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My Sister Are Fighting over Property Left by Our Parents

What a mess I'm in. My sister has made a choice of wanting a house over having me for a sister. How do I let go of both. I love my older sister she is all I have left. Both of my parents have passed. I'm only 41 mother of 2 boys (13 & 10). I have wonderful memories of help building this home for my parents to retire to, but both never had the chance to. It has been 11yrs for my mom and 4 yrs that my father has been gone. My sister has anger issues and feels that she "deserves" the house. I was the one who took care of my father (who passed in my house) and took care of the house we grew up in. There is so much more to this it's hard to get into it totally.
I just want her to buy me out or I buy her out and move on. We were just up there this last weekend(she knew we would be) and she has taken things from the house. I don't care about that, just can't believe she feels she needs to do stuff like that.She even took the cell phone that we agreed to use instead of a land line.I don't know the laws to buying out some one or what issues I my run into. I don't know if I just need to get the house appraised (which I'm trying to get now) and go from their. The house was left in a Living Trust which states that we are equal partners. I just hope someone can help me in some way.

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Wow, how do I thank all of you who have helped me with this?? Thank you thank you!I am in the process of getting the house appraised and did the Zillow on it too.The house is a weekend house, neither of us live there.I don't want anything(what's there)at all. This is how I feel right now about everything.When I get more info. on what the house is worth I'm going to offer to "buy her out" and I know she'll feel I'm not offering her enough, so, I'm going to turn it around and let her "buy me out" for the same amount I offer her. I'll let her feel she has won, when really I'll feel free of it all. When and in time she'll come around and want me in her life. Her daughter will be graduating high school in 2yrs. I do have pictures of the house, not in detail, but every room and out side. I don't want anything that is there. It is just stuff and I know I can't take them with me. My parents ashes are placed together inside a rock that is inside the house. I had a special moment with them while I was there last weekend, so I'm ok with them staying there as well. I have no regrets with anything I have done for my mom or dad. They know I have tried to keep the peace for years between my sister and myself. I am so grateful that I have such a loving hubby/kids and wonderful life. Mom and Dad want me happy, not fighting over things. They loved my hubby like a son, they know he'll always look out for me. As soon as the appraisel comes in I'll be contacting her with the offer. I won't mention anything about "staying sisters". She'll need to come to me, I know I've tried. I just hope she'll see (in time)that she does need me. Well, until then thanks so much for the advise it has been very helpful. I may still look into the attorney and I will be looking into the trust. She has the trust, but I'll be doing what I need to to find it. thanks again for the warm words, support and advise!!

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Wow. Material possesions really seem to be of great importance to you....I'd just get a realtor and try to sell it, giving her half the funds. You can't change other people, so maybe just focusing on being the kindest you can be. Good luck.

The only way to work this out is to hire an attorney. It sounds like this will never work out with just the two of you.

Hi T.,
Loosing a parent is difficult. I lost my mom when I was 17. Evenone coops with loss differently and unfortunalty family members get ugly. If it is in a trust for equal share...there is nothing she can do about it. You are entitle to half. Maybe you can get the trustee to help mediate or a inexpensive estate lawyer if things get that bad. I think you are right in getting an appraisal and offering her to buy you out or you her. Just remeber....if you can get even a financial person or relestate agent or anyone who is not family she will hopefully be more accepting to listen and negotiate better. Hang in there. It is so sad to loose relationships over loss but sometimes it is the only thing you can do. After time maybe she will come around. Sounds like you have a wonderful husband and children for support. At the end of the day they are what is most important.
I wish you the best.

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I work in the probate field and unfortuneately see this kind of problem more often than I care to. I recommend that you contact your local bar association and get a referral to an attorney who does trust administration. AND get a local realtor to give you an appraisal of the property. Tell him/her you are thinking of selling and need to know what it is worth. How can you decide if you can buy her out or have her buy you out if you don't know what the house is worth. You really have no choice but to at least get some legal council to help you work out this problem before it completely destroys your relationship with your sister.

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My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved parents. The grieving process takes a long time and it sounds like you and your sister are both in pain. First of all, the Trust will help you. You might want to retain a lawyer to explain the Trust, but if the house has been left to both of you, you should be able to get the house appraised, and one of you should be able to buy out the other for one-half of the appraised value, or you can sell the house and divide the profit 50/50.

Much more critical, however, is for you to decide how important it is to you to have a relationship with your sister. If you truly love her, and want to remain close, you may have to simply forgive her and keep the house and it's contents in perspective. The house and it's contents are only stuff. I do understand that there is money and valuables involved, but you might find release and peace in simply asking your sister what she would like, and then letting go. Your decision to "lose" your sister is within yourself. You can decide to allow stuff to sever your relationship, or you can simply decide that you will love her, forgive her and try to work through her pain and selfishness.

My sister and I, who were never close, are now managing my father (who has Alzheimer's and is incompetent) and we have agreed to work together for his best interest, to manage the Trust and to be gentle and protective of each other. As a result, we are forging a new family unit and we have become loving and very close. You can accomplish this as well. You just have to decide what is most important....the house or your relationship with your sister. And you may have to take the first steps (over and over), be patient, forgiving, tolerant and focus on your love for your parents and honor their memory by remembering that surely, they would not want you and your sister to become alienated over a home that will someday be a pile of dust.

Life is too short. Love is in limited supply. Find some peace for yourself and embrace the relationship.

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I would suggest that you sell the house and save your half of the profit for your Childrens College as a gift from your Parents. As far as the items your parents left get a mediator to number the items and do a lottery, that way, you get what you get. Be the bigger person and keep a good relationship with your Sister.

Second option, it sounds like you are fairly affluent and I don't know where your Sister is in her life but perhaps she might NEED the house more than you do. Let her have it and enjoy the memories that you both have. Things are just that, things...enjoy the memories that you had while your parents were alive and nurture the relationship you have with your Sister.

With best regards,

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I feel for you. I have a friend in the same situation. Her siblings have not talked to her in over 8 yrs Which is sad since before all this happened they were such a close family. Have you thought of just selling the house I know it holds memories for you and your sister. I know the market is not tha tgreat right now but in the future when the market turns around. My friend now wishes she would have done that in the first place.(your stories are oh so close) Make lists on what each of you would like from the house and divide items up. And how important are these things to each of you? I know it's hard, I went through something similar when my father passed a few yrs ago. We can not turn back time and we can not get back the yrs we lose not having or being with our families. Would your parents really have wanted you two to be apart for so long?

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I truely feel for you T., but if your parents did not have anything on paper, you may have a battle on your hands. It
sounds though that you are an organized person, and that you
probably keep good records. You need to get some legal advice
immediately!! But first, go back to the house and photograph
the entire house and contents, to establish in case your sister
decides to claim anything else before this is settled. I could
have been in the same situation, but my mother knew that my sister would try to take advantage, and put me as executor long ago without telling either of us...only told me when she was diagnosed with cancer. My sister still tried, but had no
leg to stand on. If you have any receipts, documents, etc.
the legal system can assist you...Good Luck!! C.

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Has someone been living in the house for the past 4 years or is it paid off and just sitting their?

I know family is so important and we don't want to make enemies. So you might find my comments a little hard to swallow.

I know you toke care of the house and your dad, so you think you should get more. It sounds as though you are being very reasonable and you don't want more then your half, after all that is what your parents wanted. But why does your sister want it? Does she have less then you so she thinks having it all will catch her up to you. (a jelousy thing). I'm only trying to open your eyes to the whole picture.
In my family there are 6 kids, I live in another state. My older sister has asked for the original wedding ring, and my youngest sister the new ring, because she was their when my mom picked it out. My parents are simple people so they don't have anything great or expensive, just their house which is suppost to be sold and divided between 6 of us. This is fine. I decided that I'll be lucky to get that, because I have one sister who (It's all about her) and she won't care who she walks on to get what she wants. If you know what I mean. I can see her going to the house and digging for what she wants before the rest of us have time to deal with the death. Then when the will is read these things won't even exist.
That's why I just don't care. What it's about is loving them and having the memories of being with them until there last moments on earth. It sounds as if you are the one holding that treasure.
If I were you I would meet her at the house, just the 2 of you. Let her know that this isn't a battle. You don't want to fight, you just want to walk away with what dad has left to you because he want's you to have it. Then you need to talk to her about the additional things in the house that you want and she want's. Talk about why you want these things. If she is living in the house and want's to buy it then you need to have it appraised and she needs to take out a lone and pay you your half. If she really doesn't want it and just want's the money then you need to talk about when to sell, if the market stinks like it does here, then think about renting it out till the market changes. This will give both of you monthly money if the house is paid off, and could be a great asset to both of you. But have the rent come to you, because I don't think you'll ever see your half. If both of you are yellers and fighters I would bring a middle man/women who is not directly involved, an aunt or uncle, close family friend but no-one, one sided to either of you. This person needs to be a calm and rational person. Who will be able to see both sides and help the 2 of you see both sides.
Fighting over your parents things won't bring them back and won't keep you as sisters, you need to decide before going to meet her (what's the most important thing to you). Her as your sister or dad & moms stuff. If you chose your sister then you need to forgive her completely for the selfishness she is showing or you will never be sisters.
If there is something in that house that you can't live without, I would get it now, if you both agree that it should be your sisters then you can give it to her later.
I'm only suggesting this because if you decide to walk away from this whole thing at least you have the one thing you wanted.
Sometimes we have to step up and be the responsible one.
Remember carma ! One day it will bite her in the butt.
One day she may come to you and appologize for the way she was, because her eyes where finally opened. Sometimes we only want to see what we want (which is everything straight in front of us with blinders on so we can't see the sides) but if we stop and take off the blinders and look out of the other persons eyes we might see all the things we missed. (This has to do with 2 sides of the story). I'm sure she has one. If she never comes to you that's ok because you already forgave her.
You can't change her, you can only change yourself and never forgiving her will eat you up. I wish the best for both of you and truly hope that this works out. Good Luck to you. Pray that both of you will have your eyes opened to understand each other and that you will both agree on what to do. Whatever your decisions, get it in writing and have both of you sign it. This way it can't come back to bite you, when she's mad at you. My prayers are with you. J.

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I'm sorry your sister is behaving so selfishly. I'm in a LeTip group (business network) and there are some wonderful people in it that could help you. You can consult w/ them for free, also, just to see if you'd want to use their services. We have a great appraiser, real estate attorney (who deals with these disputes), home inspector, estate attorney, etc. etc. If you want any of their names and phone numbers, contact me at ____@____.com or ###-###-####. My name's C.. I know these people are professional and very nice. I'd love to be able to help you out. But you will need to take action as you can't reason w/ your sister.

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Hi T.,
Loosing a parent is difficult. I lost my mom when I was 17. Evenone coops with loss differently and unfortunalty family members get ugly. If it is in a trust for equal share...there is nothing she can do about it. You are entitle to half. Maybe you can get the trustee to help mediate or a inexpensive estate lawyer if things get that bad. I think you are right in getting an appraisal and offering her to buy you out or you her. Just remeber....if you can get even a financial person or relestate agent or anyone who is not family she will hopefully be more accepting to listen and negotiate better. Hang in there. It is so sad to loose relationships over loss but sometimes it is the only thing you can do. After time maybe she will come around. Sounds like you have a wonderful husband and children for support. At the end of the day they are what is most important.
I wish you the best.

I would contact the attorney that handled your parents trust/will. They would have copies of the paperwork and should be able to give you some advice on how to handle things so that at least legally you are doing the right thing.

Praying that your sister will also do the right thing and that eventually you both will be able to have a loving relationship.

So sad what money and material things can do to a relationship.

Wow. Material possesions really seem to be of great importance to you....I'd just get a realtor and try to sell it, giving her half the funds. You can't change other people, so maybe just focusing on being the kindest you can be. Good luck.

So sorry to hear about your sadness. Hate tosay it, but I'd consult with an estate attorney and clarify what your rights are. There must be some mechanism for this sort of situation.

I am so sorry that you are having to go through this with your sister. I too have trouble with my sisters - plural. Our mother (no father in the picture ever) has had things taken from her over the years by my sisters - and it takes her a long time to realize, pictures, jewelry, china etc.. Like she was already gone. She is thankfully not gone yet. I know since her house is paid for, this will be a LARGE issue when the time comes. For you - it is best to look at it in a businesslike manner - since your sister isn't looking at it as a family matter already. Get the apparaisal and you should sell it if need be - as in, if the two of you cannot decide amicably, you must sell and split the profit (which is awful in this market). A lawyer would say the same thing. As far as who deserves this that or the other thing, look at all you did for your father before his passing as for him & to give him as much happiness as posible as well as you that time with him that you will never forget. I know it is hard - but you cannot change other people, only yourself. I wish you the best & God Bless!

There always has to be one sister who makes it hard, when my mom passed 9 yrs ago, she did not leave a will fir her personal stuff, she had a living trust with my dad, but did not include her jewerly and personal items to be split up between my sister and I .. I am the youngest,My mom had well over 160,000 in jewerly, of coarse my sister went to see my dad, we dont live near and took most of the expensive peices, I could of gotten upset, you know .. one day we were camping , hiking I had a water she did not have one, she asked me for a drink of water, I looked at her, looked at the bottle, open the lid, took a drink first, then took another,then drank the whole thing except for a swallow, handed it her and said Here is your share just like you left me my share from mom... I walked away. ( boy did I have the devil in me that day ) although two weeks later I received a certified package in the mail it was half of mom mys jewerly.

I choose not to fight about the property, yet I gave her back a lesson og giving and receiving, your mom is gone, yet you and sis still here,what is going to happen is you will both fight and the house will burn dowm.

Food for thought

I have been in your shoes with my sister and my parents trust. My sister was named the executor of the trust and all their estate was to be split in half according to the trust.
Your parents attorney (the one who drew up the trust) has a copy of the trust.
After 4 yrs of my sister not settling the estate, I had to get an attorney who went into mediation with my sister. I am so glad I did.............The attorney's settled it in mediation and my sister had to pay both attorney fees.
My sister has not spoken to me since, her choice, too bad, but her true colors surely came out over this

Unfortunately, it sounds like you need the assistance of a good attorney right away. You might want to try Kris Paden in the Valley who is reasonably priced and very nice. Maybe she can explain to both you and your sister how to go about handling it equitably. Good luck with this.

I'm sorry you're having to go through that. I would seek advice from a real estate lawyer. I'm sure that they know the ins and outs of wills, etc. Good luck.

Hi T.,

Normally I would suggest that you put the house up for sale and split the money 50/50 (as required by the living trust) but the maket is really bad right now so I can see where that may not be the best possible choice right now. Another suggestion would be for the two of you to rent out the property and hire a property manager to take care of all of the details so that you have a neutral 3rd party dealing with the headache of finding a tenet, collecting rent and such. A certain portion of the money you get from the rent should be held aside for property taxes and repairs, and the remainder should probably be split 50/50 between the two of you. I don't know if this is a viable option for the two of you to consider.

You may also want to consult with an attorney to find out what your options are and make sure that all of the dealings between you and your sister are fair and equitable.

Unfortunately if you both are equal owners, one can't sell without the others signature on the agreement. I've been a realtor for the last 8 years and there are a ton of questions I could ask that might give me a better idea of what you could do but that is the basic fact, both parties are needed to sell the property. Now a word of caution, both parties are not needed to list a property in CA. Either you or your sister could list it to sell but an escrow could never be opened without both parties to sign. The executor of your parents will has a lot of clout in this matter and depending on how the will is written may be able to force a sale of some kind. Personally, if I were executor, I would remove all valuable items from the property until such time as the two of you can come to some understanding. Also sometimes a neutral third party who neither of you know can help mediate some of the issues. I know this may not help alot but if I can answer anymore questions please call me at ###-###-#### or email me at ____@____.com luck and I hope things work out for you both.

How sad, T.. I agree with the other posters: inventory and get the lawyer on it right away.

Here is what I wanted to share. You must NOT back down on this for several reasons:
1. It was your parents' desire that the house be equally shared and you must honor their wishes
2. Your portion is not "yours" to give up, it is also your sons' and their heirs' and as custodian of this interest, you must protect it
3. You cannot allow your sister to disrespect your parents and steal from your children and future generations because EVENTUALLY she will suffer greatly from the guilt (though she doesn't seem to realize or care about that right now)

This is not an easy thing for you. No one wants to go through this but many of us do and we might as well be wise and gracious through it!

Best wishes,


I am so sorry to hear your story. I know that this stuff can be tough.

Since your parents have it in a trust they obviously took the time to make it all "legal." Have you thought about taking to a lawyer about your options. You don't have to tell your sister you are - so she dosen't think you are going to legally attack her... Just see what your options are. There is a law firm here in Reno that specializes in trusts and such. They are called Anderson, Dorn and Rader.

Just my idea.

Get legal counsel and stick by it. Your sister is railroading you financially and emotionally. The attorney can at least mediate, and a counselor can help you too. Go now! love, Patti

Years ago when "The Lion King" came out, I was the only one in the theater laughing loudly when Zazu said, "There's one in every family, sire; two in mine, actually." I know what he's talking about!

I won't bore you with details, but I know and have dealt with that kind of person - the kind that is only happy when they get more than eveyone else does, the kind that feels they are somehow owed by the universe, but also feels that it's "not fair" when YOU have nice things - husband, home, kids. Don't feel that it's anything to do with you personally, it's just how your sister is. It's hard not to feel unloved, but just remember that at this age, it's unlikely that she'll suddenly change.

Contact a lawyer to find out what needs to be done. An attorney and anyone they hire will be impartial and will stand firm in any decisions. They won't change their minds because it's too difficult, or because someone feels angry or gulity or anything else. When your sister complains to you, and she will, just say, "All the decisions are being handled by my attorney," and hang up (or close the door.) DO NOT let her engage you in arguments or negotiations!

You may feel that you've lost a sister. Just remember that it was her choice, and she probably made that choice years ago.

Your husband, kids and other loved ones will be there for you! Love them and let them love you. God bless - it does get easier! After the hard times the reward always comes.

Dear T., my name is J.. I just lost my mother in Sept. I took care of her for 20 years, she remarried to her ex husband and they were happy a few short years. My step dad is 89 not one of his children have the time or energy to take care of him, so he is with me now. My step brother bought them a couple of things for their house just before mom died. I sold the tiny little house and dad payed off some bills and we fixed his car and well there is not much you can do with 30 thousand. My sister from another state came out when she always said she would not do, and she was so angry as she thought everything should go to her. My other sister thought the same. She came to my home looking around (first time there ever ) and asked a couple of questions about some of (my) things. I laughed and told her that everything she saw was mine, not my parents. She even looked at my car and asked how I could afford to have one like that? I let my sister from out of state go through all my parents things, and take all she wanted. She started to feel guilty and asked if I wanted anything? I said no, so she took what she wanted. She even took some of Dads things, cuff links electric shavers and special railroad pocket watch's ect. It hurt him some but I told him, Dad you are up in age and can't take it with you. I'll get you some new things. so we let them go. My brothers are always asking about money. I payed back what was bought for them for their home, and told them all, there is no money. There are pictures mom had made for family members and they will all get them soon. T. I don't know what happens to people when a loved one dies?? They have so many memories that they don't want to let things go. They seem to feel it keeps them attached? You seem to have a blessed life with your husband and the children and even the dog. Your sister is hurting inside, and as you, wants to hold on to these things. Maybe she is not as blessed as you, and even (needs ) some of it? Point is dear, I let them take what they wanted. I kept only a couple of broken peaces that I glued together that my mom had for as long as I could remember. No one else wanted them. They mean more than expensive things. Your mom and dads home should be sold and money split even, if you love your sister. Greed will be there forever more. If you keep the home and buy it from her she will always see it and be angry and resentful over it. If she has to buy you out, you will loose your sister. Life is short T.. God says Love one another as you would love yourself. We don't need the material things. Give and he will bless (you). If you can't sit down and talk about it, rent it out to and elderly couple and split the rent each month, until you can talk it over. We had to do this with my brothers home several years ago. His daughters did the same thing thats happening to you. A giving heart will make you feel good inside T.. In coming years, you will visit your sister and see something in her home and your heart will be filled with love and wonderful fond memories. Not everyone can do this.And at first it hurts to think they are selfish hearted. But shortly you really will feel good and all warm in your heart. Your mom would not be happy if her things split you and your sister. I'm a mom to 4 grown children. I will leave a will as to my wishes. They will have to live with it. I will give each one something special from my heart. I desire them to stay as a family. (close) I'm sure your mom would desire the same. You have all the wonderful memories in your head that no one can take from you T.. I hope this will help you? Talk to God, You will know, the right thing to do. I smile every time I think of all the special things I did for my folks and all the special times. Spend each day making special times for you and your husband and the children, so that they will some day have wonderful memories. All material things can be replaced. People and our familys can not.

Hi T.,
i am not an attorney, but it sounds like you need to consult with the attorney that has helped you with the trust. A neutral party would help both you and your sister to negotiate the next step, which sounds like you could buy her out or vice versa and then create a lovely
vacation home with your family. They sound great!!!
Not every sweet memory can be sustained with the whole environment intact. Your sister may just be ready to move
on and doesn't know what to do with the situation. Another family may be ready to start their memories in the house now. Try to step away and think in terms of real time now, let the real estate agent, and attorney neutralize the situation and remove the emotion, you won't win the way it is now. Your family needs you living in the present!! D.

Hello T. E!
I work in Escrow and hope to shed some light on this for you.
Since you and your Sister are the Successor Trustees (I assume)of your Parents trust with equal shares you are on the right track in saying that you will need to "buy each other out" if you choose to keep the house, if you would choose to sell the home the proceeds would be split 50/50 as well, however you may want to contact a Probate Attorney to weigh all of your options, and let them review your Parents trust very carefully, they are usually very explicit and detailed.

Also, if their Estate had to go through Probate the Probate Court will normally nominate what they call a "personal representative" to represent the Estate, this is usually one person which may be you.

Hope this helps you!!

Get a lawyer. Get one now. I know she is your sister, but you need to protect yourself. I am in law school and have worked in several law firms and have heard of countless cases involving property, wills, estates etc. that end badly for one party because of situations like this. It was unclear if your parents had a will/trust and what their last wishes were but either way I would talk to an attorney.

Unless you are willing to take nothing from the situation (i.e. no "half" of the house) then you should talk to a lawyer.

Good luck to you.

Hi T.,

Yes, it is a "hard" Spot to be in, especially when someone u love thinks they are entilted to something that they had no time to put effort into!! Lost my mother-in-law, 4 years ago to pancrease cancer!! It was her won sister who was trying to take things from my husband who was her only son!! She was diagnosed, and then given a month to live. So we moved her in with us, I took care of her 24 hours a day and she lived 3 months!! It was a mess, she was very much in denial of dying and left us with no will and nothing to go on!! Needless to say, her sister who has been taking from her all her life wanted everything after her death!! She ended up talking my mother-in-law into to signing one of her policies to her which was meant for my kids and signing a house she owned to her as well which was suppose to be left to my husband and his cousin!! The moral to my story is, sister or no sister people will show their "true" colors when it comes to things they feel they are entitled too but don't deserve!! For us, we felt that our sanity and morals were what was more important!! We know what we did when it all came down to it!! So we let her go, let her think she won, and decided that none of it was worth it!! So my advice to you, is as hard as it may be to sell this house, sell it...split the proceeds and go on with your life, which sounds like you are doing pretty good already!! When all of it settles down, she'll realize what she did and it may or maybe not be too late!! But always remember to think what is it that your parents would have wanted you to do and always follow your instinct, that is God talking!! Good luck!!


My husband is going thru the same situation with his older brother (who thinks he is GOD) and in charge of EVERYTHING. There is a Family Trust which says they are to split everything. The older brother is not doing so. There is a house, jewelry and other belongings in this trust. My husband is seeking an attorney which is what I suggest to you. I would at least see what your options are and get the best advice. You may end up loosing your sister, but she put you in this situation not the other way around. My husband is going to loose his brother but even if their your family...why would you want someone around you who will lie, cheat and steal from you and your parents. That is exactly what they are both doing.
Just my 2 cents.

The only way to work this out is to hire an attorney. It sounds like this will never work out with just the two of you.

Sorry to hear your story, - it sounds like you are a very well balanced caring individual with a great life. Sounds like your sister is struggling in her life which would explain her irrational actions. I think it's important to have compassion for her knowing that what she is doing is a result of her unhappiness with herself, but it does not make it right or fair. So it seems like your only choice in this situation is to go through a third party, as it is impossible to reason with someone who is behaving in this way. Time to get some legal advise - if not for yourself, do it for your children, it is a part of their inheritance. Good Luck!

Good morning,

It's unfortunate your sister is not treasuring the memories and only thinking of the monetary benefit. You have every right to your half of the house. Have you tried to talk to your sister? I am sure you probably have. You really need to get an attorney because it sounds like it will get ugly. As for the house, you need to determine what the value of the property is first and go from there? Contact a local appraiser to give you value on the property.

Good luck!

Not understanding if this is a vacant house or vacation place. Does she live in it now? I lost my parents in a car accident in 05, we have their house still in the trust. Their our 4 of us siblings. Luckily for me as the trustee we are all very close and have had no issues with any of this. The one thing I was told as trustee, is that if any one of the 3 of them come to me and want their portion of the house I must comply (either sale or buy-out). But you mentioned you are both equal trustee's so I imagine you both share or one does have to buy the other out. You must find out your sister's motive's. She may be hurting for money and try and go through the process with care. You sound like she's very important and you don't won't to lose that in your life. I'm sure she doesn't either. But I must tell you that the first step that I had to do when they passed , was get the house appraised. Then any profit over the appraisal we would have to pay taxes on, if it sold for less we would not. also, keep in mind if you had the house transferred to your names under the trust which is something you had to do, it could be a nice investment if you can keep the same property taxes on it. Your tax man can even help with some answers. My best wish for you both is to remain "Sisters" first. I would love to talk with you if you want to discuss anything any ____@____.com

First you need to get some advise from a couple of lawyers in Estates. Next you must see this as a business adventure and remove all emotional pain. Then decide want you want.
Find out exactly what your sister wants without interrupting or getting hurt feelings. Just listen and try hard to keep it on the subject. The accusations are a defensive mechanism and you must ignore it to make this happen. Put your personal issues aside. I suggest using email to get your information. Remmeber stick only to the subject,she will wonder off and attack. Ignore it and ask her only about what she wants and then you should know how to proceed. Take your time. Rushing causes bigger problems.
Give her clear easy choices. When, what, and whom to use for selling, renting, ect. Be open to any of your sisters ideas. never trash them but say let me think about it and get back to you. Good Luck...Been there. My sister was very difficult and I basicly paid her off to make nice and get it done. She has never complained about it and i made out like a bandit. I paid the taxes on the gift i gave her. Be a willow and play nice But Smart.


Who is the actual Trustee of the estate? Your parents had to have appointed a Trustee and a successor trustee. Who handles the finalizing of everything and filing of the estate with the IRS?
There should be specific instructions in the trust on how things should be distributed.
If you aren't sure, contact the lawyer/ofc who drafted the Trust and get the information you need, and get their input. They see this sort of thing all the time. Based on what's in the Trust your sister may not have any choices. It might all be laid out more specifically so that you don't have to have this headache.

I just went thru the dispersing of my Moms trust after her death. Although I met with no problems at all with my siblings (should any have risen, my Mom and I put a clause in the trust that if there was ANY question on distribution, that person got $1). They weren't even aware that my Mom had anything to leave, but most of all they just felt blessed that they got to keep a part of her by having certain belongings and the fact that she thought of us when she left so much else behind (monetarily) for us.

But I did watch the behavior you're describing....with my Dad after the passing of his Mom 20 + yrs ago. You can't ever know what possesses a person to do what they do after a death, and their reasons for taking, whether out of pure greed or grief of loss and a desire to hang onto anything from the deceased. But either way, you can for yourself do the right thing. Follow the Trust instructions and your sister will have to deal with whatever the outcome of those instructions are.
If it means for you making tough choices...then all you can do is take responsibility for your actions. Hopefully your sister will see the light one day....and grow up....and realize that none of the 'stuff' is worth losing another loved one over.

You will have to do as the others stated....take pictures right now....log everything to the best of your ability. But unfortunately sometimes when it's gone it's gone. And go from here. Sounds like for sanity sake you will have to find a way to split everything one way or another....and not keep things in the family to be shared. Otherwise, expect to lose out.

Good luck and God Bless.

Hi T.: I am in a similar situation with my brother, but he has taken equity home loans on my parents property with their signatures. My Dad lives in a convalescent home since he broke his hip two years ago and my brother does not want him to come back home because he lives in there and does not want to be bothered. He does not pay for anything at all. He lives, eats, and does not even pick after himself, my 84 year old mother still cooks and cleans form him although she also has alot of health problems. My mother insists on spoiling this 47 year old man and he is abusive with my mom, dad, and me. Luckily for me I live on the other side of the world and get to California once or twice a year to do home repairs on their home, take care my ailing mother or father at my expense. My brother does not move a finger. We also have a living trust but my brother took his half of his inheritance already in equity homeloans. The positive side of your story is that you have made a good solid family that is worth more than anything else, because you can draw your strenghts from what you have accomplished including taken care of your father and your mother when they were alive. May God rest both of their souls. Your sister may not have those support systems and she may not have accomplished as much as you have, therefore she is negative which makes it even harder for her to have a productive discussion on the subject. Do your homework and get the home appraised and buy her out. I know she is all you have left in terms of your biological sibling line but at times one wonders how can siblings be so disastrous as in my case. I would appreciate your comments. I.

I know a lawyer that specializes in wills and trusts. I know that he can help you. He knows the law and he can make it easy on you because your sister can not argue the trust. Where is the house? I know a realtor also. She helped us find a wonderful house when we moved to the area.
Let me know if I can help.

My younger sister and I just went through this and I ended up backing out and giving her everything just to avoid the fights and what I was sure would be the destruction of our relationship. Turns out it destroyed our relationship anyway because now I am so incredibly disappointed with her actions and tactics that I don't want anything to do with her. She calls now and then as though nothing has happened between us and it is so uncomfortable that I can't deal with it. I feel like she has no sense of fairness, no morals or standards. I suggest you get an attorney and stand up for the property that your parents clearly wanted you to share equally.

I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. We had a similar thing happen in our family when my husband's wealthy grandmother passed away. In the end, one person stole several million dollars and everyone else in the family got nothing. Sad sad sad. Desire for money makes people do stupid things.

As a 50% owner of the property, you can force a sale with the help of a real estate attorney. In this scenario, the house would be sold to someone else and you and your sister would split the proceeds. If your sister doesn't want to give up the house, her only recourse is to buy out your 50%. The amount she would owe you is based on the current appraised value of the house.

Especially because your sister is your only remaining family member, I would encourage you to keep your door open to her. Who knows what demons she is wrestling with to drive her to treat you this way. My husband and I kept the door open for his wayward relative (who blew all the money on bad investments, by the way, and is now broke again) and we have a better relationship with him than ever. Basically, if your sister wants to be this way, let her make her own bed. She will eventually have to lie in it. Just try to keep an open heart for when she's ready to wake up and get out of that bed.

You sound like a lovely person with a good head on her shoulders. Stay strong and true and perhaps your sister will learn a thing or two from you.

Best of luck.

I kind of went through this myself. My father died and my brother took care of him until he died. My sister who lived far away and whose name the house was under requested ten thousand dollars from the equity of the house to get her name off the house. She had used the house as a tax right off for ten years, and she already benefited from having the house in her name. She caused a rift in our family. She did not speak to me for six months. When she had a death in her husband's side of the family, that humbled her to call. Material things are pointless when we die we do not take anything with us. Try to make the transition as smooth as possible. Maybe your sister is dealing with alot of guilt, and she feels if she holds on to things or that house she can remember or hold on to your parents. Memories live in our hearts and souls there is nothing material that can replace that or allow us to forget. No matter how mean your sister is show her kindness, and show her love. When someone is hurting inside, they act with anger on the outside. Ask your sister what she wants to do. If she wants to keep the house, then say I understand how you feel. I am so willing to let you have the house, but don't you agree that since it is both our house you should buy me out? Wait to see what she says, you keep your head and stay calm. If she says no, say I am sorry you feel this way, and If I felt I could let it go I would, but I feel it is only right and I think our parents would want us to share don't you think? Try to be calm. Try not to let this issue break you guys apart asure her that no matter what you will always love her. It could take a while, but this can be resolved. Plus why does this issue of the house have to be taken care of soon? So she took things and the cell phone, in the end they are just things, she can't literally take the house from the ground and take it with her. Turn this situation over to God, and things will work out. Keep faith.

Dear T.,

No solution, really, just heart-felt sympathy! To start, I will say that it sounds like you need to consult with a lawyer to help you get this situation settled . . . you two need to find a time that you can go through the house together and take turns choosing things that you would like to keep (kind of like choosing teams during p.e)

I have seen this in my own (though not immediate) family . . . My mom is one of four siblings . . . her two sisters retired and moved up north and out of state - my uncle does not have a full time job - my mother is the only one who was employed full time, and after Grampa was diagnosed with cancer, he and Gramma moved in with my mom. She cared for Grampa until he died, and after, Gramma never moved out, becoming weaker, first room-bound, then bed (and/or chair)-ridden. Mom was taking full-time care of Gramma, going home during her work day to get her meals, catheterizing her three times a day when she was unable to empty her bladder, getting her back to bed and bathing her after work. After 4-5 years of this, Gramma moved into a "guest house" and Mom still went down to see her every day after work, getting her to bed, doing skin care and p.t. Mom became very ill, and we nearly lost her a few times a couple years ago. Gramma died before Mom was fully recovered and able to return to her home. When the two sisters came down and all four siblings went through my grandparents' home to divvy everything up, Mom feels as though she came up short because she couldn't move as well or as fast as the others - even though she took care of both Gramma and Grampa before they died - while being the only sibling to hold a full-time job! She has hurt feelings and is trying hard to not be bitter - but it is very difficult!

This is such a difficult time and situation . . . I am so sorry that this seems to be pulling you and your sister apart instead of bringing you closer . . . Hopefully time will heal the rift being created right now . . . I wish you only the best!

God bless!

I have a friend who just recently went through something like this and she bought out her sister's half. Oddly as well, she wasn't getting along with her sister either but her sister didn't want to keep the home nor it's contents. So, she got the financing to buy the other half. Don't know if that helps but I would recommend you try to state the 2 options and perhaps allow her to make the choice - you buy her 1/2 out or she buys your 1/2 out so you can do what needs to be done to do that and move forward with the appraisal, etc.

T.: Sorry about the situation. My mother passed 11 1/2 years ago and left everything in a living trust with my sister as the executor. My sister and her husband refinanced the house and gave me and my brothers our interest in it so I bought a condo. Is there an executor or are you both the executors? You're probably going to have to get an attorney.


Congratulations on your wonderful family life. Nowadays it is not often seen. Maybe that is one of your sister's problems- she might be lacking and/or she is not able to be happy for those who do.

It seems that you have gotten PLENTY of legal info., which is good cause I don't know anything about it! The only thing I can tell you is that you seem to be in a healthy place and you'll get through it. I hope that things work out with your sister because any day either of you can go and the other will be left all alone. I think you're going about things sensibly and kindly. Just keep your bright outlook and try to get some of it to rub off on your sister. Maybe you can try becoming friends again slowly by doing things together without mentioning/discussing the Trust issue. You can invite her to lunch or shopping. If she doubts your intentions, just tell her that you'd like to be her sister again.

Anyway, good luck to you.


i agree with the other posters, get legal advice by a TRUST/ESTATE ATTORNEY. also, you need to look at the will/trust that was left behind and know/understand every word that is in it.

i agree with whomever said take pictures of everything and get your documentation together, if just to protect yourself.

also, understand that death can bring the worst out of people. i am currently in a trust battle with some family members (and it has been ongoing since 2005, and not resolved yet). i definitely am "writing my uncle off" because he is participating in actions that people who understand the meaning of family just don't do.

so sorry that you have to be going through this. stay strong!


I agree with Corina E, get legal advice. I would also- if she is not living there, go back during a time that she is not going to know you are there (presuming you have a key as well) and take dated pictures of every wall, dish, cabinet, trinket... EVERYTHING in that house right now. If you can name exact items that are missing, document them as well. I know that this sounds petty, but by going through all of that, you are also protecting yourself from her pulling a "my parents never owned a..." should it actually need to go to court.

My Mom went through a similar bit with her brother after her mom passed away. My Uncle had lived with my Grandma most of his life (moved out for about 3-4 years) and cared for my Grandma in her dieing days. When she passed, my mom said nothing about him living there. The agreement was that his "rent" would be paying the mortgage and utilities. That all went just fine, for about 4 years; then he came to my parents asking them to bail the house out of forclosure and bring the utilities current. The house when my Grandma passed was probably about $30,000 from "turn key" condition. When my parents bailed him and the house out, they personally spent $120,000 to get it to "turn key" selling condition. Once my parents took back the $120,000 and split the rest of the the profit, my uncle got $80,000. Originally, my parents had offered to buy him out at $150,000 and let him live there until they had finished fixing it up- he refused because he felt that my parents were trying to rip him off. SIGH!

Anyway- to this day, he only calls when he's in real trouble. (Last Holiday season he ended up in the hospital 3 or 4 times and has ZERO insurance.) So, no matter how the whole thing goes down, don't be surprised if things are NEVER the same again.

And- though I can see you just want the fighting to stop, don't back down 100%! Your parents loved you both equally and would want you to get an equal share of what they left behind. Don't let her bully you and your kids out of their legacy... even if it is "just $$$". You will build even more resentment for her with every passing year, and eventually, you may mistakenly resent your parents for "allowing her to be this way".

Hope you get some advice and some closure! ~J.

Hi T.:
How sad,that in your sisters grief,she has been overcome by (greed)I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.Your financial stability,Has made your sister feel she is owed your parents house.I believe She is wrong.God bless them, If your parents were here today,to see how your sister was behaving,I would imagine they'd be just heartbroken.Had your parents the oportunity,I feel they would have changed their minds about their home.You took your father in and provided him with loving care,until his passing.That meant so much to him T..God will bless you for your devotion,and loving heart.He knows how difficult it was,caring for your family,and your father.You need A rest. You don't need to burden yourself with your sisters foolishness.You need to have a consoltation,with an attorney,and ask his advice on the matter.He will simplify things for you,and hopefully be able to handle things, so you can (Move on) Don't make this situation more painful,by continuing to satisfy your sisters need to argue her point.Tie things up,and get on with your life. The very best to you and your family.

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