My father-in-law passed away w/o a will. The case is in probate now and my wife and her sister are the only heirs. Her sister is the probate administrator. Both us and her sister agree to sell the only house. We would like to use a realtor that we know but her sister wants to use a realtor that she knows. We have negotiated many times but can't come to a mutual agreement. What should we do? Can her sister bring this to court and since she is the administrator, will the court grant her the right to choose a realtor?
Real Estate Attorney
As the court-appointed administrator, your wife's sister has the authority to hire the real estate professional. Unless the listing agreement she intends to sign is unfair to the Estate, this is probably not a fight worth having, particularly since everyone is agreement to sell the house. At the very least, I would suggest that the sales commission be 5 percent, and that if this person attempts to "double-end" the sale (representing both seller and buyer -- which I do not recommend -- even though it is legal), the commission be reduced to 4%. The Administrator has the duty to enter into contracts that benefit the Estate.
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Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
The administrator has the right to choose which realtor to use, as part of his or her duties to administer the estate.
You could go to court and challenge the administrator's decision, but I do not see anything in the facts presented to suggest that a challenge would be successful.
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Estate Planning Attorney
I agree-the administrator's decision.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
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