This article is the second in a series to assist when you have inherited a property. The first article advised the immediate actions at the commencement of possession. Relationships and family matters are the first priority. After wrapping your head around your newly acquired responsibilities, professional real estate and legal consultations will guide and direct you through this process.
Preserving relationships during this emotional period will aid in creating a team of trust. The consequences of inheritance may have been previously known and expected. There may be high emotion or extreme surprise of the situation. Your new duties may include being a mediator, counselor, parent, and for lack of a better label, “leader of the pack”. Until the legal disposition of the property is received, in hand, by an authority, your response will be, “I will confirm the outcome when it is received”.
A consultation with an attorney is highly advised. If the will states an executor/executrix, the responsibilities are in writing. Direction for probating the will and executing the duties will become a court order. Laws vary by state. Documentation will be required by the real estate agent, Title Company and/or attorney(s) for transfer of the property.
If the inherited property is in the name of a trust, consulting with an attorney is also, advised. A trust may have detailed instruction for maintaining, liquidating, who may reside or visit in the home, disposition of the house’s contents, etc. The trustee will be directed by the contents of the trust. If the home is to be sold, a copy of the trust will be required by the Realtor® for confirmation of the authorized signer for all contracts and property deed/title transfer. Laws vary by state and jurisdiction.
The legal outcome of the authorized individual may not be well received by all involved parties. The authorized decision maker may be taking steps not conducive to named beneficiaries. The foundation of all decisions is now based on the written instruments created by the deceased homeowner. Your response will now be, “I am carrying out instructions based on “named deceased” wishes”.
If the home owner died without a will, intestate, an attorney will need to be consulted. No action can be taken until the inheritance of this property has been legally established. Laws will vary by state and jurisdiction. Legal counsel is highly advised.
A well-established Realtor® or real estate broker can assist you through the process of the documentation required to sell the inherited home. Unless they are an attorney, they cannot offer legal advice.
A real estate agent can professionally recommend the steps involved for listing the inherited residence for sale. He or she can provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) for consideration of the list price. A CMA does not replace or substitute for an appraisal. The real estate agent can also counsel with sale projections based on any changes that can be made to the house.
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