You could easily feel overwhelmed. Taking charge of an estate often comes with a plethora of emotions and decisions. So, what exactly happens when you need to sell real property after someone dies?
In some cases, it might not even be you that will inherit real property. Nonetheless, your duties include ensuring the estate’s beneficiaries receive their rightful share. This means you need to sell the real property and divide up the proceeds.
Who Can Sell Real Property After Someone Dies?
First things first. Did the decedent leave behind a will? Were you named as the executor or executrix? If you weren’t, it’s not your right to contract with a realtor. In the meantime, some people pass away without ever executing an estate plan. What happens then?
If someone dies intestate, meaning without leaving behind a will, an attorney can assist them in obtaining Letters of Administration. In Union County, this means a trip to the Surrogate’s Office in Elizabeth. There are laws concerning who qualifies for appointment as an Administrator. And, no, it’s not a matter of who gets there first.
Here’s a common situation that may sound familiar to you. Your parents owned your childhood home for decades. It is mortgage free when they both pass away. In a certain sense, you are reluctant to sell it. You have so many memories.
You are the oldest, and your mom and dad named you as the executor. Your father died after your mother, and his Last Will and Testament lists you and your siblings as equal beneficiaries. All things considered, everyone relies on you to equitably distribute your parent’s assets. This includes whatever money comes from the sale of the house.
Meanwhile, you should know that you’ll have to do a little extra legwork when you need to sell real property after someone dies. For example, title insurance proves critical to real estate transactions. That said, the title insurance company requires extra documentation when it comes to the liquidation of estates.
Title Insurance for Liquidation of Estates
An experienced real estate attorney counsels buyers on the overall importance of purchasing title insurance. Among other things, title insurance offers protection against claims from missing heirs. No doubt you can, therefore, imagine why you need to provide information concerning your right to sell the property after someone dies.
Once the buyer selects a title insurance company, your real estate lawyer will most likely receive an Estate Questionnaire from them. In most cases, you will need to supply answers to the following:
- Date and place of death of decedent
- Where the Will was probated or Letters of Administration granted
- Age of decedent at time of death
- Decedent’s occupation at time of death
- Gross value of the entire estate
- Approximate net value of the entire estate
- Approximate cash and liquid securities now owned by the estate
- Estate’s unpaid debts
- Status of payment for funeral expenses and those related to last illness
- Information regarding state and federal taxes
- Documentation concerning claims or actions by creditors
Some title agencies will permit your attorney to submit certified copies of the documents authorizing you to make the sale on behalf of the estate. However, many will contact the Surrogate’s office directly.
Contact the Law Offices of Lawrence M. Centanni if you need to sell real property after someone dies. We can also assist you if you are purchasing real estate from an estate. We look forward to helping you!