Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in North Carolina

I am the executor of my mother's estate and she died with no insurance and owing alot more than she has. She owed more on her house than it is worth. Can I sign my portion of her home over to my brother before the estate is finalized? Thank you.

Asked on 9/10/12, 6:02 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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Yes,. you could sign your rights to the home over to your brother if you were a beneficiary of the home. Since you indicate that you are the executor, that suggests there is a will. Did the will specify what is to happen to the home and indicate who would be the beneficiary? Did the will contain a power to deal with the home without court approval? I ask as in NC, when a person dies owning land, then title passes to the designated beneficiary, not the executor. If its necessary to sell the home, the executor has to seek court approval unless the will provides otherwise.

Why convey to the brother? What's your brother planning on doing with the home?

You are the executor - has an attempt been made to sell the home? If more is owed on the home than what it is worth, why not just let the bank foreclose if a sale is not feasible?

Regarding insurance, why would this be relevant? The purpose of life insurance is to replace income that is lost via death for the survivors (usually a spouse and children). Even if your mother left a boatload of life insurance, that money is a non-probate asset and would go to the designated beneficiary, not creditors.

Before you take any drastic steps, I suggest that you consult with a probate attorney in the county/state where the estate for your mother is probated. You need to see what debts there are, including mortgage debts, and discuss what would be best done with the home before you just convey it away.

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9/11/12, 4:57 pm

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