Estate Administration: Ignoring Small Hassles Now Can Lead to Big Hassles Later
Are you an executor or personal representative of a friend or family member’s estate? If that estate includes real property, you should understand the complications that may arise if you do not distribute the property to the rightful intestate heirs or devisee’s under a will. The real estate and probate attorneys at The McCleskey Firm have seen simple real property conveyances become very complex transactions because the estate’s original executor did not distribute all of the real property to the heirs or beneficiaries.
To put it delicately, the death of a loved one often accelerates already-strained family dynamics. Consider the following situation: tension in the family causes the personal representative of the estate to hesitate in distributing property out of the estate (the proverbial “sweeping matters under the rug”). After things have calmed down, the personal representative or executor forgets about the property and leaves it in the estate of the deceased. Fast forward a decade or two, and the property has become valuable. The personal representative is either deceased or incapacitated and the court must appoint a new successor executor to clear up the title to convey to a buyer. An interested party must apply to the court to appoint a new executor. But now, what if no one can agree as to who should be the executor? Or worse, what if the passage of time has created new claims to the property (adverse possession, maybe)? Members of your family are stuck with a title problem that makes the transaction more complicated—and much more expensive—than it had to be.
These situations happen more often than one would think, and can be avoided if the personal representative clears up the title early on. If you need counsel in your duties as executor or personal representative, a probate attorney at McCleskey can give you sound advice now to help your family avoid troubling situations later.