Just because the will appointed you as the executor of an inherited home does not mean you can stick a for-sale sign in the yard and start taking offers.
You cannot legally sell the inherited home or any part of the estate until the probate court formally appoints you. Typically actions such as bringing in the mail or preventing pipes from freezing are OK, but NOT hiring contractors for repairs in the inherited home at this stage in the game.
If an executor for the inherited home hasn’t been listed in the will, the court will typically appoint the next of kin to handle the proceedings. But in some situations, when the parties involved can’t come to an agreement and end up in court, the probate court appoints a receivership, or a person in charge of the property sale overall.
“The Realtor is typically appointed the receiver,” Wages said. “Then they make all the decisions to sell the estate for the most money in the fastest amount of time, provided the court agrees with clear and compelling evidence of why that particular strategy is the best way to go.”
Prevention tactic: File your probate case with the court asap.
File a petition to open probate with the court as quickly as possible. You’ll need your attorney to help you gather up all of the required documentation, such as the death certificate, original will, and your state’s probate petition forms. Getting the petition in as quickly as possible is crucial because you could have to wait weeks or months to even get a court date, and meanwhile the costs associated with the house, including the mortgage, utilities, and lawn maintenance, continue to stack up.
If the paperwork has been filed correctly and everything goes according to plan, the court will sign an order deeming you the personal representative of the estate with a Letters of Administration (or Letters Testamentary if the estate doesn’t have a will.)
At that point you’ll be legally able to sign a listing agreement with an agent and get the ball rolling on selling the property.
Want more information on Probate and the Probate process?
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