Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Selling Estates

Question: 

My mother’s estate includes two homes.  I am the Personal Representative.  Do interested parties (i.e. my other siblings) have a say in what they are sold for?

Answer:

The Personal Representative of the estate makes the ultimate call in how the estate property is managed and disposed of so long as he/she does it according to the Will (or if no Will, according to the laws of intestacy). If there is more than one Personal Representative, then decisions have to be made by joint decision. Of course it may be best to get the input of the other interested persons, particularly if they are the children, for example, of the deceased parent.  This is one reason (of many) why it is important to have a Will.  In the Will you can designate the person(s) who will act on behalf of the estate. Without a Will designating the person who will act as Personal Representative, the applicable state law gives priority to who can serve. It goes without saying that the Personal Representative has to act in the best interest of the estate.  For real estate, this means obtaining a fair appraisal, working with a competent realtor, maintaining the property until it is sold, etc. The PR gets the final word, but has a fiduciary duty to the estate. Comment:  Being a Personal Representative often means all the work, not much glory. It is important to pick the right person for the job.  If there is no one that can fit the bill, there are banks and other institutions that may step up. As always, if you have questions or would like to know more about estate planning please contact Steven E. Shane at: Steve Shane Head Shot for websshane@offitkurman.com | 301.575.0313. Steve provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn.