How To Handle An Estate After A Parent Dies

If you have recently had your parent pass away, and they had lived alone, you may wonder what happens to their estate after their death. At a time when you are grieving, it is often difficult to go through the process of handling their home and property, but it is a task that must be done to properly distribute belongings to others within the family. Here are some guidelines to follow when dealing with the estate of a parent who has just passed away.

Go To The Courthouse

The first step that needs to be done regarding your parent's property is to make a phone call to the courthouse in the municipality in which they had lived. You will need to provide the courthouse with your parent's name and date of their death to find out if there is a will stating who will be taking over the property. If you were specified as the executor, you will need to prove your identity to the courthouse and you will be given the deed to the home and property in exchange. If your parent did not leave a will, you will need to see an attorney.

See An Attorney

If there is no will, you will need to have an attorney start the probate process in proving you are the rightful heir to the property. In most cases, if there is no living spouse, the children of the deceased will have right to the home. If you have siblings, the estate will be equally split among you. Your attorney will file paperwork stating who you are and that it is believed you should be named executor of the estate. 

At this time, your attorney will be able to check with the courthouse to see if there are any liens against the property. If your parent had not been keeping up with mortgage payments, it is possible a bank has rights to money owed. If the amount is higher than what you would be able to sell the estate for, you may wish to walk away from the property rather than taking it and having to deal with your parent's creditors.

Distribute Belongings

After you decide whether you are going to take the estate over or not, you will want to get the personal belongings out of the home so the home can be sold, either by yourself or through a bank foreclosure. If you are selling the property, there will not be an urgency to move the items from inside until you are read. If the bank is foreclosing, you may want to hire a moving service to take the belongings to a storage unit until you can properly distribute them to family members. 

If a will had been left, it may specify who is to be given certain items within the home. Hire an attorney to help you conduct the reading of the will so family members will be informed of what they were left. After the items are distributed, the sale of the house can be conducted. From the sale, any money owed to creditors would need to be paid before you and any siblings would be allowed to keep money from the sale.

For more information, contact Wilson Deege Despotovich Riemenschneider & Rittgers or a similar firm.