It’s that time of the year! A time of love, laughter, togetherness, and a bit of holiday cheer! In this week’s blog, we join a family that has recently experienced the loss of their beloved grandmother. She died intestate from natural causes earlier this year. After probate, the grandmother’s estate was passed to her thirteen children. The oldest child, Larry, approaches a Realtor to sell their treasured childhood home before the end of the year.
This holiday season will be the first time the entire family gathers together in grandma’s old home. The scent of fresh balsam and nutmeg fills the living room, and crackles from the fireplace echo in the night air. As the family congregates around the Christmas tree, a reading of the title commitment reveals that certain family members have been up to no good! Uncle John was evicted earlier this year and now has a judgment against him. Uncle Mark committed a few “minor” indiscretions, also had a judgment against him, and landed himself in jail for a few weeks. The city cited Aunt Michelle for a code violation for obstructing city streets and sidewalks. Uncle Jay and Aunt May passed away a few weeks ago, and their four children chime in to make a claim. Now that there are fifteen sellers, a chorus of chaos erupts as each family member disputes their share.
To sell their grandmother’s home, all sellers must agree to provide the necessary information for closing and must sign the closing documents to close. It’s a lot easier said than done. As the family leaves their grandmother’s house to return to their home state, it is essential to coordinate the signings well in advance of closing… including for the incarcerated Uncle Mark. The judgments against Uncle John and Uncle Mark, and the code enforcement lien against Aunt Michelle, will all need to be paid with proceeds from the closing. All is well until one family member feels the distributions are unfair and has to take a smaller share due to certain members’ malfeasance. However, if the distributions are addressed upfront, and all sellers can agree, it will make the closing much smoother for all. Finally, the estates of Uncle Jay and Aunt May will need to go through probate, and the four children will be named as heirs before everyone can proceed to close.
As the holidays wrap up and end, we wish you and your family lots of good fortune in the new year. If you are approached to sell a home after probate or find yourself with multiple sellers, contact your trusted local real estate attorney to help guide you through the closing.
Kathryn focuses her practice on commercial and residential real property transactions, including, without limitation, developer representation, landlord representation, and purchaser and seller representation in connection with residential and commercial real estate transactions.