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How to Sell a Dead Relative's House Frequently Asked Questions

When a loved one passes away, there are many questions that must be answered and many decisions that must be made. One issue that may be on the mind of some of the decedent's relatives is what is going to happen to the house of the decedent. While some may look forward to selling the house for financial reasons, others may want to keep it for sentimental reasons. However, despite what the family may want to happen to the deceased relative's, the future of the house will depend on the decedent's wishes as stated in her (or his) will. If you have questions related to how to sell a dead relative's house, contact an experienced New York probate administration lawyer to discuss your concerns.

Is an executor allowed to sell my dead relative's house?

Whether an executor has the authority to sell the decedent's house depends on several different factors. In general, an executor does have the legal authority to sell estate assets. However, there are limitations on the executor's power and special concerns that the executor must consider when determining how to sell a dead relative's house.

What limitations are on an executor's power to sell a house?

While executors do have broad discretion to manage estate assets, including selling real estate, there are limitations. Moreover, the actions of the executor are overseen by the court. The executor most report all transactions to the court and in some cases get prior court approval.

  • The executor must sell a house if the will directs him to do so.
  • The executor may find it necessary to sell a house if funds are needed to pay estate bills.
  • The executor can only sell the estate's interest in a house.
  • The executor can only sell real estate that is part of the probate estate.
  • The executor can only sell estate real estate if it is in the best interest of the estate.
What happens to the money received from selling a probate house?

As a New York estate administration lawyer will explain, if the executor sells the house the proceeds will go to the estate. Depending on the reasons for selling the house, the executor may use the funds to pay estate debts, or may be required to turn over the funds to one or more of the beneficiaries. For example, if the terms of the will stated that the house was to ho to the decedent's two sisters, but the executor is sell the house and give the proceeds to the sisters, than that is what the executor must do. When managing estate assets, the executor must always do what the testator would have wanted based on the information that the testator put in her will, and what is in the best interests of the estate.

What should I do if I want to purchase a house that is part of an estate?

If the executor decides to sell a house that is part of the estate of a relative, the executor must make sure the transaction is in the best interest of the estate. In fact, it may be necessary for the executor to seek approval of the Surrogate's Court judge. If you are interested in purchasing a house that is part of a loved one's estate, first discuss the matter with a New York probate administration lawyer who has experienced with issues related to probate real estate. Because there may be complexities associated with buying property that is in probate, an option is to wait until probate ends and purchase it from the beneficiary who received it.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While there may be important reasons that relative may wish to sell a deceased relative's home as quickly as possible, that may not be possible. Typically a decedent's house can only be sold by the executor. The executor can only sell the house if it is in the best interest of the estate to do so, and the executor must take into account special issues related to how to sell a dead relative's house. The probate administration attorneys serving New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience working closely with beneficiaries, heirs, and executors on complex real estate transactions. We are here to help. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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