How do I recover my share of an inherited house?

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How do I recover my share of an inherited house?

My folks passed away and left a living Trust with a house left to me 40%, my sister 40% and her son 20%. My sister is currently living in house and has been for the last 2 years since my parents passed; she asked to move in and claimed she would take out a loan to pay me my share. Now she claims she cannot afford loan. Do I have any options to recover my share? She is the trustee..

Asked on July 1, 2014 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It sounds as though the house is still in Trust. At this point, as a beneficiary, you should move in probate court to have the house taken out of Trust and titled in all of the beneficiaries' names (and just because your sister is the trustee does not mean that she can automatically prevent you from doing this). You then again can ask her to buy out your share. If she will not, or cannot, then you as one of the legal owner's of the house you can file a "partition" action.

Basically, such an action is brought when owners of jointly held property cannot agree as to its dispostion. Accordingly, the court will have the property divided proportinately (as per each owner's share). To the extent that division is not feasible, then the judge will order a sale at which point the owner(s) who want(s) to retain the property can buy out the owner(s) who want(s) to sell. If they don't or can't then the property will be sold at fair market value with the proceeds apportioned as per each owner's repective interests. 

That all having been said, partiton is expensive and time-consuming, so trying to work this out amongst yourselves would be advisable. Explain all of this to your sister; she may then agree to a sale of the house. At any rate, right now would be a good time to consult with a real estate attorney as to so what you should do from here.


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