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A will states all property is to be distributed equally between three beneficiaries. It has been 10 years since the death.

Hood River, OR |

One of the beneficiaries is also the personal representative and has resided in the real property rent free for the past 10 years. The property has not been maintained, taxes are unpaid and the property cannot be insured due to the condition. The two beneficiaries would like the property sold, but the PR says it is up to him when and how much to sell it for.
The property was well kept when my parents were alive, now it is a wreck and the value is decreasing. Can a majority of two beneficiaries move forward on selling the property. There has been no probate filed, inventory taken or assets dispersed. What steps/actions should be taken?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Run, do not walk to the nearest experienced probate and real estate attorney with instructions to commence proceedings. Ten years was certainly charity enough.
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    Disclaimer: California attorney Robert Miller has practiced for over 45 years and restricts his practice to real estate and probate matters in the Central District of Los Angeles. Any opinion expressed is for general informational purposes only, no attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this answer, and no action or inaction should be contemplated without first employing and consulting with a competent attorney convenient to the questioner.


  2. You have cause to hire an attorney to start a probate procedure and ask to be appointed instead of the one nominated.
    Once appointed-you will be able to sell the property.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


  3. File a removal petition based on numerous breaches of fiduciary duty. In the alternative also seek court declaratory reliie compelling sale of home and a fiduciary accounting if the court is loathe tom remove the executor....but I think the excutor will be immediately removed. Also seek surcharge on the executor equal to the fair market value of the rent that was lost by reason of the executor abusing their power. You have a very strong case based on your presented facts and if you have no cash enter into a contingency deal with an attorneybwho can collect on a percentage of the home proceeds.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained. Please click "helpful" or "best answer" if my answer added any value or add a "comment" if you have more info for me to help you get a better answer.


  4. If there has been no probate filed, then there is NO personal representative of the estate. The beneficiary that also seems to have been nominated as personal representative in the deceased's will has no more legal authority to control the sale of the house than you (or anyone else) has. You should immediately see a probate attorney and file a probate action seeking to have someone else appointed personal representative. You should also talk to your attorney about whether this person owes the estate rent for the last ten years. Good luck.

    Nothing contained herein should be considered as legal advice for any specific situation and nothing herein is intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Every case is very "fact-specific" and persons wishing legal advice on a specific matter should contact me or another attorney for an appointment to review their particular circumstances and to create a lawyer-client relationship. Gregory L. Abbott, Attorney at Law, 6635 North Baltimore, Suite 254, Portland, Oregon 97203. Tel: 503-283-4568; Fax: 503-283-4586; Email: gregabbott@comcast.net. Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.

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