There are some practical problems that can be addressed by having the sibling there. For example, the property may not be insurable, if it is vacant. If it IS insurable, the premiums would be *significantly* higher, if there is no one at the property. The reason for this is largely due to security concerns. So having someone there helps lessen your costs and keeps the property more secure. It may also be easier to market and sell the property if there is someone living there, as opposed to a vacant house.
Presumably, the sibling would also pay utility costs while there, which the estate would otherwise need to pay.
Having said this, there ARE costs that will be incurred, regardless of whether there is someone there, or not. These include insurance and property taxes. These expenses would need to come off the top of the estate. Perhaps the family could agree that the sibling living there would pay some or all of the insurance costs, in lieu of rent.
You could check with a realtor to determine what the fair rental value of the property would be. If you cannot come to an agreement on these issues, you may need to let the court decide. Obviously, litigating this issue is likely to polarize the relationship of the parties. If the rental value of the property is minimal, and the expectation is that the property will sell fairly quickly, then perhaps charging rent is not that big a deal.
Another alternative *might* be to have the sibling living in the home agree to simply BUY it from the estate. Since he or she is already living there, it solves a number of issues. An appraisal could be conducted to determine a fair price and depending on the equity in the property, given that he or she already has an interest in the property as a beneficiary, your sibling may be able to qualify for a loan to pay off the remaining purchase price.
Best of luck to you!
Mr. Frederick is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and has offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration.
I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer.
Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.
I agree with Mr. Frederick's answer. Having someone live in the house will save on insurance and risk of vandalization. If there are more than one siblings who would like to live in the house, the issue of rent should be addressed.
The house can't be sold until the 6 month's claim period has expired because the Executor or Administrator can't give clear title until all claims and any other possible wills or unknown heirs rights are cut off. It is best if everyone can get together and work all of these issue out.
If you have any questions or would like to meet, you can call me at 533-1667.