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‘He needs to get a loan’: My mom left her home in Florida to us kids. Our brother acts like it only belongs to him. What resource do we have?

Dear Quentin,

My mother passed away three years ago and left the house to my brother, sister and me. What little was left in his bank account was distributed among the three of them.

Our brother still lives in the family home. He pays the taxes, insurance, and utilities to live there. The house would be divided into three parts between us.

If you want to keep living in the house, I think you need to get a fair appraised loan on the house and buy both my sister and me.

At what point do I bring this up? She says that it is her house, since she lives there, and we have to let her know when we come to visit.

The house is in Florida, and right now the market is up. He has no plans to leave home. What legal resources do we have? He was the executor of the will.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Good pain, go away

Dear good pain,

The longer his brother is allowed to live there while insisting that this house now belongs to him, the more difficult it will be to keep the conversation going. He’s taking care of the house and paying for its upkeep, so there’s no point in breaking down the doors, with or without a gallows.

Conveyance and possession laws vary from state to state. You and your sister are listed on the deed, so you are legal joint owners of this house and do not have a landlord/tenant agreement with your brother. Tread carefully, and with the advice of a lawyer.

Legally, if they are joint owners, they must have the right to live there and/or sell the property. It seems that you are not interested in the first, but in the second. You know what you want, so I suggest you both visit him as soon as possible and say, “We need to talk about the house.”

If you refuse to cooperate within an agreed time frame, a lawyer could issue a partition action for the probate court to compel the sale of your mother’s property. In the meantime, property taxes must be paid from his mother’s and/or three siblings’ estate.

In Florida, “where two or more beneficiaries are entitled to the distribution of undivided interests in any property, the personal representative or any beneficiary may petition the court before the estate is closed to divide the property,” Florida’s probate law says. condition.

If you allow him to pay the taxes and maintenance, it will make it more difficult when it comes time to divide the proceeds of the inheritance. That arrangement also potentially creates more ill will and confusion among the siblings about who should pay what.

Taking legal action can be expensive and time consuming. It could permanently end your relationship with his brother and make any sale more difficult if he is still there and tries to deny access. Everyone needs to ask themselves as a family if it’s worth it.

The threat of legal action is a powerful tool and can be used as a last resort. He wants this house to be sold and the proceeds divided equally among the three brothers. That’s what your mother wanted, that’s what she says in the deed, and any court in the land would back you on that.

Iyou You can email The Moneyist with any coronavirus-related financial and ethical questions at qfottrell@marketwatch.com, and follow Quentin Fottrell at Twitter.

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More from Quentin Fottrell:

My mother excluded me from her will: before she died, my brother collected his annuity policy, of which I was a beneficiary. Should I sue my family?

‘I’m Clean and Sober’: My late father left me 25% of his estate and my rich brother 75%. My brother died 10 months later. Should he ask his son for his part?

‘It’s still painful’: My wife of only one year left me, taking all her belongings and not answering her phone. How do I protect my finances?

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