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

Fullerton, CA |

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?

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Attorney answers 4


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 considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.


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.

Marty Burbank

Marty Burbank


Ms Sinclare raises an important point. If you have been living in the home rent free you my be more ahead of the game than getting remembers ex for the expenses you incurred. If the executor did not have input or offer approval the. Your improvements will likely not be rembersae as you benefited from the repairs whileiving rent free.


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 -

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Mr.Scalise may be reached at 805-244-6850 or by email ( My responses to questions posted here intended as helpful legal information not legal advice. The information I post does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Scalise is licensed to practice law in California. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, and retain him/her. Mr. Scalise provides “unbundled” services for specific assistance with a specific issue.O work with clients throughout California.


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. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have 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 your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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