Two sisters, equal beneficiaries of their mother’s estate, are having trouble settling their mother’s estate, in part because after a year, the executor hasn’t sold the family home.
If their mother’s will does not specifically provide for a bequest of the home and has distributed her estate in equal shares, the simplest thing would be to sell the house and distribute the proceeds. However, for some reason, that hasn’t happened.
In this case, each sister has retained an attorney. The executor, who’s a family friend, is moving slowly with the probate process, and it’s been more than a year of waiting. The executor of estate is the individual who is specifically designated in the deceased’s will to manage the estate.
In this case, the glacier-like progress of the executor is causing a strain on the sisters’ relationship. This results in the sisters fighting over the estate. One sister is in no hurry to sell the house, and the other feels frustrated and is considering just giving her sister everything and walking away to save her sanity.
nj.com’s recent article on this topic asks “My mom’s executor won’t sell the house. What can I do about it?” The article says that these sisters probably tried to negotiate a resolution. However, there’s no reason to think the only way to resolve this is to “give her everything and walk away.”
The executor should sell the home and distribute the proceeds to the sisters.
If one of the children, her attorney, or the executor object to the sale of the home, a judge may need to intervene. If there’s no issue, and the executor won’t act, a beneficiary can apply to the court to remove the executor. The judge may then name the two sisters as co-executors, so they can sell the home.
Although there would be legal fees and costs to go to court to get some action, if the executor won’t move, there may not be any other choice.
The sisters might also consider asking the judge to cut any executor commission that would be paid to the original executor to cover any legal fees.
While the sisters may be uncomfortable confronting the family friend with the problem that has been created by the failure to move forward, bringing the problem to court may be the wake up call that is needed.
This situation provides a good example of how important it is to select an executor who understands the importance of their role.
Reference: nj.com (August 10, 2019) “My mom’s executor won’t sell the house. What can I do about it?”