Articles and audio on New York Probate

E261 How to Close on Sale of Business in Probate

E261 How to Close on Sale of Business in Probate


Hurray, you’re finally in contract and ready to close on the sale of the estate’s business. You already did all the hard work preparing to sell the business, now make sure you cross the finish line and close the sale properly.

Maintain status quo until sold

Maintain status quo until sold

Make sure you maintain your insurance payments. In the rare chance that there is a slip and fall accident between the time your insurance lapses and the closing occurs, it will be your problem.

Maintain your security plan, whether it’s an alarm system or driving by to check on the place. We have had an attempted burglary in one of our situations. It’s like the burglars have a sixth sense that the owner passed away and that the building is not well-attended. They notice that there are no cars or customers coming and going from the business.

Keep up to date with all of the business vendors. If the business is not operational, let the vendors know not to come by anymore. You don’t want boxes of inventory stacked up, just like you don’t want piles of mail stacked up outside of a decedent’s home. It’s pretty obvious that the place is vacant if no one takes the items inside.

Allow buyer’s final inspections

Allow buyer’s final inspections

Make sure that the lease is transferable. The buyer may need to have an introduction with the landlord to make sure they get along and agree on new terms.

Even if you provide a fully audited inventory of the estate assets, sometimes buyers want to do their own inventory. Cash registers, coolers, machinery, the condition of the parking lot – the buyer will want to see these for himself. Sometimes you can’t capture the condition of these types of things in a report or photographs.

Transfer all paperwork

Transfer all paperwork

While most of the paperwork happens at closing, some paperwork needs to be put in motion ahead of time. For example, making sure that the buyer can take over the lease from the landlord.

There may be a whole bureaucratic process to make sure the buyer gets the necessary licenses and permits to operate the business. Maybe it’s a permit to have a cafe on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant or obtaining a liquor license.

Think you’re done? Not quite. Even if you’ve sold and liquidated the business assets, you probably still need to wind down or dissolve the corporation and business bank accounts. You probably did the sale in the form of an asset sale (meaning, the buyer bought the stuff), and not a sale of the corporate stock. The estate is now left with an empty corporate entity. Dissolving the corporation involves getting certain tax clearances, notifying the Department of State, emptying business accounts, and notifying the IRS with a corporate tax return.

It’s a long process, but it has to be done.  We’ll cover this in a future episode, but please comment below if you have questions or comments in the meantime.

If you want to learn more about how probate works, check out my book on Amazon, “How Probate Works.”

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E254 Best Renovations to do Before Selling Probate Real Estate

E254 Best Renovations to do Before Selling Probate Real Estate


Selling probate real estate can be tough because properties are usually out of date, very “lived-in,” and attract discount buyers.

Here are a few minimum renovations and repairs that executors should consider in order to receive a flow of serious buyers, without spending too much in estate funds.

1. Clean out the clutter

Clean out the clutter

Cleaning out clutter is more expensive than people realize. For example, cleaning out a one-bedroom apartment in the Manhattan area will cost between $1,500 and $2,500 for several cleaners/movers, a truck, and a dumpster.

Though cleaning out is expensive, it is a MUST. It’s very difficult to sell a home with the deceased person’s belongings everywhere. Do your best to get the home at least broom-clean or better. Even buyers looking for a sweet deal aren’t really excited to clean up someone else’s mess so that they can move in.

You’ll probably need to pack and ship some items to heirs anyway, so cleaning out the place completely just makes sense.

2. That fresh paint smell

That fresh paint smell

We’ve seen so many homes with outdated colors or tones. We have one right now with blood-red colored walls. Though certain colors may have been popular at one time, you need a neutral color like beige, light gray, or white to sell a home. Don’t try to get fancy with different shades of the same color. We had a house with at least eight different shades peach freshly painted throughout, and it was not appealing! Give the buyers a blank canvas to work with and let them pick their own colors.

Don’t use wallpaper –  stick with paint.

Besides being aesthetically pleasing, a fresh coat of paint can help reduce odors. To put it bluntly, most probate properties smell like the person who lived there. Again, give the buyer a blank canvas that smells fresh.

3. Let there be light!

Let there be light!

For some reason, really “lived-in” places seem to feel dark. Maybe there are too many curtains, or the windows haven’t been cleaned.

Most realtors will say that maximizing the light very important. You can do this by updating all of the lightbulbs to LED lights (which is a cheap fix, by the way!). It is also good to wash and fix the windows, if feasible (this may not be so easy in a high-rise building). You may want to consider getting rid of curtains to brighten the place. Additionally, getting rid of curtains can reduce odors trapped in the fabric.

4. Refresh the floors

Refresh the floors

You don’t need to do a full reflooring, as this can be quite expensive. Just replace or remove the carpet. If you find hardwood floors under the carpet, leave it exposed. People tend to like hardwood floors. Sanding and refinishing old wood floors is way cheaper than putting new flooring in. If you have to put carpet in, choose a light, neutral color.

5. Minimum bathroom updates

Minimum bathroom updates

Bathroom updates can get expensive, but there are some minimum updates you can do to maximize its appearance. Don’t replace the tub, just re-caulk it. You should consider replacing the vanity, as it is fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Many old vanities have stained outlines of where pill bottles and other items sat.

It is also beneficial to update the showerhead and the fixtures. You can go to any hardware store and pick up inexpensive, shiny, updated fixtures. The $50 spent to replace a leaky shower head with a fancier one, will be worth it to help the home sell.

If there are enough funds and the heirs agree to use the estate funds, then you can make costlier updates. However, I assume that most heirs want to maximize their inheritance and just get the home sold. Besides, you don’t know what taste the buyers will have. You might spend a lot of money on updates that look good to you, and the buyer ends up ripping it out to suit their own style.

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E246 How to Collect MTA COVID19 Death Benefit

E246 How to Collect the MTA COVID19 Death Benefit


Did you know that heirs of Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) workers who died of COVID19 may receive a $500,000 death benefit?

When I first heard of this, I thought it was a scam. But, yes, this is real! We’ve helped families collect this benefit. Here’s how:

Who qualifies for the MTA COVID19 death benefit?

Who qualifies for the MTA COVID19 death benefit?

Any MTA employee who died of COVID19 qualifies. The MTA has already paid out over $62,000,000, which means at least 140 employees have passed away from COVID 19.

How to apply for the MTA COVID19 death benefit?

How to apply for the MTA COVID19 death benefit?

An heir can’t just apply as family member of the decedent (we’ve been hired by families that have tried). You must set up an estate and get a court-appointed executor or administrator. That court-appointed person is who must apply. An administrator is appointed for an estate without a will, and an executor is appointed for an estate with a will.

Be sure to choose wisely who you want to fill that role, because once that person is appointed, they need to know how to work with the MTA to get the claim pushed through.

It’s not easy like submitting a life insurance claim. This kind of death benefit claim is new. Anytime you are dealing with something new involving a bureaucracy, you need some force of will to get it done. From personal experience, getting the MTA death benefit can be a long, drawn-out process involving numerous emails and long hold times on the phone. But, with the right team pushing through, we have had successful outcomes for our clients.

When will the MTA COVID19 death benefit end?

When will the MTA COVID19 death benefit end?

As of this writing, it is currently extended through December 21, 2021. It could last longer, but we don’t know yet.

If you lost a loved one who was an MTA employee, you should apply for this benefit as soon as you have opened the estate. Sooner is better than later. Why? Because the MTA seems to be tightening the qualifications, making it harder to qualify. For example, an unvaccinated employee is no longer eligible. The MTA is also taking a closer look at the cause of death (did the employee die directly from COVID 19, or something else?).

Be aware: getting a court-appointed executor or administrator currently takes a few months or longer. So, start now. If you call us today to open an estate, it could be early spring before the court appoints a representative for the estate. The courts are very backed up and short-staffed.

This was a very specific blog about a specific benefit, but it is important to know about it if you think you may qualify.

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E241 What is a Probate Reserve?


Think it’s over? Even when most of probate is complete, the executor must hold a reserve.

Why keep a reserve?

Why keep a reserve?

Think of it as a rainy-day fund: An amount of money that the executor holds on to in order to pay unexpected expenses. Even after more than a year, unexpected things pop up – even with experienced attorneys involved. It’s impossible to have full certainty of what the final bills are for the estate without waiting a bit. Creditors, taxes, and accompanying legal/accounting fees can be a big deal. If the executor has no money left in the account, it’s not a good scenario.

In Episode 239, we discussed this exact situation. Our client was an executor. He didn’t take our advice to wait for the full tax clearance. Since he didn’t wait and distributed the money to the heirs, they were shocked and horrified to later receive an unexpected tax bill for over $20,000. This put the executor in a tough situation where he either had to ask for money back from the heirs or pay it out of pocket.

We had another case where the hospital creditors sued the executor for an unpaid medical bill. In this case, the lawsuit was frivolous. The hospital didn’t formalize their claim, and they were barred by the statute of limitations from being paid. They sued anyway, and the executor had to hire an attorney to defend the estate in court.

There was also a case where, long after the estate had been closed, an alleged “son” emerged and sued the estate for his share. The executor had to go through litigation to find out whether this really was the decedent’s son. Obviously, he needed money to pay for legal defense.

If you ever run into these situations, and you have a reserve, you’ll be very thankful!

How much is kept in reserve?

How much is kept in reserve?

There is no set number, but it is a balancing act. The amount must be big enough for the executor to feel comfortable that he won’t run out of money in a bad situation.

But the amount should not be too big, as you want to get as much money as possible out of your hands and to the heirs. The executor is a conduit, not an investment advisor. As professional executors, we take a lot of things into account when determining the reserve amount. It’s an art and a science!

When to release the reserve?

When to release the reserve?

Usually, it takes about a year to close an estate, and we hold a couple thousand in reserve. About one to two years after the estate is closed, we usually feel comfortable releasing the reserve. That should be enough time for any unknowns to shake out. However, even with the best planning, something could come up ten years from now. That is why I have attorney’s insurance for these kinds of situations.

In general, the statute of limitations is between three and six years. If the estate took one and a half years to close and you hold the money another one and a half years, then you’ll have more certainty that it’s time to release the reserve to the heirs. Sometimes heirs don’t mind getting the reserve later, because that second payment feels like a bonus.

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E239 Why Does Probate Tax Clearance Take So Long

E239 Why Does Probate Tax Clearance Take So Long?


Waiting for tax clearance is often the biggest delay in closing an estate. We’ll explain why tax clearance is so important and why it takes so long.

Why tax clearance is so important

Why tax clearance is so important

No one wants IRS problems under any circumstances. In estates, the IRS is a top priority creditor. They need to get paid before anyone else gets paid. It’s important to know the final figures for the IRS before distributing to the other creditors and heirs.

If the IRS is not paid properly, the IRS will come after the executor and heirs later. In order to be paid, they will come after whoever has the money, which can include the heirs who received an incorrect distribution. The executor can also be held personally liable.

Let’s say you are the executor, and you neglect to pay the taxes properly. You cut the checks to the heirs and six months later the IRS says you owe another $50,000. Imagine asking heirs to give back some money to pay taxes. Those heirs are not going to return your phone calls no matter the amount of money owed.

Must file final returns to get started

Must file final returns to get started

Sometimes it is hard to get the decedent’s final paperwork in order to make that final filing. It’s happened to us many times. We know there’s another W-2 or 1099 out there to finalize the return, but we don’t have them. If we’re missing documents, we have to request them from banks and other financial institutions. This process can take weeks, or even months, because these bureaucracies are not used to dealing with non-everyday situations like death. We often get shuffled around among different departments to get what we need.

Even worse, sometimes we have to request missing information from the IRS. This process can be brutally long. It takes a whole year just to get the tax clearance from the IRS. Imagine trying to request just one piece of paper. The IRS is overworked, and they don’t answer the phone. You end up filling out and submitting forms, then play the waiting game.

Sometimes filing the final tax return isn’t final. Even after filing the decedent’s 1040, from time to time you need ANOTHER filing (1041) to confirm that there are no capital gains on the sale of the decedent’s home.

Last bite at the apple

Last bite at the apple

This is the IRS’s last chance to get money out of the decedent. Once the tax return is filed, the IRS takes a LONG time to review it and give a final answer. They know that this is their last opportunity to collect from this taxpayer. They examine a decedent’s return way more thoroughly than a living person’s return.

The IRS reviews more than a W-2, a 1099, and a bank interest statement. Within the Statute of Limitations, the IRS looks at social security withholding, payroll tax, income tax, capital gains, and everything in between. This just adds to the already existing delay in processing.

It is frustrating for the heirs to wait so long for a distribution; however, they seem to prefer to wait rather than to sign a statement saying that they will bear the responsibility if the IRS comes after them. When dealing with the IRS, you rush to wait. There’s not much of a choice.

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E235 3 Reasons Probate Court Takes So Long

E235 3 Reasons Probate Court Takes So Long

Clients often call asking us why their probate case is taking so long. Probate usually takes a while, but lately, it has become an even longer process. We will discuss three current, real-world situations to help you understand what your case might be taking longer than you thought.

Is there a backlog for probate?

Is there a backlog for probate?

As is the case for any bureaucracy (especially government), due to COVID/lockdowns, the courts have had limited staff and operations for over a year. This means the courts (which are generally not lightning fast anyway) are now playing one year’s worth of catch up. Probate court piles have been stacking up; it’s not as if people stopped dying.

On top of the daunting backlog, the courts are understaffed. Additionally, new clerks are hired who are not very experienced. Also keep in mind that many offices are working on a staggered in-person schedule. This leads to more delays and mistakes because there may not be enough experienced workers to provide solid training. The new clerks may have to wait much longer to get a simple answer from a supervisor who is working remotely. Meanwhile, the piles of files are stacking higher.

Can probate court change its mind?

Can probate court change its mind?

Imagine the court (clerk, staff member, etc.) reviews your file, and requires a laundry list of changes from you. This is normal and happens often. But many changes are very time consuming, such as getting papers signed, translated, ordered from other courts, etc.

Even if we think the changes are unnecessary, usually it’s just better to grin and bear and do as court instructs. Arguing about the changes won’t make it go faster, so you comply. Now imagine by the time we file the requested changes the court clerks have cycled out or changed. Now we have a new clerk who says, “who told you to do it that way? I need you to do these other five things.” This often happens with bigger corporations where you usually do not deal with the same person twice. Typically, you get to know the court clerks over the years. But lately, the turnover has been unusually high for whatever reason.

Do courts make mistakes?

Do courts make mistakes?

Yes, the court personnel are human and make mistakes, too. For example, probate court have SLOWLY adopted e-file system. Does e-file work smoothly? Not yet. We can file some things, but not everything.

We had a client who called us for a case status. He got really frustrated and called the court directly after we told him we are waiting on the court.  He called to ask court status of case; court replied that nothing had ever filed. However, we were literally looking at the computer screen showing the date that the case was e-filed and accepted. The poor client didn’t know what was going on: was his lawyer or the court lying to him? Thankfully, we put out the fire since we had receipts to prove the e-file.

These are some reasons we’re seeing as to why probate is taking much longer than usual. Hang in there; it’s a waiting game. And we’re waiting along with you

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E233 Probate Problems with Sibling Rivalries

E233 Probate Problems with Sibling Rivalries


We all know siblings who are constantly competing or comparing with each other. Let’s talk about how those rivalries cause problems during probate.

Which sibling inherits more?

Which sibling inherits more?

If there is any slight imbalance of inheritance amounts, there’s an issue of who was the favorite. Or maybe it’s an issue of who took care of mom or dad at the end of life. Maybe there is compensation or gratitude for whoever dedicated the time when things got difficult at the end. It might also be a reflection of who already received lifetime gifts or support. Maybe the parent helped with a down payment for one sibling’s house or tuition for another sibling’s children.

There could be many reasons for each sibling inheriting different amounts, but the siblings will see it the way they want to see it, and this imbalance can create conflict.

Which sibling gets more control, communications during probate?

Which sibling gets more control, communications?

It’s not just about competing for dollars or inheritance amounts. Even if everything is divided equally, there could still be disputes or harsh feelings about who gets to be the executor. In this case, it may be better to hire an independent executor. It could relieve some stress.

But, even if you have an independent executor, there could be disputes about who talks to the lawyer/executor more! We get this a lot: “I heard that my sister emailed you several times, and I want to know everything you told her.”  Making the attorney the middleman slows things down and creates more billable time.

When siblings don’t talk

When siblings don’t talk

When siblings don’t talk to each other, the attorney ends up having double communications – which increases costs. For example, I may have a phone call with the older sister to explain the file status. Then, I have the same phone call with the other two siblings separately. That’s three billed items that could have been just one.

In severe situations, siblings want to make sure the other siblings never get their contact information. We have to ensure that phone, email, and home addresses never get shared with the other! It’s a lot to keep track of.

For example, we’ve had to file probate petitions in such a way that the addresses of the heirs are hidden. In another recent example, we had to mail out 18 separate letters instead of one mass letter, so that no one has each other’s contact information. If that’s what the siblings want, we’ll do it. They just have to understand that there’s a cost involved.

To learn more about what probate entails, check out my book, “How Probate Works,” available on Amazon.

 

E230 How Poor Communication Hurts Probate

E230 How Poor Communication Hurts Probate


Sometimes the biggest problem in probate is the people, specifically when there are too many people involved.

When there are too many lawyers

When there’s too many lawyers

You may be wondering: “Why would anyone want too many lawyers involved?” Sometimes there are situations where everyone lawyers-up: the executor has his, the heirs each have their own, and so on.

We recently had a situation where two of the heirs had multiple lawyers. There was a language barrier because the heirs were not English speakers. They had lawyers from their own country and those lawyers had translators in the United States. That translator didn’t have any probate experience, so the family friend contacted us to explain what the probate lawyer is saying. Now, there are three layers of lawyers between the heirs and the actual work that is being done.

Sometimes heirs have multiple lawyers for other reasons. Sometimes a relative or family friend is a lawyer, but do not specialize in probate. They may act as a back-seat driver to the hired probate attorney.

None of these situations are great, because in most cases, everyone is billing. Just imagine: three lawyers multiplied by one email is now 3 billable increments. Or if you have four lawyers and the average billing is $400 an hour, that is now $1,600 an hour. Not to mention paralegals and legal assistant who are billing in addition to the attorneys. It adds up fast!

When there’s too many layers

When there’s too many layers

As mentioned above, there was an issue with three layers of lawyers between the heirs and the actual work that is being done. Why is that a problem? Remember the game “telephone” where you whisper something to the person next to you, and they whisper it to the person next to them and so on? By the end of the line, the final recipient has nothing close to the original message! It’s no different with professional lawyers in between.

It’s not just garbled messages or lack of communication skills, but their biases get inserted along the way. There are also delays while passing information along. If the message from the executor needs to pass through three lawyers before reaching the heir, it will take a while. What if each step takes up to twelve hours to review the information? It could be days before the message gets to the recipient, when it was a simple question that could have taken just a few minutes and one quick email.

When there’s to many emails

When there’s to many emails

Whether it’s because everyone has their own lawyer or there are multiple layers, important information gets lost in the barrage of emails.

If there are ten people included in an email chain, there may be times where everyone wants to chime in and respond to something that isn’t necessary. It’s not easy to scroll through ten emails and immediately pull out the important information. It takes time to go back and look through the previous emails.

Another issue with a large email chain is that no one knows who is doing what. It’s like taking your kids out with other families who have kids. Who’s watching the kids? It’s one of those situations where people might assume that everyone else is handling the situation.

Having “too many cooks in the kitchen” can lead to problems based on just communication issues alone. If you want to be armed with knowledge before tackling probate, check out my book, “How Probate Works,” available on Amazon.

E228 First 5 Steps to Selling a Probate Business

E228 First 5 Steps to Selling a Probate Business


Unlike real estate, most people (including heirs and executors) have never owned a business, let alone sold one. So, when it comes up in an estate probate, understandably, folks are lost. We have a recent estate example, which included a retail business.

1. How to secure the business location

How to secure the business location

Vacant storefronts can attract crime, vandals, and the homeless. Just like when you go out of town, make sure the lights are on a timer and use motion sensors. Make sure that the alarm/security system is working and paid-up. Also, keep mail and newspapers from piling up.

2. How to get the business financials

How to get the business financials

We need these to figure out what the business is worth. Plus, any buyer will want to see the financials before they become serious about purchasing. So, you ask the CPA or piece together from prior tax returns. Many folks take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to business these days, so check the decedent’s computer to see if they used QuickBooks or a similar accounting program.

3. How to get a business appraisal

How to get a business appraisal

Why do we need this in addition to financials? Well, not everyone will interpret the financials the same way, so getting a qualified appraiser will allow everyone to be on the same page. Also, comparables are not so easy to find for businesses like they are for houses. Businesses are different from each other and are typically hard to compare. Lastly, a business appraiser is a 3rd party, with an independent opinion. This is beneficial for buyers and the heirs. You want to make sure the heirs don’t question you for selling too low. Therefore, having an appraiser gives them an answer for the sale price ballpark.

4. Take stock of the business assets

Take stock of the business assets

Figure out what you have and what you need to keep. I’m not necessarily referring to inventory, although that’s important, too. If it is a liquor store, you don’t want to see the inventory consumed away by someone! I’m referring more to key assets, like employees. If you want to sell the business with a manager in place, you’d better keep the manager happy. He’s actually part of the value of the business.

If the decedent didn’t own the real estate, you need to understand the lease agreement (terms, time left, relationship with the landlord, etc.). These are what you parcel together to sell the business. If it’s in a great location, but there is only one year left on the lease, that might not be very appealing to the buyer. If it’s in a great location with eight years left on the lease, that’s helpful to know.

5. How to choose a business broker

How to choose a business broker

Why do you need a business broker? As mentioned above, it’s hard to figure out comparables. If you don’t have the savvy or the experience, it’s hard to know how to compare this stand-alone liquor store to a wine store in a strip mall. People may try to sell a house on their own, but there are fewer DIY and “for sale by owner” options for businesses. It would be hard to sell without a broker. It’s not just about finding a buyer; brokers help with the grind and paperwork of closing.

How do you find a business broker? Many realtors do both. I’m not a big fan of realtor-brokers, but sometimes this may be your best bet in small cities. In larger cities, there may be more brokers available who are solely business brokers. With most professionals, it’s usually better to use someone who specializes, instead of a jack of all trades.

If the business has a CPA, check with them. CPAs are often good resources for attorneys and brokers.

If you have no luck with the methods above, look for similar businesses that have sold, and find out who they used. This may take more legwork, but the information is usually out there online.

Setting up your estate plan is the key to successful estate administration involving a business. For more information on unexpected twists and turns and why probate can take so long, check out my book, “How Probate Works,” available on Amazon.

E226 3 Strategies for Illiquid Estates

E226 3 Strategies for Illiquid Estates


Sometimes the estate doesn’t have cash on hand and only has illiquid assets like the home, a business, or artwork. But settling the estate has many ongoing bills and expenses, from court fees to movers to accountants. We’ll discuss 3 ways to deal with cash-poor, illiquid estates.

Can the heirs pay?

Can the heirs pay?

Sure – If the heirs have the funds, they can “lend” money to the estate to keep things moving. For example, the estate will be worth $200,000 once we liquidate everything, but we have no cash until we sell everything, such as a house. We usually need a couple thousand dollars to hire an appraiser and clean it out prior to the sale. It’s not a good situation.

First of all, not all heirs have the funds or ability to pay. Oftentimes, we’re not looking at hundreds of dollars, but thousands. Even if there is an heir who is well-off, it may create an imbalance. The heir who loaned to the estate feels entitled to run the show and receive information before the other heirs. When the family is upset and grieving, having a wealthy heir loan money to the estate could cause more family problems.

Especially in this situation, the executor must keep excellent records to make sure the repayment in terms of final inheritance adds up properly.

Can you get a loan against your inheritance?

This means borrowing from an “inheritance funding” company. These are basically like payday loans for heirs, but for estates. This is VERY expensive.

 

Can you get a loan against your inheritance?

 

How does it work? I’m not endorsing this, but I want you to understand it. Here is the example: 

You have an inheritance of $10,000 that you should be receiving, but you don’t want to wait. You then pledge up to $10,000 of your inheritance to the lender. In exchange for signing loan documents, the lender gives you $5,000 cash now (half). Depending on how long it takes for the estate to close and repay, the lender will keep up to $10,000 of your inheritance. If the estate takes too long to settle, the lender may keep all $10,000. Or maybe the estate settles quickly, and the lender gives you $2,000. So, essentially you paid $3,000 to borrow $7,000. Estates can take a long time, so most likely you’d walk away with just your 50%. It might be better just to wait to get your money from the closing of the estate instead. 

Heirs need to sign a bunch of paperwork, and the lender will have lots of questions for the beneficiary and executor to make sure it’s likely the lender will be repaid. 

I wouldn’t call this a good option, but it is an option. I think it’s not used as much as we think it would be, because people simply don’t know about.

Can I delay paying estate bills?

Yes, you can try to juggle and pay only the immediate bills, and delay or defer the rest until there’s cash available.

 

Can I delay paying estate bills?

 

An example of this would be negotiating to pay upon the sale of the home or business. For instance, an appraiser may want $500 up front to do the appraisal, but maybe you can offer to pay them $1,000 (but not until the closing of the sale). 

This option requires savvy and experience to determine who will bend vs. what bills are important and must be paid now. Negotiating doesn’t necessarily mean that letters will stop coming from the debt collectors and such. You will likely continue to receive monthly notices until they are paid. 

In conclusion, none of these options are great, but it’s what you do if you’re stuck in that situation. To dig into this topic a little more, please check out my book, “How Probate Works,” available on Amazon.