46 answers

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.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

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!!

Featured Answers

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.
G.

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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.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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,
J.

1 mom found this helpful

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?
C.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

T.,

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

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.
G.

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