Can the Executor Sell a Home Inherited to Someone?

Nothing could be more exciting than inheriting someone’s house under their Will.  Often homes are not only the most expensive item in a person’s estate, but often we attach a lot of fond memories attached to a household. However, if you suddenly find a “for sale” sign on the lawn, if the executor of the estate allowed to sell the house when it has been designated to pass to you?  The answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances.

The biggest reason that an executor would sell a house designated for a particular person is that the estate owes debts that cannot be paid without selling the house.  If the debts of an estate exceed the actual assets of an estate, the executor may need to sell the home to settle the debts.  If, however, the home was co-owned by a surviving spouse who also lived in the home, then the executor will not be able to sell the home because it is the surviving spouse’s homestead.  The homestead exemption protects the house from sale, even if there are creditors.  This exemption does not protect second homes or vacation homes, which makes it so the executor may need to sell these secondary properties. After the sale, the inheritor may be entitled to the remainder of the sale not used for the debt.

If no necessity exists to sell the house because of creditors or other reasons, the executor cannot just sell the house for no reason.

If you have been left a house or other asset by a loved one and believe and executor is trampling on your rights, contact us today. We not only help people craft estate plans, but we also represent those that need any help in the process of carrying that estate plan out.

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