In the event of the passing of a loved one and dealing with the distribution and sale of property assets, what has to be established first is the nature of the ownership of the property.
Determine if the property is held in joint tenants or tenants in common
There are two substantive issues to be considered. Was the property purchased as joint tenants or tenants in common?
If a property was purchased as joint tenants, it was purchased in equal shares. The right of survivorship applies to that property. If one of the owners have died, the property automatically without consideration of the will or intestacy goes to the surviving spouse or partner on the title.
Tenants in common, on the other hand, does not have to be in equal shares. It can be equal or it can be in different ratios. Quite often you find professional people not wanting to buy property in their own name, who do not want substantial assets in their own name. They quite often put 99% of the property into the wife's name and 1% into their own name. That presupposes the husband is the main breadwinner. That would obviously restrict the liability if the husband was sued. Therefore, he has less exposure from third parties.
Tenants in common is quite often used for people who had a commercial transaction existing from a personal relationship.
Once ownership has been established, the property is transferred out of the estate's name to the executor or beneficiary. The executor or beneficiary then has the legal right to deal with the property. The property is in their name and they can instruct the real estate agent accordingly.
Once it is known who the executor is and that he or she has the right to deal with the property, they can then instruct an agent to list the property for sale. The contract, which would be prepared by the solicitor or conveyancer, if they wish to sell, should be made subject to and conditional upon the grant of probate and allowing the property to be transferred into the name of the beneficiary or executor.
What do you do when the subject property to be sold is actually tenanted?
There's a lease on the property and the tenant is saying, "I don't want to move out". Yet you're saying, "It's going to be sold". What happens there? It depends on the nature of the tenancy.
If the tenancy has expired, then the executor can give 30 days' notice once the contract is exchanged and sell the property with vacant position and require the tenant to exit. If s/he doesn't, the executor can apply to the court for an order for the tenant to be removed. Whether the tenant likes it or not, if his or her lease has expired, he or she has less rights. If the lease is still in place, then obviously s/he is entitled to stay in the property until the lease does expire. You could sell the property with the existing tenant in situ.