14 Aug My mom’s executor won’t sell the house. What next?
Q. My sister and I are both equal beneficiaries of my mother’s estate in New Jersey. We also both hired attorneys and the executor, a family friend, is moving slowly. It’s been more than a year and now my sister and I are fighting over the estate. She’s in no rush to sell the house. I feel like I may just have to give her everything and walk away. What can I do?
A. We understand that you’ve tried to negotiate a resolution with your sister, but we don’t understand why you think the only way to resolve this is for you to “give her everything and walk away.”
It feels like we’re missing some information here as it’s not clear why the executor doesn’t sell the home and distribute the proceeds to you and your sister.
“If the will does not specifically provide a bequest of the home and the will says everything goes 50/50 to you and your sister then the executor has the right and responsibility to sell the home to carry out the bequest,” said Yale Hauptman, an estate planning attorney with Hauptman and Hauptman in Livingston.
He said if your sister, her attorney or the executor object to the sale of the home, court intervention is probably needed.
“If there is no objection and the executor won’t act, then you can apply to the court to remove the executor and then you and your sister as co-executors can sell the home,” he said. “While there would be legal fees and costs to go to court it does not appear that you have any alternative.”
You could also ask the judge to reduce any executor commission that would be owed to the executor to cover the legal fees if a judge agrees that the executor is in the wrong for doing nothing, he said.
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This story was originally published on Aug. 14, 2019.
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