The term “estate” is often used to describe an individual’s assets and possessions, including their property and money, at the time of their demise. An estate sale usually refers to an attempt to dispose of the decedent’s property for the maximum amount and as fast as possible. The estate sale customarily happens in the home of the person that has passed away. A majority of the home’s contents, and often the house itself, are up “for sale.”
The sale proceeds, including proceeds from the home sale, will typically be divided amongst the heirs. If the deceased had a last will and testament detailing how they want the proceeds to be divided, the probate court would honor the decedent’s wishes.
Should I Contact an Estate Sale Lawyer?
It is vital to discuss your questions and concerns with a qualified real estate lawyer who understands the estate sale process and the legal mandates.
Various factors are at play when an estate sale is being considered, such as:
- Does the decedent have a last will and testament?
- Did the person pass away interstate?
- Who are the heirs to the deceased’s estate?
- Should an estate sale company be engaged?
- How are an estate sale’s proceeds distributed?
- Are there any other expenses involved in the estate sale process?
- Are there any applicable taxes on the proceeds of the sale?
If you plan to draft a will and require guidance on whether or not to include an estate sale clause, an estate planning lawyer can help. Or, if you are an heir to property and decide to conduct an estate sale, consulting a real estate attorney will ease the complicated process during an already challenging time. Estate sale lawyers will be able to offer you guidance in making appropriate decisions for your specific situation.
Selling the Property on Behalf of the Deceased Owner
If you are left in charge of a property on the owner’s death, and the decedent did not set up a living trust, you will need to go through probate to sell it. Probate refers to a legal process that appoints a representative to administer the estate and divide the assets among the intended beneficiaries.
In this process, a seasoned probate lawyer is a necessary player. After you have inherited the property rights, your lawyer can help you handle any taxes, debts, or issues with the property. If a trustee is selling a part of a trust, there may be specific language in the trust warranting certain terms.
A lawyer can review various documents to ensure that you are compliant with all the terms of the trust and not breaching your fiduciary duty by selling the property. A real estate attorney can guide you through the selling process to ensure that you are within your legal rights.
Further, they will defend and protect you if you are one of the multiple trustees to ensure that you receive the money you are entitled to. If you are unfamiliar with the property and its condition, a real estate lawyer can work with your real estate agent to negotiate any significant issues that may arise, such as water damage or structural issues.
You are Going Through a Separation or Divorce
If you co-own a property with someone and you want to sell, you will need a lawyer, particularly if the other co-owner does not want to sell the home. A real estate lawyer will represent you and your rights when facing an uncooperative co-owner in difficult negotiations.
Various factors must be considered when you sell a property in a divorce. A real estate lawyer will assist you in working out the details. Certain aspects that can legally impact your right to the property are as follows:
- State law on property division
- If you were married when you bought the house
- Any pre-marital agreements
- The name on the property deed and mortgage
- Your financial situation
- The terms of your divorce agreement
If both the parties have equal rights on the home, you and your spouse will have to decide how you want to divide the property. Some options for handling your home during a split are as follows:
- Buy out your spouse for full ownership, or vice versa
- Decide on who will stay in the property until you are ready to sell
- Work with each other to rent out the property and be co-landlords
- Sell the home and divide the proceeds
Arriving at a fair decision can be challenging. However, a lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected, whether you decide to sell and divide the proceeds, or one partner can keep the home.
Legal Help by Client-Focused Real Estate Attorneys in Maryland
When a transaction is riddled with obstacles, it is best to work with an expert legal professional who can put out fires and prevent the sale from crumbling. Only a handful of law firms focus on the complex matters pertaining to real estate, land use, and construction. The skilled lawyers at Evans Law handle all three.
Annapolis lawyer Matthew S. Evans, III, and his qualified legal team possess several years of professional experience, on-going education, and active leadership in the community. With our client-focused approach, we serve individuals and enterprises with a wide array of legal services. For a no-obligation consultation, call today at (410) 626-6009.