My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Texas
My grandmother passed away 15 years ago, leaving a handwritten will dividing her estate equally amongst my mother my aunt, and me. I paid for her funeral. My mother (her executrix) lived in the home with her (small property, worth approx 40K at the time, where I lived before going to college). My mother was in poor health, put off probating the estate, and died 5 years later, with no will. My aunt was not interested in handling this either. Meanwhile, I have been the sole person to pay the taxes on the property since 1996, and have either physically done or paid for all the upkeep, land clearing, repairs.
If I open probate on my grandmother's estate, the breakdown is simple (dividing by 3). My aunt has no interest in selling the property - she wants me to keep it and continue to care for it. However the 1/3 which would constitute my mother's portion then be in question. If I then open up probate for her (no will), we would be dealing with 1/3 of the share of my grandmother's house + belongings. When my mother passed, my brother basically emptied the house, taking 90% of the furniture, computer, china, silver, etc. previously owned by my grandmother and mother (probably around $5,000 total). He had already taken her car. My sister and I took a few books and other things of minimal monetary value (she does not want to sell the house either).
The funeral expense, taxes, repairs and upkeep - would those expenses to date all be deducted from the amount to be (theoretically) distributed from my grandmother's estate? If so, how do we distribute if no one wants to sell the property? If we arrive at an estate figure (ie., 85K home + assets, - 40K expenses = 45K), the 1/3 (15K) would comprise my mother's estate, which would then have to be probated? At that point, what if a sibling decides that they want to force a sale of the house? Or could I pay them the estimated distribution outright, in exchange for clear title to the house?
I am simply looking for the cleanest way to wrap up the whole mess, and to not sell the house. Since I have taken full responsibility for it, and put so much time, effort and money into it, I want to keep it, but want it titled to me. Please advise - am I thinking along the right track? Are there pitfalls I am overlooking? Is there any way a sibling could force sale if they decided to do so? Thank you for your help.