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Can executor or estate attorney evict heir / beneficiary and sell property.

Jersey City, NJ |

Decedents Will states all property given to three children "in equal parts". I believe the intent of the Testator was each beneficiary decide what to do with their share. Title / Deed is in the name of the Decedent. Possible options are Tenants in Common, or divide the 3 apartments in condominiums. Two apartments are occupied by 2 beneficiaries. Executor and estate attorney have placed property for sale. How can I stop this sale ?
There are no outstanding debts, and expenses are being paid by estate funds, so there is no necessity to sell.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Unless the will specifically awarded the heirs property, the executor is entitled to sell all of the estate assets and divide the sale proceeds in equal shares. If you are interested in purchasing any of the estate assets, let the executor know and you may be able to purchase them. It would also be helpful if you consulted with your own attorney to get a better understanding of what the will means and what your options are.

    Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


  2. Ms. Reed is correct. Be sure that when the property is sold, it is done so impartially. Broker price opinions and appraisals are recommended. The executor has the obligation to act in the best interest of ALL beneficiaries - otherwise he or she could be held personally liable.


  3. I agree with my colleagues that the executor has the right to sell the property. If you do not want this to happen, then practically speaking, your best bet might be to buy out the interest of the sibling that does not want the property. You may be able to use a portion of the rest of the estate in order to make this more reasonable, price-wise.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!


  4. With all due respect, your statement of facts may be correct, but they may not. While most parents give the children an equal share, you need to be certain that the Will does not direct the executor to sell the property and to divide the proceeds equally. If it specifically gives the residence to all three children, or all my property, real, personal and mixed, to my three children in equal shares, then in reality, the house vests in ALL three children at the moment of death. A deed is not required. Probate of the Will suffices.

    This means the executor cannot sell without the consent of all three children/siblings. If one does not want to own the house, the two who do, as my colleagues point out, should get an appraisal and buy the one-third interest. It is also noted as an aside, since the house is owned by the three children, the expenses of maintaining the property should be paid by each child (1/3rd each), and not from the assets of the estate.

    If you need assistance, I can be reached at 973-994-9080. I used to live in Jersey City, and then Bayonne and I was an Assistant County Counsel for Hudson County prior to moving to the suburbs.

    The foregoing is not intended to be legal advice upon which you may rely as I have not been retained for this purpose.


  5. Unless the will specifies exactly how the property is to be distributed, the executor is entitled to use his or her judgment to decide how to accomplish distribution. Obviously, the executor has determined that the most expedient method is by selling the property and dividing the proceeds among the heirs. The fact that all expenses are currently being paid by estate funds does not mean that sale can be postponed indefinitely; the executor may have determined that those funds will be exhausted sooner than later and hence the need to sell the property. It is an executor's responsibility to distribute all estate property and close an estate as quickly as possible. Unless you can prove that there is some misconduct on the part of the executor in putting the property up for sale, there may not be anything you can do to prevent the sale, since you will ultimately receive your fair share of the estate.

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