Considerations when selling assets on behalf of an estate

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2020 | Probate

As the executor handling the administration of an estate, you have a lot of responsibilities. One of the most important things you may possibly have can involve selling some of the assets from the estate. 

There are two circumstances where asset liquidation may be part of your responsibilities. The first includes scenarios where the deceased has left behind instructions for you to sell their assets and then distribute the proceeds from the sales among their heirs or beneficiaries. The second scenario would involve creditors requiring the financial value of those assets in order to pay off debts owed by the deceased.

What are your obligations when selling assets as part of the probate process?

You should try to get the best value possible for the assets

While a quick sale is often important if you want to lock in a specific payoff amount with a creditor, it’s also very important that you maximize the return that you earn on physical assets. Trying to sell a house quickly might mean losing tens of thousands of dollars worth of potential estate value. 

Whether you undervalue assets or sell them to someone you know for less than they are worth, such decisions could leave you in a vulnerable position if the beneficiaries of the estate want to take action against you.

You should liquidate assets not earmarked for people first

If you wind up in the situation where you have to sell certain possessions in order to repay the deceased’s creditors, don’t just go for the highest value items first. You should review the last will or estate plan and focus primarily on assets not specifically intended for a particular person

Liquidating assets already bequeathed to one beneficiary or heir could cause disruption to the estate administration process and claims by that beneficiary.

Managing someone’s estate can be difficult. Executors often feel a lot of pressure. Working with an attorney can ease the process.