If you've recently suffered the unexpected loss of your last living parent, you may be having trouble handling the variety of administrative matters that arise whenever anyone passes away without a clearly-communicated plan in place. While a probate administrator can often be an invaluable resource to help sort through your parent's unpaid debts and capital assets, some Michigan heirs are upset after their loved ones' homes were sold even while the heirs were making regular tax payments. Read on to learn more about the powers of probate administrators and how you can keep your parents' home even after death.

When can a probate administrator sell a decedent's home?

Often, particularly in cases where the homeowner has passed away suddenly or unexpectedly, his or her home will still be subject to a mortgage. It can take just a few months of missed mortgage payments before the lender files a complaint to foreclose the property. 

In addition, if a home's property taxes aren't escrowed and paid by the mortgage lender on a regular basis, a missed tax payment or two could subject the home to a lien by the county. This lien must be satisfied before the home can be sold or transferred, and the county may eventually move for a tax sale to satisfy this obligation.

When a probate administrator has been appointed to your parent's estate, he or she is permitted to take any actions necessary to move the estate toward closure – liquidating assets, paying off debts, and dividing property among the named heirs. Often, this can include selling the decedent's home, especially if there is a danger of mortgage or tax foreclosure looming in the near future. 

What should you do if you want to keep your parent's home after his or her death?  

The key to maintaining your parent's home is to obtain agreement from all the other potential heirs. If your siblings have no interest in the home and would rather have the cash from its sale, the probate administrator may pursue this path – especially if it's unlikely you'll receive enough of an inheritance to "buy out" your siblings' portion. 

However, if you and any other heirs can maintain a united front and avoid consenting to the sale of your parent's home, you may be able to keep it – as long as mortgage and property tax payments are timely made. Because the estate can make these payments on your parent's behalf, you may want to avoid pouring your own money into back taxes and mortgage payments, but you should have grounds to require these payments from the probate administrator (unless the estate is insolvent, in which case sale is almost inevitable). Talk with someone like Davis and Mathis for more help.