Estate Sibling Issues

Updated on December 07, 2015
L.G. asks from San Antonio, TX
17 answers

I am having issues with a sibling regarding my parent's estate. Unfortunately they died without a will and I am trying to settle their estate. The estate consists of their home (valued at 53,000) and 50,000 cash. My mother had left me an additional 20,000 which I have exhausted paying their mortgage for over two years. My younger brother took over their home without paying the mortgage or property taxes. I asked him to begin paying the mortgage five months ago and he has failed to do so. He also has rented out a second estate property and has been pocketing this rent. He feels entitled to a third of the 50,000. My other sibling and I do not want the house as we know that our brother will never vacate the home and are tired of him taking advantage. My plan is to pay off the remaining mortgage, split the rest of the cash with my sister and have him refinance what should be our portion since he refuses to sell the home. He basically feels entitled to everything. He will be livid if I refuse to give him the money but I can not trust that he will pay the mortgage. Do you have any advice on how I can resolve this? I just want to do things fairly.

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answers from Phoenix on

I hope everyone that reads this will get a trust in place. Sorry you are going through this. Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

What???? This has gone on over 2 years???

The fact that there is no will ..SCREAMS lawyer because you should have to go through probate to finalize the estate.

Just because there's not a lot of money involved does not mean you don't seek legal counsel.

What lunatic talked you into allowing this to go on for 2 years??

Someone has really pulled the wool over your eyes.

Wake up and get a lawyer involved NOW, before the entire estate is worth ZERO!!!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You need to get an attorney or mediator. I know there is other property involved here because you mention it in passing, but let's do the equation with just the house and cash you mention above, which was $123K. Split 3 ways, that's $41K each. Your brother has already benefited from $20K in distributions in the form of mortgage paid on that property, so he is owed $21K. You and your sister are still each owed $41K, so $82K total. Because $50K of that is tied up in the house, he needs to agree to sell the house or buy the house himself and liquidate the $32K of the home's value that belongs to you and your sister ($82K total minus $50K in cash). You and your sister would each get $25K in cash and $16K from the re-fi or sale of the house, making up the $41K that you are each entitled to. He would be left with a $21K stake in the house, and a mortgage for the remainder that is in his name. He does not get any cash.

With the income property, you need to figure out it's present value, rental income potential and the cost of maintenance, any mortgages on it, etc. as well.

If your mother left the $20K in cash to you, then there is nothing illegal about paying the mortgage from the cash, and your brother has no grounds to sue you.

You should really consult with an estate attorney who does mediation, or an estate mediator. Let your siblings know that the attorney's fees will be paid out of the assets so it's in everyone's best interest to settle this quickly and without a huge fight. Do not let your brother continue to take advantage of you and your sister. You two have the right to dispense with the property and receive your fair share of the estate.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

screw 'fairly.'
lawyer up!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

You need a lawyer immediately. I'm sorry but this is probably going to get very ugly. Prepare yourself.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

You need an attorney and fast. Let the courts decide who is entitled to what. Keep records of your expenses so they get factored in to the settlement. I hope when you told your brother to begin paying the mortgage, you did so in writing so there is a paper trail.

Prepare yourself for this to end poorly with your brother. He has already shown his true colors when he refused to pay rent then again when he began pocketing the rental income.

Grief and money bring out the ugly in some people.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't really understand your predicament but I know that people get weird when it comes to inheritance money.

I think you will just have to do what you have to do, and let him be livid. If he feels entitled, nothing you do will make him happy. This may put an irreparable wedge in your relationship with him, but so be it.

Do what you need to do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

With an estate of relatively little value like this, I would highly recommend giving Mediation a shot before you go to court. You will spend a lot of money on an attorney if it has to go through a trial. You need to look at what you really want- a resolution, assets to stay with you and your siblings, or a court to say you were right all along. A good mediator will work with the three of you to help you craft an agreement that you can all live with. You may have to "give" a bit more than you would like ideally, but you could save time, money, aggravation, hopefully your relationships. If it doesn't work, you can move forward to a court case showing the court that you did everything possible to settle amicably.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

You should have gotten an probate lawyer right after your parents passed away. It's sad how horrible relatives can become after a loved one dies.

Since two of you don't want the house then he will need to buy you out, so you could offer a break even by not giving any of the cash or put that cash toward paying off the mortgage. He will also need to get a mortgage in his name and/or transfer the deed to his name which you and your other sibling will need to sign off on. This should all be done with a lawyer, I went through something similar with my niece after my brother died. It's very frustrating and exhausting.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You HAVE to get a lawyer involved in this. Your brother could sue you for mismanaging the estate, even if you give him what he wants. You have a fiduciary responsibility here as the executor.

I don't know if at this point you can abdicate the job of executor or not. That's something to ask the court.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Lawyer lawyer lawyer! Eviction is time-consuming so be very careful about undertaking that. Paying off the mortgage is one thing but you have just got to protect yourself. Do not give him a dime without excellent legal advice no matter what it costs. It sounds like you will get stuck with a big debt if you allow your brother to do what he wants. He's irresponsible and entitled. I know this will cause a rift, but the rift is already there. Sorry.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I'm sorry if this sounds disrespectful but you could be a poster child people passing away without end of life and estate planning. My heart goes out to you for your loss and I don't know all the details as to why they didn't provide this for you and your siblings.

Having said that, I agree completely with the other lawyer lawyer. Each states laws are different and probate court is unique so I'm not in a position to be specific but use any future mortgage money toward legal counsel and get this resolved as quickly as possible. My husband recently lost his father and every time something comes up I say a thank you to my FIL for being so detailed and meticulous in planning and assigning duties. It will take only 6 - 12 months to finalize the estate depending on how long it takes to sell 2 remaining properties.

I hate to say it but weddings, births and deaths tend to bring out the worst in people. You are being abused and you don't deserve that. thoughts to you, S.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Both of you are wrong. When someone dies without a will the state decides how the estate is divided after all expenses are paid off through probate court. Call to get the ball rolling on that asap because the longer this situation goes on the deeper divide will be there between you and your siblings.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Follow what LuckyMom said TODAY.

I would probably meet with 2 or 3 for a free consultation. Bring someone with you, get as much in writing, and go in knowing how much you are willing to spend in legal fees.

Then pick a lawyer and get busy protecting yourself.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

He can sue you for everything you are doing. IF they truly died without a will then you are breaking the law just by doing anything with that $20K. It was not in writing or that would be a will or at least some sort of estate plan.

You need to protect yourself and do it now. Be prepared to show proof that you had legal authority to do anything with that money plus that YOU have any right to anything, even the house. Once that is established THEN you can move forward and deal with your brother.

He is going to be angry but that's okay. You don't have to be close or even see each other again after this is settled. I don't see my brother. He was very mean to my sister over my mom's stuff.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Do not give him any of the cash until the house is figured out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your sister needs to fight for this right along side of you. If it is only you fighting, it is not worth it to your health or sibling relationship.

I fought a very similar fight with my siblings. My oldest brother (69) played the "poor" card and got the fully paid for family home. He was over age 65 and thus pays no taxes. The other siblings allowed it. I was fighting him alone and was losing myself in that battle. I decided to just ask for $500 cash from him and I walked away from them all. He

Gladly handed me the cash.

I am only cordial now. I've not set foot in our family home since it happened. I do not attend family events at anyone's home. I just send birthday and holiday greetings via text. I miss them, but I saw that they were more concerned with maintaining his embrace than mine. He is extremely charismatic and has wonderful family and friend events year round.

The bad feelings will grow no matter what you do --whether you lawyer up, take the short stick (low cash amount) or fight him. I decided to take a great financial loss just to get something and not feel 'punked'.

It is ridiculous that one sibling lives rent free, pays no taxes and only pays utilities and upkeep while the remaining siblings still have mortgages plus utilities and upkeep on our homes. But, I refused to be the only sibling trying to make things equal.

I think when my old brother dies (he is not well), and my other siblings see his kids inherit our family home, then they will want to fight. I will sit back, cross my flabby arms and smirk, but I will not fight for their or my rights. I got my mere lot from him and I'm done.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful
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