How much time do I have to get out of my deceased parent’s house?

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How much time do I have to get out of my deceased parent’s house?

I lived with my mother. She passed away. My sister and I will split the assets 50/50. The day my mother died my sister started aggressively moving to get her share. She wants me to get everything out of the house immediately so the house can be sold or pay her her share now. There are a lot of things to go through in the house. I think I need at least 6 months and that is not nearly acceptable to my sister. How much time do I legally have before I have to leave the house or else pay her her 1/2 of the value of the house?

Asked on April 4, 2019 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The law does not actually provide a time frame for this. It also most definitely does NOT require you to under anu circumstances pay your sister her 1/2 of the house's value. 
If house has been already transferred to your and your sister's ownership (been retitled in both your names), then if your sister is not satisfied with the pace of things, she can bring a legal action traditionally called an action "for partition" to get a cour order requiring that the home be placed on the market and sold, and that the proceeds of the sale, less the costs of sale and paying off any mortgages or liens, be divided between the two of you. This--a forced sale and division of proceeds--is the law's rememdy for a co-owner who does not agree with what her co-owner is doing with the property.
If the house had been been retitled in the names of the two of you yet, she cannot do this because she is not yet an owner; rather, the hoem is owned by your mother's "estate.") Whomever is the executor of the estate (if there was a will) or court-appointed personal representative (if there was no will) could, to better effectuate the intent and terms of the will (splitting the value of the house 50-50) put the house on the market now, even while you are in the house, and sell it; the executor or personal representative could also bring a legal action called an action "for ejectment" (think: eviction for someone who was not a rent-paying tenant) to remove you...but only the executor or personal representative could do this. While the house is still in--still owned by--the estate, the executor or personal representative has authority over it, to be exercised in a way consistent with the terms of the will.


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