When someone owns a home, it may be the largest asset that they hope to pass to their children or other beneficiaries when they die. Homes represent many years of someone’s wages and a lifetime of diligent upkeep.
Unfortunately, the real property owned by someone who recently died can also be a source of conflict when it comes to management of their estate. Family members may fight over what to do with the home. Even when someone plans carefully to name specific beneficiaries and minimize taxes during the transfer of their real property, there’s always the possibility of mistakes during estate administration that can undermine their efforts.
Also, family members who hope to inherit the home or to receive proceeds from its sale may need to bring a claim against the personal representative of a Texas estate if they don’t manage the property appropriately.
Mistakes and missteps can affect title or property value
When a personal representative fails to initiate probate proceedings and communicate with creditors, the financial circumstances of the estate can begin to change drastically. Creditor claims may surge in value due to late fees and missed payments, and collection efforts may become more aggressive.
Family members who worry that a representative has failed to take appropriate steps in time might decide to challenge the personal representative in probate court. Family members and beneficiaries can also challenge the representative of an estate if they improperly manage assets like real property.
Failing to secure the property can be a serious concern, as vagrants or teenagers might break in and graffiti the interior. Leaving the property empty too long is also a concern even if no crime occurs, as the property value will start to drop. That can be a major issue for those who intend to sell the property.
There could also be a situation in which the representative wants to sell the home for far less than its current fair market value. Beneficiaries may have little choice but to ask the court to intervene to prevent a sale for an unreasonable price or to replace the representative because they have proven incapable of properly managing estate assets.
Recognizing that estate litigation may be necessary to protect your interest in someone’s real property can help you take appropriate actions when there seem to be issues with the probate process. Speaking up isn’t easy but sometimes such effort is warranted.