Selling your deceased parents’ home is no easy task. You are in the grieving process and have so much on your plate all at one time. You and your siblings are now left with a home to maintain and sell. When it comes to selling a deceased parents’ home there are lots of avenues to navigate and complications can arise at any moment. Unfortunately, differences in opinions between siblings can create friction and destroy family relationships during the process.
There are key points that can help you and your family move forward without adding more stress to the process. We will be covering legal rights, conflicts that come up with family members, whether you should make improvements or sell the home as-is and how to move on.
After your parent passes away, there is a lot to deal with and a lot to do if they own a property. If your loved one passed away without a will, that means they have passed away intestate. Each state varies on what happens next and how they determine asset distribution.
Assets include real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, life insurance and any others that are under your parent’s name. In many cases the assets are divided equally among heirs. Heirs can include children, surviving spouse, siblings, aunts, uncles, parents, etc. If there are no heirs, oftentimes assets will be distributed to the state.
But what happens in the case where there is a will? What do the heirs need to do about real estate? Probate is an option and sometimes required in some states.
A probate begins when an executor (an executor is named in a will), presents the will to a probate court in which the decedent lived or owned property. Once the court confirms the executor, that executor becomes a legal representative of the decedent’s estate.
There are five basic steps to probate:
- File a petition and give notice to any heirs and/or beneficiaries
- Inventory the estate
- Notify creditors of the estate
- Pay all debts and taxes from the estate’s account
- Legal title is transferred following the will or under the laws of intestate
Seeking out legal guidance in the beginning can alleviate the lengthy process and stress.
Conflicts with the Family
During the process of probate or any other related matters to a deceased homeowner’s property can cause a lot of friction within the family. Afterall, everyone is grieving and may not agree on terms of the probate. Legal guidance can offer considerable help. Someone who understands the process and is not emotionally attached can lift a lot of burden from the family’s shoulders. In the end this will save you a lot of stress and complications.
After you have sought out legal assistance, heirs should discuss options and come to an agreement. A variety of scenarios can arise:
- What if one of us wants to sell the property and someone else wants to keep it?
- What if one of us wants to make improvements to sell and someone else just wants to sell as-is?
- How do you make the plan fair in which each person contributes time and efforts?
If you pre-determine scenarios, you can pre-determine solutions. If you have thought this out in advance, you can save yourself and your siblings a lot of headaches.
Sell As-Is or Make Improvements to the House?
Discuss with your siblings early on as to whether the house should be sold as-is or if you should make repairs prior to selling. Do all the heirs have time to make home improvements? Will one heir take the financial burden on or will it be equally distributed?
If you are going to move forward with improvements, you should discuss:
- What improvements should be made
- The budget for the improvements
- Who will manage the budget and projects?
- What will they receive for handling the improvements process?
However, the heirs may decide to sell the property in as-is condition. When heirs are involved in this situation, it can be more complicated than when a homeowner is making these decisions before selling. It is essential that everyone comes to an agreement in this scenario.
Prepare the Property for Sale
When the heirs have come to an agreement to sell, it can be a sense of relief. The decision is made and now it is time to hire a professional real estate agent to assist in the sale. Hiring a real estate agent who has experience with inherited homes is your best bet. Hiring them upfront is also a great idea as you will be surprised how they can help you navigate the process.
A real estate agent who is experienced in selling probated homes can add a lot of value to the sale. They can help you and your siblings evaluate as to whether you should make any improvements or if you should sell the home as-is. The agent can provide you with a market analysis and help you determine the right outcome for you and your siblings.
Preparing to Move On
It’s very difficult to say goodbye to someone you love. This, hopefully, will create a common ground between all the heirs involved. Remember, your loved one who passed away worked hard for their property and the last thing they would ever want is those who they left behind to argue and hurt one another.
In the end, they intended for the property they left behind to benefit you. They included you in their will for a reason and they wanted you to receive items that meant a lot to them. Remember the good memories and create that as a common ground with your siblings.
As you can see having a will in place can prevent a lot of turmoil after you pass away, especially if you own real estate. A will is a document you can leave behind for your loved ones as a road map, so they are not left scrambling. It is important to designate how you will leave your belongings behind for your loved ones.
There are a multitude of experienced estate attorneys who can help. You can let your wishes be known and make plans. This will make the process of settling your estate much easier for your heirs or beneficiaries helping them keep relationships on solid ground and tend to the things that matter: remembering those who have passed in a good light and cherishing the memories with all those who are left behind.