Real Estate

I’m the Executor of My Mother’s Estate. What Happens if Her Stuff Doesn’t Sell?

Q: I’m the executor of my mom’s property. The sale of her home and its belongings might be divided evenly amongst her surviving youngsters. I had the residence’s furnishings appraised and am getting ready them on the market. What occurs if some of the objects don’t promote? Or if they promote for much lower than the appraised worth? As the executor, would I be personally responsible for any shortfalls and be anticipated to pay my siblings the distinction?

A: As the executor of the property, your job is to settle your mom’s monetary affairs and divide her belongings amongst her heirs in accordance with the will. It’s not your job to pay your siblings if the property is in the end not as beneficial as you assume. But you’re anticipated to make prudent selections about the way you liquidate it.

“What’s prudent is going to depend on the nature of the assets,” mentioned Douglas F. Allen, Jr., a trusts and estates lawyer in the Manhattan office of the regulation agency Seyfarth Shaw.



If the property has, say, a beneficial Nineteenth-century armoire and also you promote it at a yard sale, your siblings may maintain you answerable for being careless with their inheritance. Your job is to determine the right way to appraise it and discover the finest venue to promote it, whether or not that’s at an public sale or by an antiques vendor. However, if the piece appraises for a modest sum, it’s possible you’ll determine to promote it at an property sale. If it sells for much lower than the appraised worth, then it was solely value that a lot. And if nobody buys the hulking piece of furnishings, then the value of disposing it comes out of the property.


The identical goes for the home. Consult an actual property dealer, gathering recommendation about whether or not it’s best to listing the property as is or spend money from the property on upgrades or staging. If the dealer suggests itemizing it for $750,000, but it surely sells for $700,000, then that’s all the money it’s important to cut up up, minus no matter bills you incurred, like hiring cleaners or paying the dealer’s price, mentioned to Robert D. Steele, a companion at the Manhattan regulation agency Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas, the place he’s head of the agency’s trusts and estates division.

To keep away from a battle amongst the siblings, have a dialog with them now, earlier than any heirlooms are bought or divided up. Explain the course of, and no matter tips have been specified by the will. “Make sure you set up the rules up front,” Mr. Steele mentioned. “Make sure they understand.”

For weekly e-mail updates on residential actual property information, enroll right here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.


Back to top button