Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

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

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:06 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
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.

Will should say sell the house and split the proceeds. Heirs can buy if they have the money.

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

Post by 2pedals » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:10 am

mrc wrote:
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.
+1, mom needed is a will written as such to avoid this issue. Legally the executor is responsible to distribute the money or property according to the terms.
Last edited by 2pedals on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Index Fan
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Index Fan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:11 am

I'd urge people not to leave joint custody of property to family members. Such things often bring out the worst in people and can tear families apart.

There are many examples of such outcomes, I'll spare you my family's example.
Last edited by Index Fan on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Payoffhouse
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

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

aristotelian wrote:
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.
You are right they do not have the financial means to buy us out.

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

Post by SeekingAPlan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:20 am

Could you start with splitting up the content of the house?

Perhaps set a deadline for everyone to take what is important to them and then have a yard sale / estate sale?

Do the contents belong to all of you equally? Seems like it would be easier to force the cleanout of the house first rather than to start with forcing the sale of the largest, most valuable item, the house.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by aristotelian » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:39 am


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

Post by boglephreak » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:39 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
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?
fees are based on my hourly rate and what the court determines is "reasonable;" california has high lawyer fees. i believe the house value was high six figures.

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

Post by boglephreak » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:43 am

aristotelian wrote:
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.
this is correct. you cant sell the house without all owners signing off. you could technically sell your interest in the home, but good luck finding a willing buyer,.

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

Post by boglephreak » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:46 am

Payoffhouse wrote:
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?
this is a good suggestion. mediators charge by the hour and by the job (half day or full day usually, which includes prep time). some courts have mediation programs where mediators volunteer the first couple hours of their time and then start charging after the third, fourth hour. may want to research these before you commit.

however, you only get from mediation what you put into it. if they remain recalcitrant, even a good mediator wont be able to help.

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

Post by ChrisC » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:57 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
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.
Well, I think you could use the leverage and threat of going nuclear on them, i.e, the partition suit, to shock them to their senses unless they are completely irrational and would rather have nothing rather than something under restructured ownership. The keepers might realize that their best alternative to losing the house and not getting good value from a sale, after paying legal fees and expenses, is to agree to placing their interests in an LLC or trust.

Perhaps, the unkeepers don't want to continue to have anything to do with keeping the property under any structure.

Regarding mediation, many courts require parties to go through court- appointed mediation soon after a lawsuit is filed. I'd check the local rules and the courts generally have lists of courts approved mediators, for family or commercial disputes.

Finally, we're only hearing one side of this drama. It's been my professional experience that there's generally a lot more going on here in this drama once the other side's story is told.

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

Post by SeekingAPlan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:08 pm

ChrisC wrote:
Finally, we're only hearing one side of this drama. It's been my professional experience that there's generally a lot more going on here in this drama once the other side's story is told.
Agree with this. This is about something more than just mom's house & the stuff in it.

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

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:32 pm

boglephreak wrote:
Payoffhouse wrote:
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?
this is a good suggestion. mediators charge by the hour and by the job (half day or full day usually, which includes prep time). some courts have mediation programs where mediators volunteer the first couple hours of their time and then start charging after the third, fourth hour. may want to research these before you commit.

however, you only get from mediation what you put into it. if they remain recalcitrant, even a good mediator wont be able to help.
Does attempting mediation help make a better case in front of a judge for a partition suit? I ask because I can see a judge giving extra time to get the parties to work something out if there is no written evidence otherwise.

When I was settling my mother's estate, the estate attorney recommended that both my brother and I appear in court together for the request to sell her little rental property. I initially thought that was overkill since I was the executor of her estate as well as the Trustee for her Trust. Unfortunately she didn't deed the rental property into the Trust so we had to petition the Court for that "express trip" to the Probate court before I could put the property up for sale. But it was clear that the judge wanted agreement from my sibling. I guess he's had experience of fighting siblings before. :wink:

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

Post by Afull » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:09 pm

Payoffhouse wrote:
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.
The thinking behind the above suggestion would be just know exactly what the house was worth and it might reveal what the current degradation has cost so far. Pretty cheap to get an appraisal.

On the attorney even if all don't attend you and any others that do attend will get answers to all the legal issues/traps in FL. Haven't noticed that you've gotten any replies based on experience in FL.

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

Post by ChrisC » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:12 pm

Carefreeap wrote: Does attempting mediation help make a better case in front of a judge for a partition suit? I ask because I can see a judge giving extra time to get the parties to work something out if there is no written evidence otherwise.

When I was settling my mother's estate, the estate attorney recommended that both my brother and I appear in court together for the request to sell her little rental property. I initially thought that was overkill since I was the executor of her estate as well as the Trustee for her Trust. Unfortunately she didn't deed the rental property into the Trust so we had to petition the Court for that "express trip" to the Probate court before I could put the property up for sale. But it was clear that the judge wanted agreement from my sibling. I guess he's had experience of fighting siblings before. :wink:
Not a mediator here, just a retired lawyer who has represented parties in mediation and arbitration. I'm a qualified arbitrator/neutral with experience in commercial disputes and with enough education and training to meet the education and training qualifications for most mediator rosters. To answer your question, the fact that one has tried mediation before or during a pending lawsuit should not make any difference in how a judge rules on a lawsuit, especially since mediation is a separate, alternative dispute resolution process; matters addressed in the mediation are generally held in strict confidence from the judge hearing a case -- it's standard operating procedure for the parties in mediation and mediator to sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that prohibit the parties or mediator from using any statements or evidence adduced in the mediation in the lawsuit or other proceedings. A judge would simply be informed that the parties are in mediation, if it's on-going, or if mediation has ended, that the mediation did not result in a successful resolution. If the mediation is successful, a settlement agreement would generally be filed with the court, which in most cases would result in the dismissal of the lawsuit or the agreement would be incorporated as a court decree and settlement. Judges typically encourage mediation as it permits parties to resolve a dispute in an efficient manner, without court intervention, and even if not settled, the parties will typically be better focused for trial.

In your case, despite you being the Executor and Trustee over your "little rental property," I suspect the Judge wanted sign-off from your brother in the probate proceeding or eventual sale because your brother had some legal or beneficial legal interest in the property and the Judge wanted to make sure he consented to the proceeding and sale, which would likely foreclose chain of title issues for the ultimate buyer purchasing from you, as Executor or Trustee.

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

Post by Shackleton » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:41 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)

https://www.trustedchoice.com/homeowner ... cant-home/

_
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.
That's my point, the OP said the house was uninsured. So how could there be an insurance agent involved to say anything about whether the house is occupied. Your comment about "what would the insurance agent say" is moot, since an uninsured house (as described by the OP) HAS NO INSURANCE AGENT.

Spock Out.
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton

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

Post by Carefreeap » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:04 pm

ChrisC wrote:
Carefreeap wrote: Does attempting mediation help make a better case in front of a judge for a partition suit? I ask because I can see a judge giving extra time to get the parties to work something out if there is no written evidence otherwise.

When I was settling my mother's estate, the estate attorney recommended that both my brother and I appear in court together for the request to sell her little rental property. I initially thought that was overkill since I was the executor of her estate as well as the Trustee for her Trust. Unfortunately she didn't deed the rental property into the Trust so we had to petition the Court for that "express trip" to the Probate court before I could put the property up for sale. But it was clear that the judge wanted agreement from my sibling. I guess he's had experience of fighting siblings before. :wink:
Not a mediator here, just a retired lawyer who has represented parties in mediation and arbitration. I'm a qualified arbitrator/neutral with experience in commercial disputes and with enough education and training to meet the education and training qualifications for most mediator rosters. To answer your question, the fact that one has tried mediation before or during a pending lawsuit should not make any difference in how a judge rules on a lawsuit, especially since mediation is a separate, alternative dispute resolution process; matters addressed in the mediation are generally held in strict confidence from the judge hearing a case -- it's standard operating procedure for the parties in mediation and mediator to sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that prohibit the parties or mediator from using any statements or evidence adduced in the mediation in the lawsuit or other proceedings. A judge would simply be informed that the parties are in mediation, if it's on-going, or if mediation has ended, that the mediation did not result in a successful resolution. If the mediation is successful, a settlement agreement would generally be filed with the court, which in most cases would result in the dismissal of the lawsuit or the agreement would be incorporated as a court decree and settlement. Judges typically encourage mediation as it permits parties to resolve a dispute in an efficient manner, without court intervention, and even if not settled, the parties will typically be better focused for trial.

In your case, despite you being the Executor and Trustee over your "little rental property," I suspect the Judge wanted sign-off from your brother in the probate proceeding or eventual sale because your brother had some legal or beneficial legal interest in the property and the Judge wanted to make sure he consented to the proceeding and sale, which would likely foreclose chain of title issues for the ultimate buyer purchasing from you, as Executor or Trustee.
Interesting. I've been in small claims mediation twice; once in San Mateo County representing a local transit district and another time defending myself in a property damage claim in San Diego County. In neither case can I remember signing a non-disclosure statement. But small claims might be treated differently.

Thanks for responding to the question.

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

Post by cherijoh » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:28 pm

Miakis wrote: 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.
I agree. There is often some weird dynamics with larger families. Sibling alliances with some siblings but against others.

Then there is resentment when some family members are doing well financially while others are not - i.e., Mom should have left more to me since sis/bro doesn't NEED it. Or I was the one who took care of Mom so why should they get the same inheritance? (I actually have some sympathy for the latter argument, but don't buy the first argument - barring special needs).

My mom put all her assets in a trust and named my brother and me as co-trustees. Fortunately, there was no simmering resentment that boiled up when we were settling the estate, as so often seems to be the case.

We had both grown up in that house, but I moved out of state in my early 20's. My brother stayed nearby and spent far more time in the house as an adult than I did. After my mom passed I asked him if he wanted the house, but he said no so we sold it. Had he wanted to keep it, I'm sure we could have come to an agreement easily. But we have always got along well (at least since we were out of grade school :wink:) and have both been successful financially.

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F150HD
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by F150HD » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:08 pm

Shackleton wrote:
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)

https://www.trustedchoice.com/homeowner ... cant-home/

_
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.
That's my point, the OP said the house was uninsured. So how could there be an insurance agent involved to say anything about whether the house is occupied. Your comment about "what would the insurance agent say" is moot, since an uninsured house (as described by the OP) HAS NO INSURANCE AGENT.

Spock Out.
Get a grip.

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

Post by boglephreak » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:35 pm

Carefreeap wrote:
ChrisC wrote:
Carefreeap wrote: Does attempting mediation help make a better case in front of a judge for a partition suit? I ask because I can see a judge giving extra time to get the parties to work something out if there is no written evidence otherwise.

When I was settling my mother's estate, the estate attorney recommended that both my brother and I appear in court together for the request to sell her little rental property. I initially thought that was overkill since I was the executor of her estate as well as the Trustee for her Trust. Unfortunately she didn't deed the rental property into the Trust so we had to petition the Court for that "express trip" to the Probate court before I could put the property up for sale. But it was clear that the judge wanted agreement from my sibling. I guess he's had experience of fighting siblings before. :wink:
Not a mediator here, just a retired lawyer who has represented parties in mediation and arbitration. I'm a qualified arbitrator/neutral with experience in commercial disputes and with enough education and training to meet the education and training qualifications for most mediator rosters. To answer your question, the fact that one has tried mediation before or during a pending lawsuit should not make any difference in how a judge rules on a lawsuit, especially since mediation is a separate, alternative dispute resolution process; matters addressed in the mediation are generally held in strict confidence from the judge hearing a case -- it's standard operating procedure for the parties in mediation and mediator to sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that prohibit the parties or mediator from using any statements or evidence adduced in the mediation in the lawsuit or other proceedings. A judge would simply be informed that the parties are in mediation, if it's on-going, or if mediation has ended, that the mediation did not result in a successful resolution. If the mediation is successful, a settlement agreement would generally be filed with the court, which in most cases would result in the dismissal of the lawsuit or the agreement would be incorporated as a court decree and settlement. Judges typically encourage mediation as it permits parties to resolve a dispute in an efficient manner, without court intervention, and even if not settled, the parties will typically be better focused for trial.

In your case, despite you being the Executor and Trustee over your "little rental property," I suspect the Judge wanted sign-off from your brother in the probate proceeding or eventual sale because your brother had some legal or beneficial legal interest in the property and the Judge wanted to make sure he consented to the proceeding and sale, which would likely foreclose chain of title issues for the ultimate buyer purchasing from you, as Executor or Trustee.
Interesting. I've been in small claims mediation twice; once in San Mateo County representing a local transit district and another time defending myself in a property damage claim in San Diego County. In neither case can I remember signing a non-disclosure statement. But small claims might be treated differently.

Thanks for responding to the question.
i agree with ChrisC. the only point i would add is that if you file a lawsuit without attempting mediation (and even if you do attempt mediation beforehand), the court is going to force you to do some form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) whether it be mediation, settlement conference or the like. in my experience, judges dont like making decisions unless they have to so they will force you to do ADR as much as they are allowed (and sometimes go even beyond they are allowed). i have had judges force us to settlement conferences on the first day of "trial" saying we are unreasonable and not to waste the court's time.

mediations are good things and i highly support them. if you have a good mediator, miracles can happen. trials are rare, settlements are the norm.

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

Post by 2pedals » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:25 am

boglephreak wrote:mediations are good things and i highly support them. if you have a good mediator, miracles can happen. trials are rare, settlements are the norm.
The OP and family should hope that mediation works out, otherwise an court ordered distressed sale along with Attorney and court fees could wipe out much of the equity. The most of the family would be sorely disappointed with the result especially if they have very little assets to begin with.

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

Post by Pajamas » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:25 pm

You have a right to your inheritance and also have the right not to be stuck with a share in your mom's house and its contents or be stuck in this conflict with your siblings. Those rights are equal to anyone else's rights in this situation.

Talk to a lawyer to find out what your options are, preferably with the other siblings who want to sell. No point in trying to decide what to do until you know what your options actually are.

It seems to me that your two siblings who are attached to this house full of your mom's belongings several years after she died have a real problem with grieving and letting go and probably deeper and more long-standing issues to deal with, as well. They would benefit from psychological counseling, although they would probably be resistant to that.

Letting the two siblings with emotional and financial problems control the situation isn't doing anyone any favors. Moving ahead with a forced sale and the strife and pain that would cause them might be better for them in the long run, as well as for the other siblings who want to sell. The refusing siblings' emotional problems will not improve with the status quo and your frustration will only grow. Everyone will benefit from cleaning up this lingering mess. Anything that drags it out at this point, such as a long mediation process, only causes more harm. Settle the estate as quickly as is reasonable, it's way overdue.
Last edited by Pajamas on Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by psteinx » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:04 pm

I tend to agree with those suggesting some sort of attempt at 3rd party mediation.

I also suspect that, if the 2 keepers were posting in a forum about their siblings who want to sell the old family house*, they would have their own side of the story to tell, and their reasoning. It may not be great reasoning, but they'd have some. I'd be curious if OP could articulate the keepers' reasoning beyond sentimentality and general foolishness.

Rather than making this into an ultimatum, with winners and losers, it might be helpful to try to find a way to make everybody a "winner". Perhaps somehow honor your parents' memory at the same time.

What if you suggested something along the lines of the following:

1) A final get-together at the house, for everyone. Perhaps with a party-ish theme of the sort that your parents enjoyed (cookout, campout, booze, or whatever else your parents may have enjoyed).

2) Sell the house.

3) Take a part of the proceeds (say, $25-40K) and have a family event of some sort (either a second event, or as an alternative to #1). i.e. Recreate a momentous trip your family once took (a cruise, a trip to a Caribbean island, a trip to Yellowstone, or whatever).

4) Point out that, even after all of this, there will be a nice slice of cash left over from the proceeds. Put positive suggestions on this - that it might be used, say, for the education of grandkids, or for other positive goals.

So, the above is a "carrot". It might also help to very softly murmur about the stick - not so much threats of lawsuits and the like, but even just the insurance/liability risk, and perhaps that a vacant, decaying house does not really honor your parents' memory.

* I assume this was a family house, and not just a late in life retirement house purchased by both parents or widowed mom, correct?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by GAAP » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:25 pm

Mediation is not the same as arbitration or litigation. There's a good explanation of the differences that shows the benefits of starting with mediation (particularly applicable for a family disagreement like this) at http://adr.findlaw.com/mediation/mediat ... rence.html .

Years ago, I was a general partner in a business. Our partnership agreement specifically called for mediation first, then binding arbitration. The intent was to completely avoid litigation and maintain the working nature of the partnership. We never had to use that clause, but I'm glad it was there.

Family vs Family litigation is not a good thing, and the only advantages to arbitration that I can see for this situation is the likelihood of somewhat reduced costs.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by JDCarpenter » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:26 pm

GAAP wrote:...

Family vs Family litigation is not a good thing, and the only advantages to arbitration that I can see for this situation is the likelihood possibility of somewhat reduced costs.
At least in my practice (granted, commercial disputes), the "lower costs" of arbitration are present more in theory than in practice.... YMMV.
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:38 pm

Brings the issue to a head in the near term. That seems like what is needed in this situation.
boglephreak wrote:
aristotelian wrote:
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.
this is correct. you cant sell the house without all owners signing off. you could technically sell your interest in the home, but good luck finding a willing buyer,.
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by arthurdawg » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:13 pm

Ugh... this thread hits close to home. My father has a huge rural property that he bought and improved over the past 35 years... I now live almost 2 hours away and it simply isn't feasible for me to maintain it (he's now in his late 70s and has a number of health problems). My brother isn't a bad person, but he will be the ultimate keeper. Problem is, he has little extra money (he will depend on inheritance for his retirement) so I will forced to pay any costs associated with the property. Even worse, I could spend two weeks working around the clock on the property and he could come by and paint a door and in his mind he would have done more work than me.

I have been reluctant to approach the issue with my father, but was very relieved when he told me he planned to put it on the market. It's very difficult to let go due to the good memories (hunting, fishing, family...) but I can't see a better option.


I hope this situation can be resolved, keep us posted Payoff.
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by boomer » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:32 pm

dm200 wrote:How much is 1/5 of the value (deteriorating and at risk) of the house?

Did you receive anythng else from the estate?

Not only are you not receiving any value, you are increasingly at risk by owning.

I would see a lawyer and gift your share to the other siblings. Make sure to remove yourself from any laibility.

At least, then, you cannot lose money in the future.

Be congenial at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Regard the gift as future Christmas gifts to the other siblings.
This is the solution, if you want to just walk away. If not, have a family council, if possible, and lay out all the facts and see if you can get all to agree on a majority vote to sell. If the two holdouts won't be reasonable and agree to that and can't or won't buy the rest of you out, the three who want to sell should force the sale. Relationships are going to deteriorate either way so you might as well get it over with.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by celia » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:45 pm

I hope the sellers acknowledge their sentimental feelings in front of the keepers. That will help "name" something they all agree on. If all could agree to a get together, each person could share their favorite moments at that house. Did someone like Christmases, someone else like staying home from school when sick, getting the decorations out of the garage, having water fights outside in the summer? Starting with positive things you each enjoyed could start to form a positive bond. Add a BBQ or other food. What about a pot luck with each person bringing some food like mom/dad used to make?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:47 pm

I still think the best option in this situation is to simply stop paying the taxes and let the municipality sell the home out from under all 5 of you. Sure, the sale price is not maximized but isn't it better than spending tons of money to sue the pants off your family?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Swimmer » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:00 pm

8foot7 wrote:I still think the best option in this situation is to simply stop paying the taxes and let the municipality sell the home out from under all 5 of you.

Does non payment of taxes adversely affect ones credit rating?

Also, going this route could take a lot of time, I think, while you still have liability, utilities, general maintenance, etc.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by spoco79 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:11 pm

2pedals wrote:How about gifting your shares? You and your siblings that don't want it can gift shares to the others that want it. I don't see why you would fight over approx. 50k.
I hate when people on the Internet say things like this. I am in the two comma club and $50k is still a great deal of money.

I would get the other siblings that want to sell and offer the ones that want the house to rot a deal. If three of you want to sell and the other two don't. Offer the other two a deal of a lifetime. $225k or something similar. They can go get a loan for it. If they can't/don't want to do that inform them that you are about to seek legal representation to have the house sold.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by FIREchief » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:16 pm

psteinx wrote:
1) A final get-together at the house, for everyone. Perhaps with a party-ish theme of the sort that your parents enjoyed (cookout, campout, booze, or whatever else your parents may have enjoyed).
There is no way I would add booze to this mix. :twisted:
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by TimeRunner » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:35 pm

FIREchief wrote:
psteinx wrote:
1) A final get-together at the house, for everyone. Perhaps with a party-ish theme of the sort that your parents enjoyed (cookout, campout, booze, or whatever else your parents may have enjoyed).
There is no way I would add booze to this mix. :twisted:
I acknowledge we're all cut from different cloth. For me, this is the last thing I'd want to do. I would probably be happy to never see the house again.
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:42 pm

FIREchief wrote:
psteinx wrote:
1) A final get-together at the house, for everyone. Perhaps with a party-ish theme of the sort that your parents enjoyed (cookout, campout, booze, or whatever else your parents may have enjoyed).
There is no way I would add booze to this mix. :twisted:
There is no way I would participate without booze.

But really, something needs to happen to break this loose. OP, I hope you find a good attorney.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by smackboy1 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:36 am

+1 on entering mediation with a mediator with legal expertise in real estate partition situations. A good mediator will be a little bit of: judge, lawyer, therapist, game theorist.

If OP's family wants to have the best chance of maintaining any kind of future family harmony, then all parties have to feel that they have at least had an opportunity to be heard and that even if they have to compromise, they also mostly got something they wanted. Any kind of adversarial process, such as arbitration or lawsuit isn't going to do this. Any kind of passive aggressive or unilateral move by some of the siblings isn't going to do this. In mediation, the mediator has no power to force anything. They are just there to facilitate the parties coming to a solution they can all agree upon. Often families have a lot of emotional baggage and bad blood. They are unable to be reasonable and communicate with each other. It's like Game of Thrones. But they may be able to shed some of that with a neutral 3rd party. Also, as a neutral professional, the mediator can present different legal scenarios and possible solutions without it being perceived as a threat or ultimatum.

For the mathmaticians out there, this is actually a non-trivial problem often known as an envy-free cake division between multiple parties.

https://mindyourdecisions.com/blog/2016 ... -protocol/

The trick is to have a process whereby each sibling gets what they perceive to be a fair piece of "cake". Each sibling may have a different preference for "frosting" or "chocolate pieces", but in the end they all get a piece they like and don't feel screwed over.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:46 am

Swimmer wrote:
8foot7 wrote:I still think the best option in this situation is to simply stop paying the taxes and let the municipality sell the home out from under all 5 of you.

Does non payment of taxes adversely affect ones credit rating?

Also, going this route could take a lot of time, I think, while you still have liability, utilities, general maintenance, etc.
A partition suit could also take a lot of time and would also not eliminate liability, utilities, maintenance, and the like. It's certainly not a perfect answer, but to my mind I haven't seen a better one proposed.

Suing your family should be the nuclear option. I don't think there's a credit hit for having a tax lien, but even if there is, I'd probably take it over suing my family unless there were truly no better alternative.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by LAR » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:39 am

Why can't the executor just say majority rules and place the home up for sale and distribute the proceeds once the house is sold?

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Pajamas » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:44 am

LAR wrote:Why can't the executor just say majority rules and place the home up for sale and distribute the proceeds once the house is sold?
Payoffhouse said that the house was transferred to the five siblings during probate five years ago, so presumably it's a done deal, the estate is closed, and that would not be possible.

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8foot7
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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:47 am

LAR wrote:Why can't the executor just say majority rules and place the home up for sale and distribute the proceeds once the house is sold?
Pretty sure the estate has been closed, but even so, I don't think the executor could do this if the will expressly directs the house be left to the five individuals.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by delamer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:38 am

We just signed our updated wills yesterday. The wills direct any real estate to be sold and the proceeds split amongst our heirs.
However, there is a clause that allows the executor discretion to distribute assets in-kind, so the property could go to one of the heirs as long as total distributions were equitable.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by ChrisC » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:48 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Swimmer wrote:
8foot7 wrote:I still think the best option in this situation is to simply stop paying the taxes and let the municipality sell the home out from under all 5 of you.

Does non payment of taxes adversely affect ones credit rating?

Also, going this route could take a lot of time, I think, while you still have liability, utilities, general maintenance, etc.
A partition suit could also take a lot of time and would also not eliminate liability, utilities, maintenance, and the like. It's certainly not a perfect answer, but to my mind I haven't seen a better one proposed.

Suing your family should be the nuclear option. I don't think there's a credit hit for having a tax lien, but even if there is, I'd probably take it over suing my family unless there were truly no better alternative.
Not paying real estate taxes is a risky play. I would think the keepers would not let this happen if they are primarily interested in keeping and using the property unless they really want to shoot themselves in the foot and head. And the sellers, if one of their interests was to capture some value in the property, would see that interest evaporate in a tax lien sale. This is not as efficient as you appear to think it would be especially as compared to a partition suit and sale. Most states provide the delinquent tax payer with redemption rights for a prescribed period, in some cases, as long as 2 years; which means the delinquent tax payer could pay his unpaid real estate taxes and re-acquire the property sold to someone at the tax sale! And if you're a bidder at the sale, you'll likely to bid $1 plus the unpaid taxes for the property, thus wiping out any "equity" or value in the property that the prior owners had in it.

This play also sounds transparently spiteful, not likely to advance anyone's financial interests in the short or long term. And tax liens do show up on credit reports, at least Federal income tax liens do so.

A partition suit/sale would not be a suit against the family; it's really a suit against the property (though you would list and name identified owners or stakeholders in the property as defendants along with the property itself). It would seem to me to be far more efficient, expeditious and yield the best financial benefit to the parties than a tax sale (save for the keepers wanting to keep the property because they're interest is in keeping their common ownership and not having cash as a substitute for it).

The nuclear option is the best option if the parties are so entrenched in their respective positions -- no need to mediate if positions are diametrically in opposition to each other and no one wants to move to the other side. A word about the keepers, as I think we have tended to side in this forum with the sellers, in portraying the sellers as irrational or depriving the sellers of their inheritance. The keepers just want to keep, which they are legally entitled to do so -- it's how Mom, intentionally or unintentionally, played her hand for her children. They are getting exactly what was designed for them -- it's really the sellers in wanting to sell who are upsetting the design here.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Lexi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:29 pm

[quote="ChrisCThe keepers just want to keep, which they are legally entitled to do so -- it's how Mom, intentionally or unintentionally, played her hand for her children. They are getting exactly what was designed for them -- it's really the sellers in wanting to sell who are upsetting the design here.[/quote]

I agree with most of this post but I don't agree that any side can claim to have the advantage of following designed wishes. Mom did not write a will. If she thought at all about what would happen she assumed each child would get an equal share, which is what the state defined as the default. Other than each child is equal there is no plan or design in this situation.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by delamer » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:37 pm

Lexi wrote:[quote="ChrisCThe keepers just want to keep, which they are legally entitled to do so -- it's how Mom, intentionally or unintentionally, played her hand for her children. They are getting exactly what was designed for them -- it's really the sellers in wanting to sell who are upsetting the design here.
I agree with most of this post but I don't agree that any side can claim to have the advantage of following designed wishes. Mom did not write a will. If she thought at all about what would happen she assumed each child would get an equal share, which is what the state defined as the default. Other than each child is equal there is no plan or design in this situation.[/quote]

I don't believe the OP said his mother didn't have a will. She could certainly have written a will giving each child an equal share of the house. Not well thought out, maybe, but maybe she was an optimist that her children would work something out.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Lexi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:44 pm

The OP said in the middle of this thread that there was no will.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by ChrisC » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:49 pm

Lexi wrote: I agree with most of this post but I don't agree that any side can claim to have the advantage of following designed wishes. Mom did not write a will. If she thought at all about what would happen she assumed each child would get an equal share, which is what the state defined as the default. Other than each child is equal there is no plan or design in this situation.
Well, the state made the design for Mom: equal and common shares in ownership of the property. Who knows, she could have had the counsel of a lawyer who could have told her not to even bother with a will or she knew exactly what she was doing by not having a will? My guess is that this was a conscious decision as she might have gone through a similar thought process when her husband passed away. I could be wrong, but I think the status quo, continued ownership, was more likely her wishes without knowing more of the situation from all sides.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by LAR » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:01 pm

One of the 3 siblings who want to sell and has a semi decent relationship and rapport with the two siblings who are refusing to sell should be able to convince them how their stance helps no one to include themselves.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Lexi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:13 pm

Just about all of my relatives would rather do almost anything than meet with a lawyer, but most do write a will at some point. Of those who died without a will the reasons are usually one or more of the following:
1. They don't want to think about dying.
2. They don't think they have enough assets to bother.
3. They don't care what happens to their assets after they are not around any more.
4. They plan to get around to it some day but never do.
5. They don't want to spend the money for a will.
6. They can't decide how to divide property or deal with difficult relatives or who to name as executors /other roles.
I may be missing some reasons but I am quite sure that none of them looked into the state's default rules if there is no will and decided that was consistent with their plan.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by ChrisC » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:45 pm

Lexi wrote:Just about all of my relatives would rather do almost anything than meet with a lawyer, but most do write a will at some point. Of those who died without a will the reasons are usually one or more of the following:
1. They don't want to think about dying.
2. They don't think they have enough assets to bother.
3. They don't care what happens to their assets after they are not around any more.
4. They plan to get around to it some day but never do.
5. They don't want to spend the money for a will.
6. They can't decide how to divide property or deal with difficult relatives or who to name as executors /other roles.
I may be missing some reasons but I am quite sure that none of them looked into the state's default rules if there is no will and decided that was consistent with their plan.
We generalize too much from our on experiences. So, in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, many of the people there found themselves owning and sitting on very valuable real estate that had appreciated beyond their wildest dreams -- the conventional thinking in my old neighbor, was why bother with a will -- the real property, which was the only major tangible aspect of wealth they owned, was jointly owned -- that would pass to the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse didn't need any damn will because the house would pass to the children, anyway, under state law -- so why bother with a will? In fact, we had one neighbor, the matron of the block, the mother-in-law of a well-known lawyer in the City, who used to counsel other neighbors, including my parents, not to bother with wills and all that probate mess -- the house will go to your spouse, then your children and just place your bank accounts as POD to your children. When she died, her house was worth around $6 million -- no will there either, though not sure she would have done that if her least favorite child had survived her.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by Lexi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:24 pm

We do each over-generalize from our own experience but one experience of dealing with a small estate and no will is what makes most of my relatives eventually write a will even when the design seems simple and straightforward.

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Re: Siblings in disagreement over mom's house.

Post by FIREchief » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:53 pm

As another option.....

Where I live we see advertisements from places that "buy junk houses" for cash. I don't know what kinds of people/individuals are involved, but it may be that somebody out there with an LLC would be interested in buying a 60% share of this house at a large discount (let's say 75 thousand). That gives $25K to each of the sellers immediately and they can then walk away with no further liability. Now, the LLC doesn't have nearly as much worry about the lack of insurance, and is a single majority owner. I would think they could much more effectively hire a lawyer and force a sale. If the lawyer costs $20K, and the house sells for $200K (80% of market value), then the $75K investment returns $25K (a 33% ROI in what is hopefully no more than a year). Not a bad business opportunity. I'm probably missing something here (I am unfamiliar with the laws regarding shared ownership in real estate).
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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