Estate planning in the digital age

As if the job of executor wasn’t difficult enough, along comes the digital age to complicate things even further. Yes, estate planning in the digital age brings with it a variety of new concerns and responsibilities. For example, will your social media platforms continue to live on long after you’re gone?

It’s definitely something to think about and, if possible, discuss with your appointed executor. If an executor has not been appointed, you can discuss this with a family member with whom you have a great deal of trust.

In today’s digital age, anyone with a computer or smartphone likely has numerous usernames and passwords to access everything from your bank accounts to your Facebook page. While you don’t want to share this confidential information with just anyone, it does make a great deal of sense to share it with at least one trustworthy loved one.

In the event that your life ends unexpectedly, you’ll make things a lot easier for those left behind if someone has password access to your computer, smartphone, social media platforms, etc.

If you would like more information on estate planning in the digital age, please contact The Olear Team today!

What is limited power of attorney in real estate?

You’ve likely heard the term “power of attorney” used before, but what does it mean in relationship to real estate? Basically, limited power of attorney in real estate gives the appointed individual the power to make decision for and act in the best interest of another individual.

As the name implies, giving someone power of attorney allows them to act as your agent, while limited power of attorney is indeed limited to specific transactions. For example, limited power of attorney may only allow someone to sell a single property on your behalf at a pre-determined price.

It’s important to note that power of attorney is a legal document that can differ from state to state, so it’s best to consult with a real estate attorney or experienced Realtor before entering into a power of attorney situation. Power of attorney can have a set expiration date, or it can stay with you until death. Again, it’s very important to know exactly what you’re getting into before granting — or accepting — power of attorney.

Limited power of attorney in real estate…

  • Allows an individual to conduct business — such as the sale of a piece of property — for another individual.
  • Permits the individual to handle all legal matters pertaining to the sale as they arise.
  • Allows the individual to enter into contracts.
  • Allows the individual to revise legal documents related to the transaction.

We can’t stress enough that you should focus on the word “power” in power of attorney, because you are handing over a lot of authority. That being the case, make sure you only grant power of attorney to someone you completely trust to act in your best interests!

For more information on power of attorney in real estate, please contact The Olear Team today.

Selling an inherited house: Are you ready to ride the emotional rollercoaster?

When a loved one passes away, it can be an extremely difficult time for those left to mourn his or her passing. If that person owned a house or property, you may find yourself on the receiving end of an inheritance. Selling an inherited house can certainly add to what is already an emotional rollercoaster, thanks to financial, legal and a host of other issues that will need to be considered and dealt with.

Is selling an inherited house in your best interest?

That’s a difficult question to answer right off the bat. Here’s why:

  • With any inheritance, there are going to be tax implications. The first thing you may want to do before making any decision is to have a discussion with your tax advisor to find out what the tax implications are to keep or sell the property.
  • If this is already sounding too overwhelming, you can always refuse the inheritance. Why would you do that? Taxes, liens or perhaps a large mortgage remaining on the property are among the common reasons for declining a property inheritance.
  • At some point during the overall process you’ll probably want to rid yourself of many of the personal belongings inside the house. Consider working with a professional company that specializes in estate sales to liquidate the contents, or hold an old-fashioned yard sale.
  • If you’re not too sentimentally attached to the home, a fix and sell might be the right move. Consult with a home inspector and Realtor and place the home on the market after any necessary repairs have been made.
  • If you want to sell but also want to lessen the work burden, you can just sell the property “as is,” including the contents.
  • Another option is to keep the property as a rental. While this choice will probably require the most work over the long term, the extra income it provides might come in very handy depending on your circumstances.

If you really love the property and the financial numbers work, you can keep the house and live in it, forever adding to what are very likely some amazing memories.

As you can see, there is no easy answer when it comes to selling an inherited house. Our best advice is to sit down with the professionals who deal with these situations every day. Please feel free to contact The Olear Team for more information.

How long does an executor have to settle an estate?

How long does an executor have to settle an estate?

It’s a reasonable question: How long does an executor have to settle an estate? The answer is also fairly straightforward: An executor can take as long as needed to settle the estate as long as he or she is fulfilling their obligations and hasn’t just walked away from the responsibility for an unreasonable amount of time.

For example, if an individual takes on the duties of executor and then takes little or no action, the beneficiaries named in the will or the court itself can take action to remove the executor and appoint someone in their place. In most cases, an estate is typically closed within a year. However, complex estates with a great deal of property and belongings can actually take several years to liquidate and close.

Remember, an executor has many responsibilities. The largest are considered to be the following:

  • Collect, inventory and appraise all the assets within the estate.
  • Pay the bills, taxes, estate expenses and creditors of the person who died.
  • Transfer property according to the will or, if there is no will, then according to the law.

Whatever the size of the estate, it’s best not to rush through the process. Rushing can cause an entirely different set of problems and delays. Did you know that an executor who improperly distributes assets from the estate before settling with creditors and paying taxes could be held personally liable? Again, it’s proof that it’s best not too rush.

When to comes to estate management and settling an estate, laws will vary from state to state. If you feel that you are perhaps moving too fast or too slow, it’s best to consult with an experienced Realtor, tax attorney or estate liquidator as they are all well-equipped to answer any questions and address any concerns that you may have. For more information or assistance, please contact The Olear Team today!

Appointing an executor of estate

Whether you call this individual an executor or a personal representative, the responsibilities are the same. Appointing an executor of estate means selecting an individual who will carry out any details relating to your last will and testament.

Typical responsibilities of an executor might include:

  • Collecting, recording and safeguarding your assets.
  • Paying your debts, expenses, bills, utilities, taxes, etc.
  • Distributing your remaining assets to any beneficiaries named in the will.

The actual responsibilities of an executor will vary by state and are governed by the probate court within that state. Working with an experienced estate attorney will always prove helpful.

It would also be helpful to utilize an executor who is skilled in financial matters and has a strong understanding of the will, any assets and the overall family situation. There are some restrictions as to who may serve as an executor, and again those restrictions will vary from state to state. The ideal candidate will also be someone who displays the following character traits:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Dependability
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills

Selecting the right person to serve as executor of an estate will ensure prompt and accurate closure of the estate. Therefore, appointing an executor of estate is a serious decision that requires much thought. For more information and advice, please do not hesitate to contact The Olear Team today!

Let’s Talk Real Estate Power of Attorney

Let’s Talk Real Estate Power of Attorney

In our industry, the phrase real estate power of attorney is one we hear quite often. Typically, there are two types of power of attorney in real estate: General and limited power of attorney.

When someone has general power of attorney, they can basically do anything the principal can do. The principal is the individual who grants power of attorney to another individual. This is a legal appointment that allows an individual to make decisions for another person regarding property and finance.

Limited power of attorney, on the other hand, gives an individual a more narrow range of powers, allowing him or her to conduct a specific transaction. Please note that laws pertaining to real estate power of attorney vary from state to state.

If power of attorney is to be used to complete a real estate transaction, you must be certain that the closing company has approved the use of power of attorney for the real estate closing. Your Realtor and/or real estate attorney can help ensure that all parties have been notified.

An individual with real estate power of attorney can:

  • Legally conduct business on behalf of another individual.
  • Enter into contracts on behalf of that individual.
  • Change legal documents related to the specified transaction.

Power of attorney is a very powerful tool, so be careful when selecting your representative and be sure to select an individual who will act in your very best interest.

For more information on real estate power of attorney, please contact The Olear Team today!