What legal steps need to be taken before taking over possession of an estate?

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What legal steps need to be taken before taking over possession of an estate?

My aunt died recently and my brother and I are the beneficiaries of her Will, dividing equally her home and its possessions. What legal steps have to be taken before we can either rent/sell her home. My brother is in no hurry, but I’m needing the money now. Can I do by myself what has to be done, or do we both need to? What is the time period involved before we can start the rent/sell?

Asked on July 27, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Generally speaking, there is no waiting period for probating a Will, which is what you need to do here.  In her Will she should have named an executor or co-executors.  They are what are known as the "proponents" of the Will.  They will submit the Will and a probate Petition to the Probate court for letters testamentary to be awarded.  Once the letters are awarded then the executor must marshal (gather) the assets and debt and then pay off the debt and then distribute the estate (after the taxes are filed).  The executor can also rent out the house but the proceeds will go to the estate until distribution.  Please get legal help here.  Good luck. 


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