Q: I signed a contract to sell inherited land once probate was done and land put in my name, would it go to an estate acct?
My father passed away March 31 2021. After he passed away, my neighbor asked if I wanted to sell 5 acres of our 40 acres we have to him. I said yes but made it clear to him I would have to wait until the land was switched to my name. (Side note- my neighbor and the lawyer who handled the probate and also the selling of the 5 acres are related. Not close relation but close enough to have the same last name) My neighbor had a contract written and ready for me to sign within a week. I signed it but we had to wait for probate to get through, which just happened last week. The land is not registered in my name yet but the lawyer called and said the money for the land I sold my neighbor was ready the day after probate court. I go to pick up the check and I'm told I have to open an estate account to put the money in. I already paid off all my father's debt with the money he had left in his bank account. Plus, the land was supposed to be in my name before it was sold. Is this legal or normal?
Such a sale can go one of two ways. First, the heir you can wait until the property is transferred to the heir and then sell it, in which case the sale proceeds are made payable to the heir.
Or, the property can be sold by the estate while still in the estate, in which case the sale proceeds are payable to the estate and, yes, there needs to be an estate account to receive them. The executor opens the estate account, deposits the check, and then distributes the proceeds to the heirs. You do need to circle back with the executor and the attorney about finishing up these steps.
It sounds like your attorney did not get the memo that YOU intended to sell the property AFTER you inherited. Either that or you did not read or understand the contract. Or it could be something else. The only way an attorney can advise you about your particular situation would be to review the probate file and the contract and escrow papers and other things. Do expect to pay a reasonable fee for this effort because it will take some time.
This is beyond any so-called "free consultation". A "free consultation" is normally only meant to determine whether the matter is one that the attorney can handle and whether the attorney is willing to accept it and to agree upon the terms of engagement.
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