked upon the death of the first spouse or common-law partner. A death certificate for the first spouse/partner would have to be located, and if not available, requested from Vital Statistics.

When joint isn’t joint

Where an asset is registered jointly as tenants-in-common and one of the owners dies, their share of the title will not pass to the joint owner as it would with right of survivorship. It will form a part of the deceased’s estate. Probate will be required to transfer the property.

Minor, dependent and disabled beneficiaries

When there are minor, dependent or disabled residual beneficiaries, there might be additional requirements for the proper transfer of the property. It is best for the executor to check with a professional such as our team.

Market vs. appraised value

When reviewing probate applications, the courts in some provinces are becoming stricter in their desire to see values for real estate determined by appraisal rather than a traditional market valuation. In certain markets, such as Ontario and British Columbia, it is becoming the norm.


All residual beneficiaries are required to approve the sale price of real estate in Saskatchewan. The listing should indicate that additional time might be required to accept offers to purchase. If there are challenging family dynamics and beneficiaries are unable to agree, there could be delays. One option is for executors to obtain the beneficiaries’ written approval for a pre-determined value in advance; e.g., the sale is approved if the offer to purchase exceeds $500,000.

For more information, contact:
Danny Zich, Estate & Trust Specialist | 250.713.0172 |

Recent Posts

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: November 21st – November 25th

Market developments Equities: The S&P 500 ended the shortened holiday week up 1.5% and closed above 4000 for the first time since September, while the Nasdaq still sits below the key 12,000 level. Markets will focus on consumer spending as Black Friday kicked off...

NEI Monthly Market Insights: October 2022

Is bad news good news? October saw most global financial assets rebound, following weak performance in the prior two months. The market responded positively to soft economic data such as downward revisions to global growth and weakening manufacturing PMIs, as a sign...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: November 14th – November 18th

Market developments Equities: The lower-than-expected PPI data drove the S&P 500 above 4000, before James Bullard’s comments pushed rates higher and the U.S market lower. The S&P 500 ended the week down less than 1% and didn’t have more than 1% +/- move any...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: October 31st – November 4th

Market developments Equities: The U.S. market broke with its positive trend after an FOMC message that was more hawkish than expected. In addition, the latest labour data confirmed that the U.S. job market continues to be strong. Consequently, the market expects the...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: October 24th – October 28th

Market developments Equities: The U.S market resumed its trend from last Friday, climbing over 2.5% in the first two trading days as 10yr yields continued to retreat from the highs and back towards 4.0%. Earnings released midweek from Microsoft, Alphabet and Meta...

Aviso Weekly Market Pulse: October 10th – October 14th

Market developments Equities: The stock market had another negative week, erasing last week's gains. On Thursday, the market briefly rallied due to technical factors, but this was not enough to overcome the inflationary pressures pushing the Fed to continue its...