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New York How To Sell a Brownstone in an Estate FAQs

The property that a person owned when he (or she) passed away is referred to as that person’s estate. An estate may include clothing, vehicles, home furnishings, and a bank account. It may also include real estate such as a brownstone. Ownership of estate property will pass to the individuals named in the decedent’s will.

Can I sell my deceased relative’s townhouse?

Unless you were named as the executor of your relative’s estate, under Illinois law you do not have the legal authority to sell your deceased’s relative’s townhouse that is part of her probate estate. Only the executor has the right to manage estate property, including selling real estate and other assets.

When can a townhouse in an estate be sold?

A townhouse that is part of a deceased’s probate estate can only be sold during probate. Probate is the legal process during which a decedent’s final affairs are taking care of by the executor and her property is distributed to the beneficiaries named in her will. The executor must have been officially appointed by the probate court as the executor before she has the legal authority to sell assets. As a New York estate administration lawyer will explain, in Chicago it typically takes at least a month for probate court to open an estate and appoint the executor once the decedent’s will has been filed and a petition submitted to the probate court to open the estate.

What if I want the executor to sell a townhouse in an estate, but other relatives do not?

The executor will only sell a townhouse that is in an estate if it is in the best interest of the estate to do. For example, if the estate needs money to pay estate debts and expenses, the executor may find it necessary to sell estate assets including real estate such as a townhouse. In addition, if the decedent left the townhouse to a beneficiary, then the townhouse will not be sold but will be transferred to the beneficiary at the end of probate. If the beneficiary or beneficiaries who are to receive the townhouse would prefer that the executor sell it, then the executor would have the authority to do so. However, those specific beneficiaries would receive the proceeds from the sale. If the terms of your loved one’s will state that you are to receive the townhouse and you want to sell it, contact an estate administration lawyer in Chicago to discuss how to sell a townhouse in an estate.

I co-own a townhouse that is part of an estate. Can I sell it?

Whether or not you have the legal right to sell a townhouse that you co-own that is part of an estate depends on how the property is titled. If you co-owned the townhouse with the decedent as joint tenant, the townhouse would not be a part of the decedent’s probate estate. When the decedent passed away her interest automatically transferred to you. You became the full owner of the townhouse and have the right to sell it.

On the other hand, if you owned the townhouse with the decedent as a tenant in common, the decedent’s interest in the townhouse would be part of her probate estate. While you could sell your interest in the townhouse, it would be up to the executor to decide about the estate’s interest in the townhouse. This type of situation can be complicated, and requires an experienced attorney to help determine how to sell a townhouse in an estate under such circumstances.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Selling a townhouse or any other type of real estate that is part of a probate estate can be tricky. The executor must take into consideration a number of factors including what the will states, what the beneficiaries want, how the property is titled, and what is in the best interest of the estate. The New York attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience working closely with beneficiaries, heirs, and executors to make sure that their interests are protected during the process of transferring ownership of homes and other real estate. 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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