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Estate Executor-Heir Question; How can an executor of an estate sell tenants in common property without a full legal battle?

Alexandria, VA |

Have been appointed executor. Sibling does not want to participate in the good of the estate to sell tenants in common real estate. Real estate now in back taxes because of it. Sibling does not care about their inheritance or the problems they are creating for me and the estate. Sibling does not want anything to change from the past. Wants everything to remain the same as if the parents where still alive. Last living parent did not make good decisions thus I am left with a mess on my hands. Will poorly constructed that could have avoided these problems. The properties need to be sold and liens satisfied. Not to mention I would like my inheritance before it is all squandered away or sold for a song on the courthouse steps. How do I get around this without a lengthly legal battle?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Best answer

    If I correctly understand your posting, a parcel of real estate has been bequeathed to two or more siblings, who each became tenants-in-common, and one does not wish to sell. I thus understand that rather than providing that the decedent's children each get an equal amount of the proceeds of sale, the will, instead, provided that each child obtains an undivided interest in the property. That would be an unusual way for the will to read. You should have an attorney look at the will. It may be that you understanding of its effect is incorrect.

    If, however, you are correct, then there are really just two options: (1) Buy your sibling out; or (2) start an action in partition. Of course, your question was how to avoid a "lengthy legal battle." And that just may not be possible. If your reportage is correct, then you have an unreasonable sibling. There is one trait that all unreasonable people have in common: Unreasonableness.

    Good luck to you.

    Good luck to you.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.

  2. You need to hire an probate attorney. Although in Virginia real estate does vest directly in the heirs as tenants in common absent contrary provisions in a Will, the Executor of a Will can, in certain situations, bring the real estate back into the estate if the value of the real estate is necessary to pay debts of the estate. It sounds like this may be an option for you. This is a complex procedure that you will need an attorney's help with; however, it should be better and much quicker than the other two options mentioned: (1) buying your sibling out; or (2) starting a partition action.

    Evan is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by NELF (National Elder Law Foundation), which is approved by the American Bar Association, and is a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys). Virginia has no procedure for approving certifying organizations. NOTICE - Unless expressly stated otherwise, this communication: (1) is not legal advice absent an existing attorney-client relationship between us; (2) does not create an attorney-client relationship; (3) does not constitute an offer, acceptance, or contract amendment; (4) may contain confidential or legally privileged information protected by the attorney-client relationship and/or work product privilege; (5) is only for the use of the individual to whom it is intended by the sender to be sent, and if you are not such recipient, disclosure, copying, distribution or reliance upon this communication is prohibited; and (6) is not intended, and cannot be used, to avoid tax-related penalties pursuant to treasury department circular 230.

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