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Do I need an attorney specializing in real estate or trust administration/inheritance law?

San Diego, CA |

I am one of four beneficiaries inheriting real estate. I am the only one of the four who has lived in the property for the past seven years. All four of us have accumulated "debt" toward our inheritance in varied amounts in which our father kept accounting records. My "debt" to the estate has been in the form of rent charged at $1000 per month for living in a home owned by our father which we now each own 25% of. The "debts to the estate" of my siblings were not involving any inherited property. My siblings want to put the home I am living in on the market to sell as soon as possible. In other words, I am being forced out. I would like to try and remain in the home and I'm wondering what my options are.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    First, you haven't mentioned whether you are going through a probate proceeding or whether your father had a living trust which is now being administered. The process varies a bit depending on which circumstance you face. Second, I should ask whether you ever agreed to the rent you are being charged with owing against your share of the estate ? Third, do your father's estate planning documents provide for deducting what might be called advancements ? These questions more clearly frame your position.

    A good estate planning attorney will take a look at your situation to evaluate whether you are in a position to buy out your sibling's shares in the house either directly or with a combination of conventional purchase with an outside loan, application of any remaining inheritance share and with the cooperation of the other beneficiaries a possible carry back note.

    You need to pick out an experienced estates attorney and pay them to help you explore your options.

    DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this post or transmitted by email should be interpreted as legal advice unless I have been retained and you have made a deposit towards my fees. This post is intended to help the person posting the question to ask the right questions with the attorney of their choice. Your time to act may be very limited and this could substantially reduce your rights and options. Do NOT rely on anything I have written here -- You should contact a lawyer in your area immediately after reading my posting. I am licensed to practice law only in the State California. For questions connected with the laws of other states you should seek an Attorney in that state to advise you. The following disclosure is required pursuant to IRS Circular 230: unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein. Attorney Weissler is licensed in California only. Although the legal rules in many states are the same, rules in your state may differ from those known by the responding attorney. Before relying on information received over the internet always check with a local attorney..


  2. Unless you can buy your siblings out, they can force a sale by using a partition action. This will be expensive and attorney's fees will be allocated by the judge. It would be best to cooperate with the sale and take as much money possible from the sale instead of giving it to an attorney.


  3. You need a trust and estates attorney. All trust and estates lawyers in CA have to be very familiar with real property transfer laws and how real properties transfers may be accomplished (and the tax consequences).

    A trust and estates lawyer will also help you untangle any concerns you may have about the 'debts' you spoke of and provides you with your options.

    Information provided on Avvo does not constitute legal advice, as it is general in nature and may not apply to your situation. No attorney client relationship exists unless we have both signed a representation agreement which sets forth the terms of my engagement.


  4. You have mixed some facts that are relevant and some facts that are not. You lived in a home owned by your father and accrued a debt to him (his estate because you agreed the rent value was $1000) but your father didn't charge you, instead you 'owed' him for it. Your siblings have debts to your father for other reasons. What is germane is that your father has died, he owned the property where you live, and his trust or will divides the property between his children. Although you'd like to stay the fact that you've lived there is unfortunately not relevant. The property will be sold. If you object you could delay the sale, but you might be exposed to costs and fees incurred by your siblings in any suit they have to bring.

    Your question seems to be hoping that there is an legal wrinkle to the fact that you've lived in the house. I don't think there is one and based on the facts you as you have stated them there is no method by which you could prevent the sale.


  5. Attorney Weissler is correct that there are a lot of questions that require answers before options can be provided. I recommend that you contact an experienced Probate Attorney to assist you.

    No legal representation exists by virtue of this answer. It is recommended that you contact an attorney directly for a more complete response.


  6. You should definitely sit down with a Trust & Estates attorney. See Avvo.Com under Find-A-Lawyer. Enter 'Estate Planning' and 'San Diego CA'. It will bring up several well-qualified attorneys to choose from. Good luck!!

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