Q: My mother passed and she left a Will. My sister and I are beneficiaries. Do we need to file large estate probate to sell
Query: My mother passed and she left a Will. My sister and I are beneficiaries. Do we need to file large estate probate to sell?
Yes. In the District of Columbia, title passes on death to the estate, so the easiest way to confer title is by opening a. ADM private estate. There is a cute alternative using a Petition to Quiet Title that most lawyers don’t know, but that will almost surely not be the cheapest choice for selling your mothers home.
A: With a Will, the named Pesonal Representative ("PR" or executor) must file a petition for administrative probate. Once the initial notice to interested persons, creditors and unkown heirs is publicized in two newspapers and mailed to those persons whose addresses are known, and the PR files a verification of compliance, then the process becomes unsupervised and informal, and the PR can complete the estate process largely in private with the heirs/legatees named in the will. Shortly after filing the petition and other required documents, the court will issue the administrative order appointing the person named in the Will as PR. At that point, the PR is free to list and sell the property in the name of the estate. The PR is also responsible for filing the decedent's personal tax returns for the year any such return remains due, as well as any estate tax return (for which a federal tax ID number will need to be obtained). Proceeds of sale, as well as funds from the decedent's financial or bank accounts, should all be deposited into one estate account, and any fees or expenses paid (reimbursemnt of funeral and burial expenses, payment of any creditors claims and debts of the decedent, professional fees owed to tax accountants and lawyers assisting in the estate process, newspaper publication costs and certified mail expenses, etc.) will be paid or reimbursed out of the estate account, and an accounting prepared to show how all the money has been and will be applied, prior to distribution to the heirs. While it is possible to do this on your own, many people retain an experienced estate lawyer to assist in managing the process and filling out the necessary forms and completing the accounting. Until the PR is named by the Court to act for the estate, no transaction can be legally performed or entered into concerning assets of the estate--in other words, any real estate listing agreement or sales contract for the property will not be worth the paper it is written on unless the person signing those documents is the duly appointed PR, under court ordered appointment. The fact the person is named PR in the Will is not enough if no estate is opened.
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