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My mother passed a year and a half ago,I have tried & tried to get my sister (who is the trustee and living in my mom's house)

Anaheim, CA |

to buy it or sell it. Now I have been informed by an appraiser that the central air & heat are not working and there is a leak in the bathroom from it...I know iy was working fine a year and a half ago. Is she responcable for maintaining it and at this point repairing it ? If she decides to sell it will have to be fixed

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Attorney answers 3


Your question does not state who owns the house. A co-owner in possession may have a duty to other co-owners to maintain property, and a trustee may have a duty to maintain trust property for the equal benefit of all beneficiaries.

If you are uncomfortable providing more detail, consult an attorney in person.



The house is to be divided between 3 daughters , the trustee ,myself and another sister


If the house is owned by the trust and she is the trustee, she has a duty to maintain the property and make necessary repairs. Your rights vis a vis your sister depends on the terms of the trust. If the trust states that on the death of your mother, the trustee must distribute the trust property to the beneficiaries and you are a beneficiary, then your sister is probably in breach of the trust for failing either to distribute the property in kind to the beneficiaries or sell the house and distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries. If that is the case, you can file a petition in superior court to compel her to do so. You most likely would need to hire an attorney to help you with this.

This response is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created as a result of this response.


Hello. Do you have a copy of the Trust? To whom does the house go to? If you are to receive an interest in the house, does the Trust specify any time period to make distribution? Some have exemptions for relatives to continue to live in the house. If it does not say so, or if you have not been given a copy of the Trust, then request a copy from your sister in writing. If you are unable to secure a copy, or if the Trust states that you are to receive an interest in the house, then you should consult a local attorney regarding protecting your rights. Yes, the current Trustee, your sister has a fiduciary responsibility to take care of the assets in the Trust, so maintenance is definitely included. And unless there is some sort of exemption for her to live in the house, she has a responsibility to distribute the Trust property in a timely manner

This is not intended as legal advice, nor does it constitute the establishment of an attorney/cleint relationship. Most legal problems are very fact specific and you should consult an attorney in your area for a careful reading of the pertinent documents.

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