Is the probate court still obligated to bequeath residual assets to heirs if a decedant’s real property has leins and the executors decline?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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Is the probate court still obligated to bequeath residual assets to heirs if a decedant’s real property has leins and the executors decline?

My mother’s small estate, house appraised at $55,000, misc. personal belongings less than $1500 has liens in excess of $30,000, one of which is a $20,000 mortgage loan. As the only 1 of 2 appointed executors, and 1 of the 3 heirs I have had about enough of dealing with no financial resources to speak of and family members that take items without permission. I’m ready to decline my administrating appointment just shortly after receiving it. I, nor the estate can afford a lawyer. Is the court still obligated to insure that heirs receive their residual benefits after the paid debts?

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Good question. In your situation where your mother's estate has a lot of debts and little assets, the court will most likely order all of the assets sold assuming that is what the heirs are willing to agree so that all creditors are then paid.

Based upon what is left over after the assets are sold and the creditors are paid off, the net amount of the estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries of your mother's estate as stated in her Will.

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