It’s not uncommon for the surviving parent to leave the family home to her children. At the parent’s death, questions often arise concerning how long the children have before they must sell it or change the deed. What if one sibling wants to live in the home for a while, before it is sold?
nj.com’s article on this subject asks, “Mom died and left us her home. What do we have to do next?” According to the article, the executor is tasked with gathering the assets, paying the debts and taxes (if any) and then distributing the assets, in accordance with the parent’s will.
If the home was in the parent’s name alone, it makes the property a probate asset that’s passed according to the will. In addition, if the will provides that under the residuary clause everything that’s left is to be distributed equally among the children, it will give the executor discretion to liquidate and then make the distributions.
There also may be a specific provision in the will covering the home.
There’s no specific timeline as to when the property has to be transferred. However, the executor is required to act prudently and in a reasonably timely manner.
In this situation, the home will most likely be sold. It is also the executor’s responsibility to pay the bills associated with the home, from the estate assets, until a buyer is found.
If one child wants to live there, and it’s agreeable to everyone, make sure that she doesn’t refuse to leave, when it comes time to sell.
Note that landlord-tenant laws protect a tenant and may create an issue. The executor may want to talk with an attorney to determine what steps are necessary to protect against the tenant refusing to leave.
Finally, it is very important to ensure that all of the State and County forms are completed and filed in the required timelines. This will ensure that the County is notified of the death, and then allow the heirs to continue to pay the property tax rate of the parent. This varies greatly in each state, so it is important to make sure you have those forms reviewed and filed properly.
Reference: nj.com (April 1, 2019) “Mom died and left us her home. What do we have to do next?”