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With the housing market slowing down thanks to a combination of factors including high mortgage rates and low supply, a larger percentage of property sales involve one of the 3 D’s of Real Estate: Death, Divorce, and Debt.

A purchase or sale of a home in New York, can be hectic; add to that the additional complications death, divorce, or debt could bring to the table and you can see how beneficial experienced professionals in your corner can be. In this post we’ll look at how the first D, Death, can complicate the process and how a practiced real estate lawyer in Queens, New York could protect your interests.

Understanding Property Inheritance: What Happens After You Pass Away?

When a person passes away and their property becomes part of their estate, one of the main concerns is determining who is authorized to make decisions about the property. The laws on this vary from state to state. Generally, in New York the Surrogate Court will handle those determinations. If the deceased had a will, the Surrogate Court would go through probate proceedings to appoint the will’s executor who is authorized to and is responsible for locating, managing, and distributing the property. During a Probate Proceeding, if there was no will, the Surrogate Court will go through a longer process called Estate Administration to appoint an administrator instead. Going through surrogate court could take a long time, especially if there are any unexpected claims or if heirs are not on the same page.

How a Real Estate Lawyer Can Help with Property Inheritance

For potential sellers of inherited property, an experienced real estate attorney would be able to provide estimated timelines of the transaction process and advise on options to take. During the negotiation process they can act as a steady guide, making sure the seller’s interests are protected. Some of the challenges and issues presented by an inherited property may be unfamiliar to the seller.  An experienced real estate attorney can provide guidance on how those issues are usually resolved and provide their perspective on how reasonable requests are from the purchaser during negotiations.

From the purchaser’s perspective, a real estate lawyer based in and familiar with the local laws is also beneficial. They can explain and mitigate potential legal risks that purchasing an inherited property would come with. Through thorough title examination, they can identify any title issues that may hold up the transaction. Oftentimes title issues could depend on the resolution of a seller’s surrogate court proceedings.

Legal Considerations

A local Queens, New York real estate lawyer could set realistic expectations of when those court proceedings would be resolved and alert their client if any title issues are worse than expected, ensuring that the buyer’s interests are protected. Always consult with a real estate lawyer in Queens, New York if you have any questions. You can contact our law firm for a consultation.