The executor of a will or trustee of an estate is responsible for disposing of the assets and distributing the proceeds among the heirs of a deceased person. That includes establishing the value of any house or real estate. The executor or trustee must approve the sale of any house, whether to an heir or to another party unless the will or trust specifies otherwise. Any proceeds from a sale normally will be put into the estate to be distributed by the executor or trustee to the beneficiaries of the estate.
Check the will or trust agreement for any restrictions on the sale of the house or special dispositions, such as bequeathing it to a specific heir with a provision that this beneficiary assume any mortgage or other responsibilities. Get approval of a probate court or the estate trustee for any sale before the final disposition of assets.
Instruct the executor or trustee to order an appraisal of the house before sale, to determine its value for the total estate. Deduct any mortgage or other loan that must be paid off from the appraisal price to establish the net value to the estate. Get approval from the court or from all other heirs if a single heir proposes to buy a house before distribution of estate assets.
Add the net proceeds from a house sale to the total assets of the estate. Deduct the value of the house if an heir buys it or takes it over as part of the estate settlement. Have the executor of trustee provide an accounting to all heirs, showing what one heir paid for the house and how that was allocated among any other heirs.
- IRS: Frequently Asked Questions on Estate Taxes
- Bankrate.com: How to Split Up the Willed Family Home
- New York City Bar: What Is an Executor?
- Edmond Financial Group: Your Executor
- My State Will.com: How Is Land and/or a House Divided Among More Than One Heir?
- Cornell University Law School: Valuation of Real Property
- Appraisal IQ: Date of Death Valuation ...
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.