Columbia, MD asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland

Q: If a house has black mold, can money from the estate be used to repair before selling?

There was no will and it was agreed that two of the siblings would receive this house since a much more expensive home was given to the other two siblings years before the deceased passed. They now want the money from the repairs. Do we have a case to not give it to them since they agreed to take from estate funds?

2 Lawyer Answers
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: It is not clear to me from your description exactly what the issue is, and you will need to discuss this with a Maryland lawyer. I assume what you are saying is that the estate consists of this older property, plus other cash assets. You initially ask if you can perform mold remediation before selling the house, which I presume will make it more marketable and worth more money; and then you state that there is an agreement among the heirs NOT to sell the house, but to distribute it to two of the heirs, but not to all of the heirs. This is confusing. Which is it? The PR has authority to manage all estate assets and to make a reasonable decision to perform repairs in order to increase the value of the estate-held real estate in order to bring more money into the estate upon it's sale. That much is clear. Without a will, and with no surviving spouse of the decedent, then all children of the decedent will equally share in the estate. ALL of the heirs to the estate are free to enter into a unanimous agreement (and ONLY a unanimous agreement) that changes the equal distribution of the estate assets, or which transfers all interest in the old house to just two of them. How that transfer is accounted for in the overall distribution of the other assets is of course part of that unanimous agreement. In the absence of a unanimous agreement, the PR would ordinarily sell the house, and add the proceeds to the rest of the estate assets, and then equally divide and distribute the assets to the heirs. In the end, if there is no agreement among all heirs, then the PR appointed by the court has he power to act, so long as the actions taken are reasonable and are for the benefit of the estate (e.g., the funds expended will make the property marketable and net more money than if sold "as is").

Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste agrees with this answer

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crownsville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: An attorney cannot realistically answer this question without seeing the estate paperwork.

Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste agrees with this answer

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