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How to sell real estate as the executor of a New York estate

| Dec 29, 2020 | estate administration & probate |

Real estate holdings can be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, but they can also cause a lot of complications during estate administration.

Siblings might fight over who gets to stay in the house or might suddenly realize that they can’t qualify to refinance and keep the property. Children or recently widowed spouses may not want to live in the house where a loved one died. There may be more beneficiaries than there are physical assets to distribute.

Any of these scenarios might lead a homeowner to order their executor to sell their home during the estate administration process. If you are an executor tasked with the sale of a home, there are certain steps that you will need to take in order to protect yourself. 

Make sure that the sale complies with New York probate rules

There is a process that typically governs the sale of real estate for probate purposes. The first step usually involves having the property appraised to confirm its fair market value. If the estate is still in probate, the executor will need to petition the courts in order to list it for sale.

Provided that the executor receives permission, they can then list the property for sale. There is a special bidding process involved with the estate sale of real estate in New York. Once the executor accepts an offer, they have to go back to court to confirm it. The judge will typically open the floor to others who want to make a bid against the property. This process gives family members a chance to make an honest purchase offer if an executor tries to lock them out.

Make sure you handle the proceeds from the sale appropriately

Your obligations don’t end when you have signatures on the sale paperwork for the property. You will still need to distribute the assets from the sale to the beneficiaries of the estate. Before you do that, you must make sure to pay off all debts or possibly take on responsibility for those debts yourself.

Given how complicated the processes and the risk to you personally as executor, having help with both the listing and sale of the property, as well as the distribution of the proceeds from the sale, can go a long way toward simplifying this transaction for you.