Dealing With Your Family Home After A Death

Posted on: 18 November 2022

As the personal representative (or executor) after a loved one's death, the family home may take up a large share of your time when it's time to deal with probate and more. For some tips on getting through this time and dealing with the family home, read on.

Personal Representative Duties and the Family Home

In many cases, real estate owned by the deceased is the most valuable asset in the estate. Unless other arrangements are in place concerning the home, the home must be probated. That means when your probate lawyer asks you about the assets of the estate, the home should be mentioned. The value of the home is also important. Probate rules require that value be placed on all assets. That can mean you should arrange for a professional appraiser to inspect the home and give you a value. That information is then provided to the probate court.

If the home is probated, it may also be mentioned in the last will and testament. In some cases, the home is to be inherited by a named person or persons. If the home is not specifically mentioned in the will, it will be divided evenly between all beneficiaries. For example, if both parents have passed away and there are three adult children, the home is inherited by all three in equal measure. What happens to the home is up to all three siblings. Here are some ideas on dividing the home:

  • One sibling buys out the other two.
  • All three own the home together for the time being.
  • All three own the home and rent it out to a third party or one of the owners.
  • The home is sold, and any proceeds are divided.
  • One sibling obtains a mortgage and pays the other siblings for the home.

Probate and Special Deeds

In many cases, people make changes to their real estate deeds in preparation for their estate plans. A home's deed can be changed so that the home is automatically owned by a co-owner after the primary owner passes away. This may be known by various names, such as life estate or a right of survivorship deed.

When such a deed is present, the home is not probated because the deed supersedes the will. The home will go to the named person or persons listed on the deed. The deed, however, should be changed to remove the deceased owner and reflect the new owner of the home. No real estate or income taxes are owed using such a method of passing down real estate.

To find out more about dealing with the family home after a death, speak to an estate law firm in your area.