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cwirth

How do I find out if probate attorney has conflict of interest in sale of my late mothers real property

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What resources would I use to find out if a small town attorney, hired for probate purposes, has a conflict of interest in the matter? Is it normal to have only one appraisal of real property before a private sale? My mother died intestate, and, with her credit card debt, the attorney must sell her home to pay the debt. Attorney had one appraisal from a local realtor and is recommending a less than half the value private sale. My brother, who lives in the rural area in which the property is located, is administrator, but he pretty much abandoned the place with no  electricity or water. Is this proper behavior for an estate admin? I live across the country and would like to deal with this, but have limited financial resources. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Thank you.

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What resources would I use to find out if a small town attorney, hired for probate purposes, has a conflict of interest in the matter?

 

Ummm...ask him or her.  Of course, unless you have some reason to suspect a conflict (and nothing in your post suggests this), I'm not sure why you'd even inquire about it.

 

 

 

Is it normal to have only one appraisal of real property before a private sale?

 

Most sales of real property are done without the seller obtaining any appraisal, and the listing price is typically selected based on the recommendation of a local real estate professional.  The buyer's bank probably will obtain an appraisal.  While I don't know what the custom and practice in the mortgage lending industry is, I suspect most lenders only obtain only one appraisal.

 

 

 

My mother died intestate, and, with her credit card debt, the attorney must sell her home to pay the debt. Attorney had one appraisal from a local realtor and is recommending a less than half the value private sale. My brother, who lives in the rural area in which the property is located, is administrator, but he pretty much abandoned the place with no  electricity or water. Is this proper behavior for an estate admin?

 

Your statement that "the attorney must sell her home" isn't correct.  Your brother, the administrator, has that responsibility.  What is the basis for your statement that the recommended sale price is "less than half the value"?  Are you saying that he's recommending to your brother that your brother list the property for less than half of the appraised value?  If so, your brother obviously should be discussing with the attorney why the attorney made that recommendation.  As far as your brother "abandon[ing] the place with no electricity or water," unless someone lives in the residence, why would electricity or water be needed?

 

 

 

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

 

Based on what you posted, yes, but clarification of the relevant facts may change that answer.

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I'd want to know details about how private sale came about and why a realtor is involved if property not being listed in normal course. A realtor doesn't do (bona fide) real estate appraisals. An appraisal isn't required. I'd look askance at private sale at 50% of market value.

I'd put bro' on written notice that he can be held personally liable for going along with shenanigans.

You may be able to afford a polite but firm letter from a NC attorney to brother and estate atty. But unless there is potential for money to you after estate debt is covered with a FMV sale, I wouldn't bother.

I wouldn't want to kep house in dark without heat for very long, though I would turn off water and drain pipes.

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In some states, realtors are not allowed to perform appraisals themselves as this is a conflict of interest, such as in WA State. 

 

I've never heard of a realtor actually doing an appraisal.  However, when they are getting ready to list a property, they will generally run comps and make a recommendation to the seller regarding the listing price.

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...I'd look askance at private sale at 50% of market value.

I'd put bro' on written notice that he can be held personally liable for going along with shenanigans.

...

I wouldn't want to kep house in dark without heat for very long, though I would turn off water and drain pipes.

 

The OP mentions that the brother has pretty much abandoned the property.  The fact that electric and water were turned off and property may be sold for 50% of market value is pretty shady.  If such actions (turning off utilities) results in damage to pipes (if not drained or winterized), water heaters or mold formation (say after terrible winter weather) can the Administrator be held accountalbe for the loss of value of the property?  What is required as "proof" of value loss?

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If such actions (turning off utilities) results in damage to pipes (if not drained or winterized), water heaters or mold formation (say after terrible winter weather) can the Administrator be held accountalbe for the loss of value of the property?

 

If, in fact, the actions or inactions of the administrator result in the property losing value, it is possible that he might be held personally liable.

 

 

 

What is required as "proof" of value loss?

 

Expert witness testimony probably would be needed.

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