We have done some remodeling that increase the value of the probate house but now the sister is not willing to pay us back!

My boyfriend's dad passed away without a will. He left a house for the 2 children my girlfriend and her sister. Her sister moved out of the house soon after the father's passing away and found a lawyer to take care of the probate and assigned her self as the probate administrator. I moved in with my girlfriend and we did some remodeling of the flooring, fixing of some plumbing problem, bee issue at our own costs. Now the probate(house) is going for sale but her sister is not willing to reimburse us the cost of remodeling and other repair costs. She said the remodeling is done at our own intend (she didn't disagree when we did it). She will only be willing to reimburse the repair cost that will incurred after the house is being put up on the market. What can we do to get our money back?

Fullerton, CA -

Attorney Answers (4)

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Probate Attorney - Stamford, CT
Answered

Hire an experienced probate lawyer and petition the probate court to force the Administrator to reimburse you for your remodeling costs. You will need solid documentation of what you did and some expenses (such as minor repairs) may not be deemed fit for reimbursement. Note, also, depending on the assets of the estate, you may not be reimbursed until the house is sold. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor... more
Paula Brown Sinclair

Paula Brown Sinclair

Probate Attorney - Twin Falls, ID
Answered

Mr. Pankowski is correct regarding the needed procedure. It occurs to me in addition that the value of the use of the house may become an issue in retaliation. No rent obligation or payment is mentioned, and the possibility does exist that the administrator is intending to accept the repairs in lieu of rent.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Probate Attorney - Livonia, MI
Answered

I agree with my colleagues. I would simply add that at least a portion of the funds should be returned to you in the form of a higher sales price on the property. Of course, the sister would share in this, as well. Your "loss", if you do not seek reimbursement, would thus be about half of the cost of repairs, assuming that the repairs enabled you to get a higher price.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******... more
Craig Martin Scalise

Craig Martin Scalise

Probate Attorney - Westlake Village, CA
Answered

You need to petition the court for the expenses (materials and time) you laid out for the repairs on the house. The improvements you made probably increased the value of the property. Collect all the receipts and consult with an attorney. Get a referral from the Orange County Bar Association - http://www.ocbar.org/

IF you found this information helpful, please click the helpful button.

Mr.Scalise may be reached at 805-244-6850 or by email (caig@scaliselawfirm.com). My responses to questions posted... more

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.