Can the executor force the heirs to sell real estate? Also, how does an heir know if the estate has been settled or finalized?

Asked about 5 years ago - San Antonio, TX

My mother-in-law died in Aug 2008 and had 3 sons. The youngest son is the executor and he and his wife have been handling the estate which is to be divided into thirds equally. My mother-in-law owned a beach condo and it was decided when she bought the condo that it would be rented out and when it’s not rented the brothers & their families could use it (this was a verbal agreement between all parties). The executor is trying to force his 2 brothers to buy him out or he is threatening to sell it. My question is, can he do this even if both brothers do not want to sell? Also, how does an heir know if the estate has been settled or finalized? Is there some sort of paper work that should be distributed? Thank you for your help!

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Wilfred Henry Chan

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I am going to assume that the beach condo was solely in your mother-in-law's name. If the terms of the verbal agreement are not stated in the will, then those terms are not legally binding on anyone. So, the administration of your mother-in-law's estate should be straightforward, which is the collection and liquidation of assets, payment of claims, and distribution of the remaining proceeds equally among the three sons.

    The executor has the power to sell the beach condo. As indicated above, this is what he supposed to do unless all three brothers agree to another arrangement like a buy-out or transferring title to the names of all of three brothers. So, hopefully, the brothers can make a deal.

    In most jurisdictions, when the estate is going to be closed, legatees are entitled to review an accounting of the estate and be given notice from the executor of the hearing to close the estate so they can file an objection.

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