How can the remaining co-owners of real property sell the land after one of them dies?

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How can the remaining co-owners of real property sell the land after one of them dies?

My 2 sisters and I as co-owners of a property were planing to sell. A buyer is ready to buy but one sister died. What can we do? My dead sister has a 15 year old son, a house she owned, and some debts to pay off. Is there some way that my living sister and I can sign for my dead sister and be able to sell the land, without having to get involved with my dead sister’s debts, house and dealing with her 15 year old son? When we sell the land and divide it among the 3, the 1/3 that would go to my dead sister’s 15 year old son, how can we deal with that? My sister was living alone in the house with her son. After her death the son’s father who had not been around has now moved into the house.

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  I would suggest seeking help from an attorney in your area on the matter.  Do you all own the house as tenants in common? Without survivorship rights?  Then a representative of her estate is going to have to sign the contract for sale and the deed transferring the property as well.  So one of you remaining sisters should have yourself appointed as the personal representative of her estate as soon as you can (and especially now with the boy's Father in the picture).   Once you are appointed then thee is a legal representative of the estate available to fill out the necessary paperwork for the sale and for your sister's estate.  You need to deal with both and it seems like you are the best option to protect your nephew as well.  Good luck to you.


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