My mother passed away and left her house to my brother and myself in her Will.

Since we have never been in this situation, we don’t know how to proceed. What do we need to do? This is in Rhode Island.

Asked on January 1, 2019 under Estate Planning, Rhode Island

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Who is named as executor in the will? That person needs to file the paperwork with the probate court to have their appointment as executor confirmed or authorized by the court, which will give them legal power over the estate's assets (what your mother left behind, including the house). The executor then needs to go through a process of identifying all the assets; needs to safeguard them while probate is going on (e.g. pay the mortgage so it is not foreclosed; estate funds, like money in any of your mother's bank accounts, can be used for this purpose); notifying potential creditors (people whom your mother may have owed money, like credit cards, doctors, etc.) so they can put in claims if they want, then pay valid claims; and finally distribute any assets as per the will, such as by selling the house and the two of you sharing the proceeds.
Probate can be a complex undertaking; whomever is named executor may wish to hire a probate attorney to help. Here is a link to a government website with probate forms so you can get a sense for what is involved.
http://sos.ri.gov/divisions/Business-Portal/forms/probate-forms


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