Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

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Miriam2
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Miriam2 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:59 pm

F150HD wrote:
Shackleton wrote:
F150HD wrote:
It's simply crazy that you guys have kept an unoccupied, uninsured house for five years already.

I am curious what the insurance agent for this home says about the house being unoccupied? (despite family being nearby) . . .

Uninsured houses don't have insurance agents or companies that worry about the occupancy status. :D

I didn't say the house was uninsured, someone else did.

The OP states - in his original post - that the house is uninsured - and that it is located in Florida.

Payoffhouse wrote:8. House not insured as not required once house is paid-off.
9. The house is in Florida.

AlwaysBeClimbing
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:00 pm

I'd see if I could obtain a 'Vacant Home Insurance Policy' while getting this sorted out, which may take a while.

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celia
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by celia » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:02 am

JGoneRiding wrote:I don't think you are looking at much in legal fees. It's a very straight fwd situation. 3 owners want to sale. You hire a lawyer, judge order sale. It's actually not overly complicated. It's the only option. Besides abandonment. It's a very clean legal option because it has good solid precident so less expensive

There have been several comments about the legal fees eating up the value of the house. But I don't see that either. This seems like a simple case and the "keepers" likely won't hire a lawyer because they don't have the money. Even if they did see a lawyer, their lawyer would likely explain how the judges usually rule in these cases (ie, to sell).

My question to BHs, is who has experience in this type of lawsuit, what were the total costs related to the lawsuit, did it depend on the value of the property, and in what state was the house in?

OP, Can you get the other two "sellers" to agree to the legal costs being split 3 ways (or ask the lawyer if it can be a 5-way split)? Can you collectively round up the up-front payments and afford the total costs, on the slim chance you would lose? Or get the lawyer to agree to no fee if he should lose (don't know if this is possible/ethical, but could be asked)?

boglephreak
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by boglephreak » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:14 am

FIREchief wrote:
boglephreak wrote:partition sale.


What exactly is this, and will it provide more cash than my suggestion, to the OP, when all is said and done? (don't forget legal fees)

partition sale is how joint owners of a property remove the joint ownership legally when they cant agree on how to do it. it is not the cheapest way and will not net the most money to the owners of the property especially if lawyers get involved. but this is what you need to do when people arent reasonable.

i just got done litigating an extremely contentious and expensive partition sale. it cost too much and took too much time (and the siblings hate each other), but at least one of the owners was completely unreasonable, and it had to be done.

i would suggest working it out without litigation, but sometimes litigation is the only option.

boglephreak
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by boglephreak » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:36 am

celia wrote:
JGoneRiding wrote:I don't think you are looking at much in legal fees. It's a very straight fwd situation. 3 owners want to sale. You hire a lawyer, judge order sale. It's actually not overly complicated. It's the only option. Besides abandonment. It's a very clean legal option because it has good solid precident so less expensive

There have been several comments about the legal fees eating up the value of the house. But I don't see that either. This seems like a simple case and the "keepers" likely won't hire a lawyer because they don't have the money. Even if they did see a lawyer, their lawyer would likely explain how the judges usually rule in these cases (ie, to sell).

My question to BHs, is who has experience in this type of lawsuit, what were the total costs related to the lawsuit, did it depend on the value of the property, and in what state was the house in?

OP, Can you get the other two "sellers" to agree to the legal costs being split 3 ways (or ask the lawyer if it can be a 5-way split)? Can you collectively round up the up-front payments and afford the total costs, on the slim chance you would lose? Or get the lawyer to agree to no fee if he should lose (don't know if this is possible/ethical, but could be asked)?

california lawyer. nothing is simple with the law. even if there is no dispute (which is impossible because you wouldnt file litigation), there are still legal issues that need to be addressed before the judge will order a partition sale, and judges are careful usually. partition sales arent even the default by the way, partition in kind is, but highly unlikely in this situation. a court would likely order a sale.

i did a partition sale recently and it was in the mid five figures for my legal fees. i believe the partition referee's legal fees were also in the mid five figures, so total low six figures. referee fees were a few thousand. all in california. there were extenuating circumstances and fights, but no actual trial, so this is probably a middle of the road case.

in california, legal costs are taken out of the sale of the home (party lawyers are discretionary by judge, but my fees were reimbursed; referee costs are not discretionary, they are paid).

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celia
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by celia » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:03 am

Ouch! (I live in California, too.)

Minty
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Minty » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:14 am

Just a thought: Could the siblings agree to rent it, as a way of paying for maintenance and insurance, and once it is cash-flowing, funds for a mortgage or division might become available.

Swimmer
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Swimmer » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:26 am

Have you and the other "seller" clearly communicated the financial liability you all share on this uninsured house? Since you sellers are the ones with deep pockets, you would likely be hurt most in the event of a suit. Perhaps your siblings don't understand this.

I was involved with two siblings with an inherited house. The house was insured but we were told the insurance company would no longer insure it once it was vacant one year.

My siblings weren't married to the house but couldn't be bothered to make a decision. When I laid it on thick about liabilities attached to the ownership, they agreed and we sold it. My situation wasn't contentious like yours but it did require taking the bull by the horns.

Our nephew purchased it at a bargain price. We were all happy about this.

Had it not worked out this way, I was ready to give my share to my siblings just to get my name off the deed. As the one who always ended up responsible for everything, the situation was keeping me up at night.

I guess my message is communication is key. Good luck.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:33 am

So much good advice given. Here is my rough plan.

1. First thing I need to do is speak to other siblings and buy home owner's insurance. Please excuse my ignorance, but if there is an accident at the house can the person injured go after my personal assets?

2. Maybe make 1 last attempt to speak to "keepers" about selling house. I think it's a waste of my time and it will just cause more aggravation.

3. Get a consultation with a partition lawyer to see what are my options.

To answer some questions:
1. The other 2 sellers and I do not plan to just gift away our 1/5 share.
2. "Keepers" do not have the financial means and /or credit to secure a mortgage. Like someone stated in the thread "cash-short and sentiment-rich".
3. Agree 5 years is way too long to not take action. No action was taken because sellers did not want to hurt the keepers feelings. But I think now it's a different story since some of the siblings are not on speaking terms. How much worse can it get?
4. As some have suggested maybe it's a good idea to stop contributing $$$ for the house?
5. I personally do not want to be a landlord been there done that.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:50 am

celia wrote:What if someone (either sibling or stranger) gets hurt on the property and sues?

What if one person dies? Does their share go to their spouse or kids or to the other siblings? Is it a situation of last person standing owns the house? (Ie, this favors the younger people)

Have you guys even talked about these things? If so, get it in writing and have everyone sign it.

Those "good memories" may soon turn into a nightmare.


These are some questions that I will have to ask partition lawyer because I have no idea.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:52 am

celia wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:The siblings who want to keep the house are in bad financial situation. I do not think they would qualify for a mortgage.

What if the "sellers" get together and agree to give the "keepers" an extra $10K from the proceeds if they will go along with the sale. Make the offer good for only a short time, say 2 weeks. If need be, raise the incentive a little more. Explain to the "keepers" why it is in their best interest to sell. They can use their money for x, y, z, or save it for retirement or whatever you think will work. Don't make it sound like they are losing something, but gaining something.

Then sell. Your objective would be to get a reasonable amount of money out of the sale without incurring extra expenses and liability. Have one of the "sellers" be in charge of speaking to a realtor on the group's behalf.


They have zero interest in sellling.

gmc4h232
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by gmc4h232 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:54 am

I understand logic doesn't always prevail when sentiment and nostalgia are involved, but surely the threat of a partition sale would make them realize that they can work with you, get the house sold quickly and split all the proceeds, or get a lawyer involved and achieve the same end result and end up with less money in their pockets.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:55 am

aristotelian wrote:Could you sell your share at a discount to the seller group? Wouldn't solve the problem of the house but it would get you out of it.


Ill ask this question to a lawyer maybe I can sell my share to a third party and let them deal with the headache.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:01 am

TigerNest wrote:What if you take out a line of credit and use that cash to buy out the parties that don't want to own it? The ones that do want to own the house are left with a reasonable mortgage payment.


If I take out a line of credit I would left holding the bag when the keepers do not pay me because of their financial situation.

2pedals
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by 2pedals » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:08 am

Payoffhouse wrote:So much good advice given. Here is my rough plan.

1. First thing I need to do is speak to other siblings and buy home owner's insurance. Please excuse my ignorance, but if there is an accident at the house can the person injured go after my personal assets?

yes, someone can sue you and your siblings

2. Maybe make 1 last attempt to speak to "keepers" about selling house. I think it's a waste of my time and it will just cause more aggravation.

I agree

3. Get a consultation with a partition lawyer to see what are my options.

Let me suggest you get an agreement from your siblings how the legal fees will be paid

To answer some questions:
1. The other 2 sellers and I do not plan to just gift away our 1/5 share.
2. "Keepers" do not have the financial means and /or credit to secure a mortgage. Like someone stated in the thread "cash-short and sentiment-rich".
3. Agree 5 years is way too long to not take action. No action was taken because sellers did not want to hurt the keepers feelings. But I think now it's a different story since some of the siblings are not on speaking terms. How much worse can it get?

I am sorry that this is happening, but maybe eventually this rancor could be healed over time if your siblings reach out to each other. After a legal battle, I would expect this would be much more difficult, if not impossible.

4. As some have suggested maybe it's a good idea to stop contributing $$$ for the house?

Let me ask, has suggestion been fully considered as an option for leverage? If the unwilling seller were forced to pay their fair share would that change their mind to selling the house, since it would cost them more in the long run?

5. I personally do not want to be a landlord been there done that.

Dottie57
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:09 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
TigerNest wrote:What if you take out a line of credit and use that cash to buy out the parties that don't want to own it? The ones that do want to own the house are left with a reasonable mortgage payment.


If I take out a line of credit I would left holding the bag when the keepers do not pay me because of their financial situation.



So sorry you have knuckleheads in the family. Partition sale.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:11 am

Lexi wrote:Sometimes you just have to accept that siblings are not likely to have good relationships in the future. Make a good offer to sell your share to the keepers or buy the keepers out and then sell. If they don't agree then go to court and force the sale. Giving relatives time to adjust is important but they have had too long already ( I gave my sibling a few extra months to figure out how to proceed but not five years). At this point whatever $ you get out of it is a plus -- don't get hung up on maximizing return. This asset is deteriorating and declining in value as it sits empty and untended and presents potential liability to you.


Good idea I might consider selling my share to "sellers" at a discount. But a question for a lawyer would be, does my share get divided evenly btw all siblings or does it go to only the buyers? I doubt buyers will want to buy and not receive my entire share.
Last edited by Payoffhouse on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:19 am

Afull wrote:Interesting thread. How about getting an appraisal then the five of you go to an attorney together who can explain all the possible options. The attorney should also explain the risks of having a house sitting empty, uninsured, in disrepair, and in arrears on taxes.

Just a thought.


An appraisal would not motivate the keepers. Doubt I would be able to get all 5 siblings in a room talking to a lawyer.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:24 am

ddurrett896 wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:Background info:

4. The siblings who want to keep house do not have the financial means to "buy-out" the other siblings.
5. The house is somewhat in average shape but rapidly deteriorating.

The siblings who do not want to sell are pretty adamant about it and basically have "over my dead body" attitude. Relationtionship between the siblings have been pretty strained lately.

So my questions is what are my options if I want to sell?


The barrier is they are somehow attached to the house. Being attached, I would focus on two things:

1) If they are so attached to the house, why let it deteriorate or risk losing to storm/fire because of no insurance?
2) They have no means to buy out the other siblings meaning they won't ever live in the house.

I'm in a house that was owned by my wife's grandmother and went thru the same situation with 4 siblings. Some wanted to keep in the family and sell at a discount - others want to sell at market rate which would require work that nobody wants to pay for. At the end it worked, but wasn't easy.

My advice would be to focus on why the house should be maintained, for sentiment and potential resale, and hope they have a change of mind. For someone with little to no money, $50,000 can sway an opinion especially if something they want is out of reach.


Good points but in order to think like them you have to think somewhat illogically on why so attached but yet house uninsured and deteriorating.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:29 am

dm200 wrote:
Logic and reason have nothing to do with these situations.


Exactly. I suspect that the holdouts (with no money) are the type that you cannot tell anything. The only way they learn the stove is hot is by getting their hands burned. Then they might even blame you.


You hit the nail on the head.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:33 am

mrc wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:Background info:
2. Mom's house was transferred to all 5 sons/ daughters during probate (father passed away 10 years ago).
4. The siblings who want to keep house do not have the financial means to "buy-out" the other siblings.
5. The house is somewhat in average shape but rapidly deteriorating.
7. Property taxes are paid but usually late.
8. House not insured as not required once house is paid-off.
9. The house is in Florida.

The siblings who do not want to sell are pretty adamant about it and basically have "over my dead body" attitude. Relationship between the siblings have been pretty strained lately.

[attachment is sentimental]

So my questions is what are my options if I want to sell?


Been there. Done that.

Your parents are gone. The siblings that are against a sale hanging on like this is not rational and could be for any number of reasons. The siblings that are against a sale must each immediately begin paying 1/5th of upkeep, insurance, and property tax OR buy the house from the two that don't want to own a part house OR consent to a sale. The sale can be a partition if necessary (e.g., forced, but that will lower the proceeds — which may help siblings let go).

The risk of loosing the home slowly, over time, to deterioration or vandalism is no way to honor mom and dad. The risk of liability (at least for the siblings with means) for an uninsured house are great and need fixing now. Use the leverage you can gain from the other two sale-friendly siblings to form the plan to a) pay upkeep, b) buy it, or c) sell it. And the house can't stand empty for long either but I'm assuming you have little interest in being a landlord. So option "c" emerges as the betion option all around. Selling out doesn't mean the resistant siblings love the parents any less.

Once the sale is settled, any lingering bad feelings were likely there before, and would likely be there no matter what happens with the house.


Good points all across. When you went thru similar experience, how did it get resolved ?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by bayview » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:33 am

General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?
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Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:37 am

deltaneutral83 wrote:
mouses wrote:I would like to point out a thing here. The people who are saying to go to the mat to get $50,000 (right it will be less than $50,000 and might even be negative if there is an accident) have, I suspect, never been in a situation like the OP's. Those of us who have are saying the enormous stress is not worth it. People have heart attacks over stuff like this.


I think most people probably would say it's prudent to act with intentionality, one way or the other. Kicking the can down the road for 60 months is beneficial to no one, well except to the people that get to use the house and only pay 20% of the taxes. Force the sell, or give it up, who cares, the 3 "Sells" need to make the move. The 2 "keeps" have a grand situation by having 3 affluent siblings foot 60% of the tax bill. I bet if the OP wanted a key to the house and wanted to spend a few nights there for Christmas or whatever it wouldn't exactly go smoothly with the two "keeps." It's certainly a case study for why you never divide up RE or CRE. I avoid drama with every fiber but I always am fascinated with the fact that it always seems the cash strapped are the ones who are the most sentimental, like the real estate represents a significant portion of their very existence even though it's been 5 years. I truly feel for those souls.


You are right, things didn't go smoothly when one the sellers wanted to paint the house and change lawn guys.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by WhyNotUs » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:41 am

Letter signed by the three willing sellers stating

1.) Majority owners desire to sell
2.) Understand sentimental value but there are other concerns
3.) Remaining owners have 60 days to make an offer to majority or property goes on the market
4.) Proceeds to be split evenly assuming that everyone is equally vested in work/expenses needed to prepare it for sale
5.) Would like to have one last family gathering there in advance of sale to say good bye to home.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:45 am

boglephreak wrote:
celia wrote:
JGoneRiding wrote:I don't think you are looking at much in legal fees. It's a very straight fwd situation. 3 owners want to sale. You hire a lawyer, judge order sale. It's actually not overly complicated. It's the only option. Besides abandonment. It's a very clean legal option because it has good solid precident so less expensive

There have been several comments about the legal fees eating up the value of the house. But I don't see that either. This seems like a simple case and the "keepers" likely won't hire a lawyer because they don't have the money. Even if they did see a lawyer, their lawyer would likely explain how the judges usually rule in these cases (ie, to sell).

My question to BHs, is who has experience in this type of lawsuit, what were the total costs related to the lawsuit, did it depend on the value of the property, and in what state was the house in?

OP, Can you get the other two "sellers" to agree to the legal costs being split 3 ways (or ask the lawyer if it can be a 5-way split)? Can you collectively round up the up-front payments and afford the total costs, on the slim chance you would lose? Or get the lawyer to agree to no fee if he should lose (don't know if this is possible/ethical, but could be asked)?

california lawyer. nothing is simple with the law. even if there is no dispute (which is impossible because you wouldnt file litigation), there are still legal issues that need to be addressed before the judge will order a partition sale, and judges are careful usually. partition sales arent even the default by the way, partition in kind is, but highly unlikely in this situation. a court would likely order a sale.

i did a partition sale recently and it was in the mid five figures for my legal fees. i believe the partition referee's legal fees were also in the mid five figures, so total low six figures. referee fees were a few thousand. all in california. there were extenuating circumstances and fights, but no actual trial, so this is probably a middle of the road case.

in california, legal costs are taken out of the sale of the home (party lawyers are discretionary by judge, but my fees were reimbursed; referee costs are not discretionary, they are paid).


Are the lawyer fees dependent on the value of the house and or number of siblings? If you don't mind me asking, around how much was the house worth?
Last edited by Payoffhouse on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:51 am

Swimmer wrote:Have you and the other "seller" clearly communicated the financial liability you all share on this uninsured house? Since you sellers are the ones with deep pockets, you would likely be hurt most in the event of a suit. Perhaps your siblings don't understand this.

I was involved with two siblings with an inherited house. The house was insured but we were told the insurance company would no longer insure it once it was vacant one year.

My siblings weren't married to the house but couldn't be bothered to make a decision. When I laid it on thick about liabilities attached to the ownership, they agreed and we sold it. My situation wasn't contentious like yours but it did require taking the bull by the horns.

Our nephew purchased it at a bargain price. We were all happy about this.

Had it not worked out this way, I was ready to give my share to my siblings just to get my name off the deed. As the one who always ended up responsible for everything, the situation was keeping me up at night.

I guess my message is communication is key. Good luck.


No, it has not been clearly communicated, but I really doubt it will matter. I could tell them NASA has predicted an asteroid is going to hit the house tomorrow and I do not think they will blink.

SeekingAPlan
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by SeekingAPlan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:02 am

Are Mom's things still in the house? Did the items in storage belong to her? If yes, it would be a step in the right direction to distribute these sentimental items and make the house impersonal. The more it can become just another house the better.

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samsoes
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by samsoes » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:10 am

I know this is now a moot point regarding the OP's situation, and in no way do I want to hijack the thread, but could have this been avoided if the Executor (while still being probated, assuming the Executor was one of the siblings) sold the house before the title passed jointly to the 5 heirs, despite the keepers' objections? If it was sold in probate, then the heirs would receive the sale proceeds when the estate was settled.

Does the Executor's ability to sell depend on the language in the Will (non-specifically simply bequeathing everything to 5 kids, or specifically leaving the house to the 5 kids)?

As another poster mentioned, deepest sympathies to the OP and family for their loss, and for their current ordeal. But, if the lesson-learned for the rest of us could be avoiding such a mess by anticipating such a situation and preemptively selling while in probate, it would be a good planning strategy.
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Lexi » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:16 am

bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


You can write a will or trust that says all real property should be sold after giving the heirs a chance to make an offer for it. You could put in whatever conditions you want including requiring acceptance of the highest such offer as long as it is at least x% of appraised value.

The OP's mother may have died without a will. In that case I would say each heir should request sale or buyout during probate and not accept partial ownership of the house. That seems easier than having to go to court again later.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by ChrisC » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:25 am

bayview wrote: What if the real estate was in a trust?


You're on the right track here, but no one seems to pay attention to the obvious short term solution, which is to change the current legal ownership -- I recommended placing the property in an LLC, and to work out operating management of the property within that framework. Even if the siblings transferred their ownership interests to the LLC or trust, they could still maintain fractional membership or beneficial interests in the LLC or trust. And they could work out details of operating the property such as usage rights, real estate taxes, insurance, and general upkeep. The new legal entity could provide them with some prtoection or shield against liability claims arising from the property. If worked out, the new entity could detail a road map for transfer of the property within the family or an external sale.

Right now, the legal framework of joint ownership (and it's not clear whether it's joint tenancy with right of survivorship) makes it impossible to do anything without the complete consent of all owners, in which case the only feasible thing to do would be a partition suit (with a sale as the ultimate remedy) in such circumstances where you have siblings free-loafing off the others, where the property exposes each owner to potential liability, and where a future sale might be in the best interest of all siblings, financially.

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TimeRunner
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by TimeRunner » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:35 am

Payoffhouse, I like your rough plan. Use the money you contribute to the house to pay for an attorney consultation (partition or other solution) as your new contribution to the common cause. Nightmare!
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mrc
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by mrc » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:55 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
mrc wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:Background info:
2. Mom's house was transferred to all 5 sons/ daughters during probate (father passed away 10 years ago).
4. The siblings who want to keep house do not have the financial means to "buy-out" the other siblings.
5. The house is somewhat in average shape but rapidly deteriorating.
7. Property taxes are paid but usually late.
8. House not insured as not required once house is paid-off.
9. The house is in Florida.

The siblings who do not want to sell are pretty adamant about it and basically have "over my dead body" attitude. Relationship between the siblings have been pretty strained lately.

[attachment is sentimental]

So my questions is what are my options if I want to sell?


Been there. Done that.

Your parents are gone. The siblings that are against a sale hanging on like this is not rational and could be for any number of reasons. The siblings that are against a sale must each immediately begin paying 1/5th of upkeep, insurance, and property tax OR buy the house from the two that don't want to own a part house OR consent to a sale. The sale can be a partition if necessary (e.g., forced, but that will lower the proceeds — which may help siblings let go).

The risk of loosing the home slowly, over time, to deterioration or vandalism is no way to honor mom and dad. The risk of liability (at least for the siblings with means) for an uninsured house are great and need fixing now. Use the leverage you can gain from the other two sale-friendly siblings to form the plan to a) pay upkeep, b) buy it, or c) sell it. And the house can't stand empty for long either but I'm assuming you have little interest in being a landlord. So option "c" emerges as the betion option all around. Selling out doesn't mean the resistant siblings love the parents any less.

Once the sale is settled, any lingering bad feelings were likely there before, and would likely be there no matter what happens with the house.


Good points all across. When you went thru similar experience, how did it get resolved ?


Only three children involved: One didn't want to let go of the house. The other two didn't want the responsibility of remotely managing 1/3 of a house and/or being landlords. Very similar fact pattern: the one that wanted to keep the house couldn't pay the 1/3 share of taxes, insurance, maintenance. Only the hold out lived in the same town as the parent's house. Could not buy out the other two. House was not worth very much due to location Also the holdout did not want to live in the house (despite starting out with that as a reason).

The two that wanted out finally convinced the holdout to consent and not resist with an ultimatum to either buy them out or split the proceeds of a sale. That the house would be sold was not an issue — only who would purchase it. Holdout didn't have the means, and the other two wanted the cash (as meager as it was). There was irrational hanging on to memories and not accepting that the parents were gone now.

There is little or no contact among all three, for a variety of reasons that were well-established long before the parents died.

You sound like the one with the responsibility and ability to resolve this, so go ahead and do it.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by ChrisC » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:01 am

Lexi wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


You can write a will or trust that says all real property should be sold after giving the heirs a chance to make an offer for it. You could put in whatever conditions you want including requiring acceptance of the highest such offer as long as it is at least x% of appraised value.

The OP's mother may have died without a will. In that case I would say each heir should request sale or buyout during probate and not accept partial ownership of the house. That seems easier than having to go to court again later.


Seems to me that if the OP's property were part of the mother's estate, then mother should not have transferred the property in joint tenancy to the children -- if she had a will then the property should have been left as part of her residuary estate to be managed or sold by her Executor with proceeds of the sale going to the ultimate beneficiaries of her residuary estate, namely her chlldren. The Executor could have worked out this issue with family members, easily, as none of the beneficiaries would have substantial leverage over transferring the property within the family or outside of the family.

If the mother died without a will, then presumably the intestate laws of the relevant state dictated that the property become jointly owned by her children -- this is known as "heir property" in many states. For a single family home, where the joint owners can't agree on using or selling the property, one is stuck with the current fiasco. (Ironically, for undeveloped real estate in many rural parts of the country, where heir property is a common situation and where you might have decades of a fiasco situation, the major remedy is legal action to quiet title or a partition suit/sale, and this might be very cost efficient; for a single family home, with five siblings, the legal fees could be very high in relationship to the resulting net proceeds from the sale, especially if this is a contested proceeding, which would likely be the case.)

BTW, I would strongly suggest that OP and family enlist the services of a skilled mediator, not arbitrator before one went to lawyers. The family might be served by the intervention of a neutral facilitator.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by bayview » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:21 am

ChrisC wrote:
Lexi wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


You can write a will or trust that says all real property should be sold after giving the heirs a chance to make an offer for it. You could put in whatever conditions you want including requiring acceptance of the highest such offer as long as it is at least x% of appraised value.

The OP's mother may have died without a will. In that case I would say each heir should request sale or buyout during probate and not accept partial ownership of the house. That seems easier than having to go to court again later.


Seems to me that if the OP's property were part of the mother's estate, then mother should not have transferred the property in joint tenancy to the children -- if she had a will then the property should have been left as part of her residuary estate to be managed or sold by her Executor with proceeds of the sale going to the ultimate beneficiaries of her residuary estate, namely her chlldren. The Executor could have worked out this issue with family members, easily, as none of the beneficiaries would have substantial leverage over transferring the property within the family or outside of the family... [/b]

This is not a quibble, but another Sudden Awful Thought: what if an executor had been named, and it was one of the keepers? :shock:

I'm starting to get more perspective on Beyond the Grave. I thought it was useful but overdramatized --if nothing else, it appeared that no one in Malibu would still be speaking to one another. But the recommendation to (for instance) leave real estate to one heir if the value of the rest of the estate, divided among the remaining heirs, was pretty much equal makes a whole lot more sense now.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:24 am

WhyNotUs wrote:Letter signed by the three willing sellers stating

1.) Majority owners desire to sell
2.) Understand sentimental value but there are other concerns
3.) Remaining owners have 60 days to make an offer to majority or property goes on the market
4.) Proceeds to be split evenly assuming that everyone is equally vested in work/expenses needed to prepare it for sale
5.) Would like to have one last family gathering there in advance of sale to say good bye to home.


I might actually try this instead in order to save myself some aggravation and migraine. Does anyone have a letter templetate I could follow? I am not trying to recreate the wheel.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:28 am

bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


My advice would be to leave house to 1 person.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by SeekingAPlan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:31 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


My advice would be to leave house to 1 person.


What if the estate is small and the house represents all of it?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by delamer » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:32 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
Swimmer wrote:Have you and the other "seller" clearly communicated the financial liability you all share on this uninsured house? Since you sellers are the ones with deep pockets, you would likely be hurt most in the event of a suit. Perhaps your siblings don't understand this.

I was involved with two siblings with an inherited house. The house was insured but we were told the insurance company would no longer insure it once it was vacant one year.

My siblings weren't married to the house but couldn't be bothered to make a decision. When I laid it on thick about liabilities attached to the ownership, they agreed and we sold it. My situation wasn't contentious like yours but it did require taking the bull by the horns.

Our nephew purchased it at a bargain price. We were all happy about this.

Had it not worked out this way, I was ready to give my share to my siblings just to get my name off the deed. As the one who always ended up responsible for everything, the situation was keeping me up at night.

I guess my message is communication is key. Good luck.


No, it has not been clearly communicated, but I really doubt it will matter. I could tell them NASA has predicted an asteroid is going to hit the house tomorrow and I do not think they will blink.


I congratulate you on keeping a sense of humor about this whole mess!

As it happens, my husband and I are meeting with our attorney tomorrow to sign updated wills (due to an inheritance that I received). I am going to make sure that I understand how our wills address the sale of our home. We have two kids and each would inherit enough liquid assets to buy out the other one, so our situation is a bit different.

But anything we can do in advance, we should. Better have them mad at us when we are gone than in conflict with each other.

So your posting about this may have done some greater good. Thanks.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:34 am

SeekingAPlan wrote:Are Mom's things still in the house? Did the items in storage belong to her? If yes, it would be a step in the right direction to distribute these sentimental items and make the house impersonal. The more it can become just another house the better.


Yes, mom's things are in the house. Other siblings are using house for their own personal storage space. The keepers would go "ape sh*t" if mom's things were distributed. Some of us tried to distribute some items only to have a big fight with keepers.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Miakis » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:35 am

I would give the siblings 60 days to come up with the money to buy me out and tell them if they don't meet the deadline, I will force a partition sale. I'd set my asking price at a slight discount, but not an extreme discount. Then I'd have an attorney ready to file the motion immediately upon the expiration of the deadline.

I was in a similar situation with an inheritance. My mother had custody of property that was worth $35,000 that was left to me as an inheritance, but refused to release it to me because she wanted to keep it for emotional reasons. She was not willing to compensate me for it.

Maybe I'm callous and have no sense of family, but the moment she basically tried to steal an inheritance from me, it set me against just giving it up to her. I didn't need the money, but I wasn't willing to be emotionally blackmailed in that way. She gave it up after I threatened to get a lawyer, so it ended fairly easily.

It was a strain on the relationship - but again, for me the strain was created when she decided to keep it. The keepers have essentially stolen the OP's inheritance. They are refusing to let him have his share and they are refusing to compensate him for it. They are also acting in a way that is allowing its value to deteriorate. Why would he give it up for family harmony? There is no family harmony when your family members start stealing from you and generally act against your interests while unfairly choosing not to compensate you for what they're taking.

It's not like his siblings don't understand what they're doing. They're not ignorant. They have just decided that they deserve to have their way more than the OP deserves his inheritance. The damage to family relationships is done.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:36 am

samsoes wrote:I know this is now a moot point regarding the OP's situation, and in no way do I want to hijack the thread, but could have this been avoided if the Executor (while still being probated, assuming the Executor was one of the siblings) sold the house before the title passed jointly to the 5 heirs, despite the keepers' objections? If it was sold in probate, then the heirs would receive the sale proceeds when the estate was settled.

Does the Executor's ability to sell depend on the language in the Will (non-specifically simply bequeathing everything to 5 kids, or specifically leaving the house to the 5 kids)?

As another poster mentioned, deepest sympathies to the OP and family for their loss, and for their current ordeal. But, if the lesson-learned for the rest of us could be avoiding such a mess by anticipating such a situation and preemptively selling while in probate, it would be a good planning strategy.


Yes, this could have been avoided during probate. Lawyer gave us the option not to be on the title.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:38 am

Lexi wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


You can write a will or trust that says all real property should be sold after giving the heirs a chance to make an offer for it. You could put in whatever conditions you want including requiring acceptance of the highest such offer as long as it is at least x% of appraised value.

The OP's mother may have died without a will. In that case I would say each heir should request sale or buyout during probate and not accept partial ownership of the house. That seems easier than having to go to court again later.


Yes, mom passed away without a will. During probate we were given the option.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:40 am

ChrisC wrote:
bayview wrote: What if the real estate was in a trust?


You're on the right track here, but no one seems to pay attention to the obvious short term solution, which is to change the current legal ownership -- I recommended placing the property in an LLC, and to work out operating management of the property within that framework. Even if the siblings transferred their ownership interests to the LLC or trust, they could still maintain fractional membership or beneficial interests in the LLC or trust. And they could work out details of operating the property such as usage rights, real estate taxes, insurance, and general upkeep. The new legal entity could provide them with some prtoection or shield against liability claims arising from the property. If worked out, the new entity could detail a road map for transfer of the property within the family or an external sale.

Right now, the legal framework of joint ownership (and it's not clear whether it's joint tenancy with right of survivorship) makes it impossible to do anything without the complete consent of all owners, in which case the only feasible thing to do would be a partition suit (with a sale as the ultimate remedy) in such circumstances where you have siblings free-loafing off the others, where the property exposes each owner to potential liability, and where a future sale might be in the best interest of all siblings, financially.


I don't think this an option as keepers will not agree to put house in an LLC.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by aristotelian » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:43 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
WhyNotUs wrote:Letter signed by the three willing sellers stating

1.) Majority owners desire to sell
2.) Understand sentimental value but there are other concerns
3.) Remaining owners have 60 days to make an offer to majority or property goes on the market
4.) Proceeds to be split evenly assuming that everyone is equally vested in work/expenses needed to prepare it for sale
5.) Would like to have one last family gathering there in advance of sale to say good bye to home.


I might actually try this instead in order to save myself some aggravation and migraine. Does anyone have a letter templetate I could follow? I am not trying to recreate the wheel.


The problem is, I don't think you have the power to make #3 happen without lawyering-up, otherwise you would have done that already.
Last edited by aristotelian on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by bayview » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:44 am

I'm still trying to imagine what the keepers' reaction would be if the house burned down (with all of mom's stuff plus whatever they've crammed in there.)

They are taking irrationality to whole new heights.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:45 am

ChrisC wrote:
Lexi wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


You can write a will or trust that says all real property should be sold after giving the heirs a chance to make an offer for it. You could put in whatever conditions you want including requiring acceptance of the highest such offer as long as it is at least x% of appraised value.

The OP's mother may have died without a will. In that case I would say each heir should request sale or buyout during probate and not accept partial ownership of the house. That seems easier than having to go to court again later.


Seems to me that if the OP's property were part of the mother's estate, then mother should not have transferred the property in joint tenancy to the children -- if she had a will then the property should have been left as part of her residuary estate to be managed or sold by her Executor with proceeds of the sale going to the ultimate beneficiaries of her residuary estate, namely her chlldren. The Executor could have worked out this issue with family members, easily, as none of the beneficiaries would have substantial leverage over transferring the property within the family or outside of the family.

If the mother died without a will, then presumably the intestate laws of the relevant state dictated that the property become jointly owned by her children -- this is known as "heir property" in many states. For a single family home, where the joint owners can't agree on using or selling the property, one is stuck with the current fiasco. (Ironically, for undeveloped real estate in many rural parts of the country, where heir property is a common situation and where you might have decades of a fiasco situation, the major remedy is legal action to quiet title or a partition suit/sale, and this might be very cost efficient; for a single family home, with five siblings, the legal fees could be very high in relationship to the resulting net proceeds from the sale, especially if this is a contested proceeding, which would likely be the case.)

BTW, I would strongly suggest that OP and family enlist the services of a skilled mediator, not arbitrator before one went to lawyers. The family might be served by the intervention of a neutral facilitator.


I'll google mediator the area. Do they charge by the hour or by the job?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:45 am

but no one seems to pay attention to the obvious short term solution, which is to change the current legal ownership -- I recommended placing the property in an LLC, and to work out operating management of the property within that framework. Even if the siblings transferred their ownership interests to the LLC or trust, they could still maintain fractional membership or beneficial interests in the LLC or trust.


Entering into an LLC with broke unreasonable people you are not on speaking terms with sounds less than obvious to me. Break the business relationship by selling the house, then maybe the family relationships can start to heal.

I also like the suggestions to "force" the keepers to pay their share. Some people have never encountered leeches, I guess.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Payoffhouse » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:47 am

SeekingAPlan wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


My advice would be to leave house to 1 person.


What if the estate is small and the house represents all of it?
Do your kids a favor and leave it to only 1.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Lexi » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:51 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
WhyNotUs wrote:Letter signed by the three willing sellers stating

1.) Majority owners desire to sell
2.) Understand sentimental value but there are other concerns
3.) Remaining owners have 60 days to make an offer to majority or property goes on the market
4.) Proceeds to be split evenly assuming that everyone is equally vested in work/expenses needed to prepare it for sale
5.) Would like to have one last family gathering there in advance of sale to say good bye to home.


I might actually try this instead in order to save myself some aggravation and migraine. Does anyone have a letter templetate I could follow? I am not trying to recreate the wheel.


I like this plan, recognizing that it may be mostly to show a good faith effort to resolve the situation if you have to take legal steps to force the sale. Therefore, it might be best to consult an attorney before presenting the letter. A written proposal showing that you have consulted an attorney might get the keepers' attention. I have been in a situation involving an unreasonable sibling after the parents' deaths and such a letter did bring the situation to a resolution, not an ideal one but dealing with the major problems. Years later the siblings have a relationship that is not warm but also not frigid, mostly because the others all feel sorry for the problem child.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by mrc » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:53 am

SeekingAPlan wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:
bayview wrote:General question to the knowledgeable posters who have commented:

What (besides deep sympathy to OP) is the take-away from this for others? Can you write something in your Will stating that the heirs have a certain period of time (six months, 11 months, whatever) to sell the real property, whether to one or more heirs or to an outsider? What if the real estate was in a trust?


My advice would be to leave house to 1 person.


What if the estate is small and the house represents all of it?


Stipulate the real assets be sold and the proceeds distributed in some fashion (equally, 50/25/25, whatever). No one wants 1/nth of a house.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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