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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    3

    Default Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: PA

    My father passed in March 09, my sister and I were 50/50 heirs. She lived in the house at the time of his death, and agreed to leave after his death since she did not work, and had no way to pay for the house. She changed her mind and it has taken me almost 2 years to get her out while she lived there rent free and taxes did not get paid. At the time of his death the house was worth approx 80K as i had a Realtor look at it then. I obtained possession yesterday, and she has destroyed the house. When I say destroyed, I mean destroyed as in..it's in unlivable conditions. (Rat infested, dog feces on floors and walls, carpets ripped up and not replaced, toilets ripped out of the floor, closet doors all gone and missing, holes and scratch marks punched in walls....garbage piled everywhere...it's as though dogs lived in the house) My words can't even describe the damage done. This was my childhood home. To see it in this condition breaks my heart. I would estimate that the house might be able to sell for 30,000 now. Our lawyer told us, that there is basically nothing we can do about the damage done to the house. What want to know is, there is no money in the estate. No money to pay taxes, or utility bills or to clean up the house. I don't want to spend any more of my own money on this house, as I have already lost money in legal bills, bills that concurred from her living there, etc... What do I do? She owes me money from back rent, taxes that I payed with my own money, funeral expenses..but she has no money, so I was hoping I'd get paid back from her half of the estate. If I sell the house as is, with nothing done to it, I will have to pay a Realtor to list the house, lawyer fees for handling the estate, back taxes etc.. so I will lose money. I was hoping to be able to have it appraised, and buy it myself, fix it up and sell it for a better price, so I will at least make some profit from it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    You can discuss your options with your lawyer - that's why you have a lawyer.

    I have no way of knowing why it took you so long to get your sister out of the house, or why you were unable to detect any problems over the course of the past two years. That's stuff I expect your lawyer to know.

    It sounds like the most obvious option would be to sell the house, bring the @30K into the estate and distribute it in accord with the estate plan. You can discuss with your lawyer whether you can bring a claim against your sister that might allow the estate to consider the damage she caused to the property in association with the distribution of assets.

    Debts such as funeral expenses and taxes on the home would normally be paid or reimbursed before the distribution of assets.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    582

    Default Re: Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    I know every state has different probate laws, but I had a situation where a beneficiary broke a valuable family heirloom. We wanted to reduce that person's share by the value of the item, and the probate attorney said that we could not do that. That same person caused the estate to incurr a massive amount of legal fees and again we wanted to reduce that person's share of the estate proceeds and the probate attorney advised us that we could not do that either. It was to be chalked up the fact that this is all part of estate administration.

    Now the executor had a duty to protect the estate assets. If she didn't then perhaps if there were other beneficiaries, they could raise concerns that the executor failed in their appointed duties.

    Being an executor is a thankless job.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    Funny thing is I am the executor and she basically took over the house with others, and i was not welcomed in the house until the "legal battle" to remove her was settled. The 4 pitbulls and drug related reputations of the others living there kept me away too. I went to lawyer, police and district judges to ask if there was any way to make her leave, and they said i'd have to "go through the process" I knew she was destroying the property, but the "process" to remove her too almost 2 years. i just hired a new lawyer today who says he can not believe that the damage she did can not be compensated for somehow. we'll see.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    582

    Default Re: Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    You know as executor that you were responsible for protecting the estate assets and you will need to be able to explain what you did to try to protect them. Unfortunately, its going to come back to you, and you may not be able to penalize the other party. I would guess state probate law will dictate what you can do. Its too bad when bad behavior gets rewarded.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    i did all i could to "protect" the property, but she was living there! I got an evction notice from lawyer, then went to a judge who suggested I give her 3 months to obtain loan, then there was some loophole or misfiling on my lawyers part or maybe her lawyer found the fault in mine's aproach, and the time passed until a 2nd lawyer was finally able to remove her.. What could I have done, put on my holster and ordered her to leave at gunpoint?? I hired a lawyer, and followed his lead, I'm not a lawyer! It's now been 2 years since my fathers passing, and my childhood home sits rat infested and ruined.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Heir Destroyed Property, Am I Out of Luck

    It still sounds like the most obvious option would be to sell the house, bring the @30K into the estate and distribute it in accord with the estate plan. You can discuss with your lawyer whether you can bring a claim against your sister that might allow the estate to consider the damage she caused to the property in association with the distribution of assets.

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