Businessman with Coat and Tie Holding House

The process of selling a relative’s home is likely going to be emotional, from the sorting of the personal belongings to the finalization of the sale at the closing table. Expect that. And surround yourself with professionals who will be empathetic and helpful.

Many would agree that selling a home is a stressful process, maybe even claiming a spot on the “top 10 most stressful life moments” list. Even if it sells fast, there is still the hassle of moving itself. What about when it is not your home at all? What if it is the home of your parents, and perhaps your sole inheritance, with or without siblings?

When it comes to selling an inherited home, there are some complications to ride out and with which you must deal. For guidance, consider reading are recent MarketWatch article titled “How to sell an inherited home.

Get past the practical facts of getting to the home (maybe you live states away) and moving out all of the possessions or figuring out what to do with them. Get past the emotional problems, too. How do you even go about selling it? Can the property move on the market to begin with or, alternatively, is there a better market for a rental and can you manage it? Who owns it exactly and, especially if it is in probate, when will those who will own it actually own it? Are there any liens on the property or a mortgage that may or may not be underwater?

The simple truth for some families is that it may be best not to inherit the house at all and to let it go into foreclosure. Are there creditors in line to receive from the estate? If yes, then you cannot take ownership from the estate until bankruptcy proceedings have finalized.

A few of these issues are drawn out in the article and worth the general advice offered. In the end, inheriting and selling the family home can be the uncomfortable intersection of estate law, tax law and real estate law.

Without a plan, a family can find themselves in a mess. Without competent counsel, they may have trouble getting back up and away from the problems. If you are planning your estate, real estate — especially your home — is an essential component that may be overlooked to the peril of your loved ones later if not properly addressed from all angles now.

Reference: MarketWatch (January 13, 2014) “How to sell an inherited home

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.