The executor is in charge of managing the estate and assets. If the children have inherited the house, they have to figure out what they want to do with the house.
When kids inherit the family home, there are always a lot of questions, unless the family had conversations ahead of time about the family home and what will happen to it when the owner dies. If this hasn’t happened, which is usually the case, it’s time for the executor (also known as the Personal Representative in Maryland) to get started. Ideally, the executor and the heirs all work well together.
nj.com’s article on this subject asks, “Mom died and left us her home. What do we have to do next?” According to the article, the executor is tasked with gathering the assets, paying the debts and taxes (if any), and then distributing the assets, in accordance with the parent’s will.
If the home was in the parent’s name alone, it makes the property a probate asset that’s passed according to the will. In addition, if the will provides that under the residuary clause everything that’s left is to be distributed equally among the children, it will give the executor discretion to liquidate and then make the distributions.
There also may be a specific provision in the will covering the home.
There’s no specific timeline as to when the property has to be transferred. However, the executor is required to act prudently and in a reasonably timely manner.
In this situation, the home will most likely be sold. It is also the executor’s responsibility to pay the bills associated with the home until a buyer is found.
If one child wants to live there, and it’s agreeable to everyone, make sure that she doesn’t refuse to leave when it comes time to sell.
Note that landlord-tenant laws protect a tenant and may create an issue in this situation. The executor may want to talk with an attorney to determine what steps are necessary to protect against the tenant refusing to leave.
If a family member is staying in the house, they need to be mindful that the house is an asset of the estate. It is the responsibility of the executor to ensure that the home is maintained properly. If the home is to be put on the market, the family member needs to take care of the home. Sometimes this can spark controversy with siblings. A family meeting with the executor, possibly with the estate planning attorney present, might be useful to clarify the responsibilities and set a timeline.
Reference: nj.com (April 1, 2019) “Mom died and left us her home. What do we have to do next?”
Holden & Campbell, LLC – Annapolis Estate Planning Attorneys
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