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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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