Can I buy my brothers out of my father’s home after he died?

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Q. I am the executor of my father’s trust. I was given 55 percent as a beneficiary and I have three brothers who are getting 15 percent each. I want to keep the house for myself. Can I do that and pay my brothers their shares from the remaining cash from the estate?
— Brother

A. You do have options here.

As trustee of your father’s trust, you are responsible for managing the assets held in the trust and distributing them for the benefit of the beneficiaries in accordance with the instructions set forth in the trust agreement and the laws concerning trusts, said Yale Hauptman, an estate planning attorney with Hauptman and Hauptman in Livingston.

If you and your brothers are the beneficiaries of the trust upon your father’s death, as trustee you must act to protect the interests of all beneficiaries, he said.

To answer your question more specifically would require an examination of the trust document.

“Does it say anything about the sale of the home or if one or more of the beneficiaries wishes to purchase it? If so, you must follow the process laid out there,” Hauptman said.

For example, it may provide for obtaining an appraisal from a licensed appraiser or may require that each beneficiary be offered the opportunity to purchase, he said. There are also laws that cover fiduciary self-dealing, where the trustee takes actions that benefit him/her personally as beneficiary.

Before undertaking any action, it is best to consult with an attorney knowledgeable about trusts and trust administration.

Email your questions to moc.p1571513837leHye1571513837noMJN1571513837@ksA1571513837.

This story was originally published on Oct. 2, 2019.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.