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The term "real estate" seldom reveals its true meaning to those who call a house their home. The family home often comprises more than simply the bulk of an estate; it contains the memories of a family's lifetime spent living there. If you are the personal representative (or executor) of the will for your widowed parent, you may be faced with some difficult decisions when it comes time to probate the will. Often, a will stipulates that the entire estate, including the family home, be equally divided between several siblings. This can present a puzzling situation, so read on to learn more about dividing a family home during probate.
The Probate Process
A brief overview of the probate process may help to demonstrate the time-line and the final disposition of any real estate. While the word "probate" itself may provoke some trepidation, it is actually a fairly simple process that takes a few months to complete.
1.The will is read and then filed with the local county probate court. A notification is published in local newspapers alerting potential creditors to the estate about the death and inviting interested parties to file a claim in court.
2. While the will makes its way through court, the personal representative has several important tasks to accomplish; some of it involving the family home and some pertaining to the estate at large. Some of the more important real estate-related tasks include:
Once Probate is Complete
The official notice from the probate court means that you can begin to distribute the property according to the deceased's wishes. For those who must divide the estate for two or more siblings, cash in checking, savings, and investment accounts may the easiest way to begin. Real estate, along with other personal property such as vehicles, jewelry, furniture, collectibles, art, and more can be more challenging. Some property may be sold and the proceeds distributed evenly, or the siblings can make choices about each item. As the executor, the final decision is up to you, but extreme tact and care should be employed when assigning property to avoid having to take the estate back to court.
Often, a real estate appraisal is required during probate, which should assist you in determining the final disposition of the family home. There are really only four methods of dividing the family home:
1. Put the home up for sale and evenly divide the proceeds.
2. One sibling buys the others out to own the home.
3. Other property is traded in lieu of the home. For example, if one sibling wants the home, they can trade their share of a vacation property or other inheritance for the home.
4. All siblings agree to jointly own the home and to share the expenses and upkeep. It can then be rented or used by one sibling, or used jointly.
Be sure to discuss this complicated issue with an estate attorney, like one from Donald B Linsky & Associate Pa.Share
14 October 2016