‘He needs to get a loan’: My mother left her Florida house to us kids. Our brother acts like it only belongs to him. What recourse do we have?

Dear Quentin,

My mother passed away three years ago and left the house to my brother, my sister and me. What little was left in her bank account was distributed among the three of us. 

Our brother is still living in the family home. He pays the taxes, insurance and utilities to live there. The house was to be split three ways among us. 

If he wants to continue living in the house, my feeling is he needs to get a loan on a fair appraisal for the house, and buy both my sister and me out. 

At what point do I bring this up? He claims it’s his home, as he lives there, and we need to give notice when we go there to visit. 

The house is in Florida, and right now the market is up. He has no plans to leave the house. What legal recourse do we have? He was the executor of the will. 

Thank you in advance for your time.

Good Grief, Get Out

Dear Good Grief,

The longer your brother is allowed to live there while insisting that this house now belongs to him, the harder it will be to have the conversation. He is taking care of the house and paying for its upkeep, so there’s no point in bursting through the doors — with or without a pitchfork. 

Trespassing and possession laws vary from state to state. You and your sister are listed on the deed, so you are legal co-owners of this house, and you don’t have a landlord/tenant contract with your brother. Tread carefully, and with the advice of a lawyer.

Legally, if you are co-owners, you should have the right to live there and/or sell the property. It seems like you are interested not in the former, but the latter. You know what you want, so I suggest you both visit him ASAP and tell him, “We need to talk about the house.”

If he refuses to cooperate within an agreed-upon timeframe, an attorney could issue a partition action for the probate court to force the sale of your mother’s property. The property taxes, in the meantime, should be paid from your mother’s estate and/or by all three siblings.

In Florida, “when two or more beneficiaries are entitled to distribution of undivided interests in any property, the personal representative or any beneficiary may petition the court before the estate is closed to partition the property,” the state’s probate law says.

If you allow him to pay for the taxes and upkeep, you are making it trickier for yourself when the time comes to split the proceeds of the estate. That arrangement also potentially creates more ill will and confusion among the siblings over who should pay for what.

Taking legal action can be costly and time consuming. It could permanently end your relationship with your brother, and make any sale challenging, if he is still there and attempts to deny access. You must all ask yourself as a family whether it’s worth it.

The threat of legal action is a powerful tool, and can be used as a last resort. You want this house sold and the profit divided among all three siblings equally. That’s what your mother wanted, that’s what it says on the deed, and any court in the land would back you up on that.

Yocan email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets he cannot reply to questions individually.

More from Quentin Fottrell:

My mother excluded me from her will — before she died, my sibling cashed out her annuity policy, on which I was a beneficiary. Should I sue my family?

‘I’m clean and sober’: My late father left me 25% of his estate, and my wealthy brother 75%. My brother died 10 months later. Should I ask his son for his share?

‘It’s still painful’: My wife of just one year left me, took all her belongings and won’t answer her phone. How do I protect my finances?

Source link


Jacob Keiter is a husband, a writer, a journalist, a musician, and a business owner. His journey to becoming a writer was one that was paved with challenges, but ultimately led him to find his true calling. Jacob's early years were marked by a strong desire for creative expression. He was always drawn to music, and in his youth, he played in several bands, chasing the elusive promise of fame and success. However, despite his best efforts, Jacob struggled to find the recognition he craved. It wasn't until he hit a low point in his life that Jacob discovered his love for writing. He turned to writing as a form of therapy during a particularly difficult time, and found that it not only helped him to cope with his struggles, but also allowed him to express himself in a way that he had never been able to before. Jacob's writing skills quickly caught the attention of others, and he soon found himself working as a journalist for The Sun out of Hummelstown. From there, he went on to contribute to a variety of publications, including the American Bee Journal and Referee Magazine. Jacob's writing style is reflective of traditional journalism, but he also infuses his work with a unique voice that sets him apart from others in his field. Despite his success as a writer, Jacob also owns another business, JJ Auto & Home, which specializes in cleaning. Jacob's commitment to excellence is evident in all of his endeavors, whether it be in his writing or in his business ventures. Today, Jacob is the author of two books and continues to inspire others through his writing. His journey to becoming a writer serves as a reminder that sometimes our darkest moments can lead us to our greatest achievements.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *