Estates are exempt from seller’s disclosure forms | Just Ask Jan

Dear Jan: We recently lost our daughter. We have been told that we need to sell her home to settle her estate.

Dear Jan: We recently lost our daughter.  We have been told that we need to sell her home to settle her estate.   We know so little about the house as it is in a different town than ours.  We don’t want to misrepresent things but are at a loss as to how to fill out the seller’s disclosure statement; marking “don’t know” on each box doesn’t feel right. Have you dealt with this issue before and what do you suggest?  — GW

Dear GW: First, my condolences. I am sorry for your loss.

In regards to the seller’s disclosure form, I have good news for you; estates are exempt from filling them out. They are exempt for the very reason you talked about: How can you answer questions about the home when you did not own it or live in it? The state law took that into consideration when it was created.

For other readers, let me explain. The form has check boxes next to each question, i.e. Has the roof leaked within the last five years? The boxes are for Yes, No or Don’t Know.

I always tell my sellers, “What you don’t know you can’t be sued for. What you do know and hide, that is a different issue. Fill out the form to the best of your knowledge.”

It is a good law that protects the buyer. A buyer has three days from the receipt of the form to rescind from the transaction if they don’t like what is disclosed in the statement.

Choose a good real estate broker to help you through the process. I hope this puts your mind at ease. 
— Jan

— Jan Zufelt is a real estate columnist for the Kingston Community News. Contact her at