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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    7

    Question Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,068

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    You don't get to make Grandma's estate pay for your family's living in the house for fifteen years. To the contrary, if your brother wanted to make a big stink about it he could argue that you owe the estate fifteen years of rent at market value.

    I suggest trying to reason with your brother and to come to an agreement on the distribution, because if you don't and end up in court it's easy for everything to get eaten up by lawyer fees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    First, let me say I'm not a lawyer. I just saw your post and thought it an interesting situation. I can see why you would be responsible for living expenses while living in the house and how other inheritors could charge you rent for living there, but my question is: wouldn't your grandmother's estate be responsible for taxes and upkeep on the property?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    I never said I live in the house. Had I been living there all along, I would agree with you 100%. I have simply been taking care of the place that no one wants to sell for sentimental reasons.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,068

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    Okay, rather than inviting us to play guessing games, how about filling us in - are you stating that the house has been abandoned and unused for a decade? If not, who has been living in it and/or using it? What understanding has come to exist in relation to the home, its expenses, and its use?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    When my mother passed, the home was abandoned (I lived out of state at the time, the rest of the family lived in TX). The home fell into serious disrepair. 3 years later I came in personally performed or arranged numerous necessary repairs, at my own expense. Again the family had no interest in working toward or agreeing to sell, but have also declined to help with repairs or taxes. They wanted to lease the house out instead of selling, which I have tried unsuccessfully to do several times. We all have access to the house, but no one lives there or wants to. I have had utilities there for 8 years, and continued to take care of repairs and upkeep, issues with neighbors, etc. There is no "agreement" per say regarding the property at all, I am simply the idiot who has been paying for it for years.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    If you have been asking your siblings to share the bills all these years,they would have agreed to sell the house.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Distribution of Inheritance After Delayed Probate and Administration

    Incorrect. They have never been able to come up with any money (or even time) to help. Now my sister is sick and unemployed and will never be able to help regardless. It is such a small estate, it will be consumed by legal fees should there be any legal battle at all, which is why I, apparently in poor judgement, posted here in the first place. If no agreement can be reached I have no choice but for my wife and I to move into it, take over and deal with the consequences later should they arise.

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