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With a revocable living trust how long do you have before you have to sell the house or be penalized?

Becker, MN |

with a revocable living trust created in May of 2005 and my mother passing away in Aug of 2009 how long do you have to settle the entire estate?? In particular I am asking about her house. Does it have to be completed within one year or just a reasonable time. Is there a specific timeline??

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Attorney answers 3


Generally, unless the trust has contrary directions, a reasonable time would be inferred. Check the terms of the trust and check with a lawyer familiar with living trusts in your area.

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My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.


The best answer to your question is likely contained within the document itself. I would recomend that you review the administrative powers contained within the trust to see how it deals with the powers of the trustee generally, and specifically relating to real property. Occasionally a trust will specify a time for disposing of real property. If it does, these specifications should be followed by the trustee. More often, the trust will give the trustee the power to retain property for as long as the trustee deems advisable, and will also contain language allowing the trustee to convey, mortgage, etc. the property. If the trust contains this type of language, the trustee will have the flexibility to keep the proeprty for a reasonable period of time, and will not be held to normal probabe standards.


The first thing you need to do is read the trust. Trusts can be customized to provide for almost any type of disposition that the grantor wants. The grantor (the person who made the trust) could provide for the house to be kept for 30 years and then given to charity. Or it might say, sell it as soon as you can and give the money to my niece. You can not tell without reading the trust.

Once you have read the trust, then you can investigate the rules for accomplishing the tasks that the grantor established. There are some plans that are not allowed legally. A gift that discriminates based on race is illegal in most states. Other plans where they may be impossible factually (a gift to a company or a charity that no longer exists, for example). this is all governed by the law of the deceased person's residence at the time of death.

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hope this helps.
James Oberholtzer is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the States of Illinois, Oregon and Washington. He has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Portland, Oregon. His law practice focuses on estate planning, probate administration, family succession planning, tax,real estate and tax exempt organizations.

The foregoing statements do not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.