Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

If a person dies owning real estate, the Probate Court is usually petitioned to appoint someone to handle things, the “Executor” or Personal Representative,” who can take control of accounts and property. But, suppose it seems like a good idea to sell real estate? Unlike a Trustee, the Executor can’t just put the property on the market, sign a P&S and sell the property.

Unless there is a will, that says something like: “I specifically authorize my Personal Representative to sell, exchange or convey any real estate devised by me or otherwise forming part of my estate without the necessity of a license to sell or any leave of court.” The executor will have to get a License to Sell from the Court.

This requires a whole petition, including the P&S, notice to the heirs and creditors, and newspaper notice. The petition must include “the value of the personal property in his hands, the amount of the charges of administration or management, [and] the amount of debts due from the deceased …” M.G.L. Ch. 202 Section 7.

If, during the 14 days, another, higher offer is received, the whole process has to be gone through again.  The deal is not done until the judge says it is done.

If this sounds unnecessary, it probably is, but the only way to avoid it is to have proper estate plan, including a will that specifically opts out of this little bit of judicial interference.