Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

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Latest post 01-11-2011 6:50 PM by Piano Girl 68. 6 replies.
  • 01-06-2011 11:18 PM

    Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, she named my father as the executor of her will. The will stipulates that the land she owned in TN is to be equally divided among her three children - my father and his two younger sisters. It says that IF they sell the land, the proceeds are to be divided among them equally. It doesn't have anything about what to do if they choose to keep the land.

    Long story short, they've kept the land. For the first three years, there were funds in her estate to pay the land taxes at the end of the year. For the past two years, he's contacted each sister, and all three have paid one-third of the total amount of land tax. The land is sitting empty - there's not a structure of any type on it. Over a year ago, he began talking with them about selling the land as it's not serving any purpose to any of them. With three grandchildren in college, he wanted to give them his share of the proceeds to help pay their college expenses. Both sisters have balked, stating they want to build a house there 'someday.' BTW, these sisters are twins and are 67 years old. About three months ago, one sister divorced her husband and has since refused all calls from just about everyone she knew, including my father. He finally sent a letter to each sister at Christmas, requesting again that they buy out his third if they want to keep the land, or put it up for sale and split the profits equally. He has yet to hear from the recently divorced sister. The other sister finally answered his call, and proceeded to tell him he didn't 'deserve' to get anything because he didn't do anything to help their mother in the last years of her life. This is most definitely not true, but from a legal standpoint it doesn't matter. He is named as the executor, and her will clearly states if they sell it, they're all three to share equally in the profits.

    My father has never had much of a 'normal' family relationship with his sisters, but he still hesitates to do anything that will effectively sever all family relations. My mother, on the other hand, is tired of having to deal with them. It isn't so much about the money, although the granddaughters can definitely use it, as it is about the principle of it and just dealing with the sisters.

    My question is, can my father 'force' them to sell the land, or buy out his part? What are his options? I've told him that if he doesn't face it, it will fall to my mother to deal with them if he passed away, and if she didn't, then my brother and I would force the issue somehow. I haven't seen either aunt in over ten years; I know it sounds heartless but there's just never been a family bond on that side of the family. I've tried to get him to talk this over with our family lawyer, but I think he's afraid that once he starts down the road, he may not be able to turn back. I'd like to be able to tell him what his options are, and the possible consequences, other than the obvious personal ones. The land, the will and all the parties involved are in Tennessee, if that matters.

  • 01-06-2011 11:54 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    There maybe a major social problem but I fail to see a leg problem. The decision to sell does not seem to be up for a vote unless there is some real strange language in the will, absent will instructions to the contrary, the executor calls the shots and its his duty to serve the estate NOT any specif heirs' personal dreams.

    So the executor confirms with counsel his powers under the will, and if I'm correct, he gets the property listed for sale in very near future. If one of the sibs wants it--let them put up hard cash and buy it in .

    Irts not a love contest--but a business duty.

     

    Now if as executor he unwisely deeded it out to the three of them, he lost his role as executor in charge of this....did he do this unwise move?  Ouch!



  • 01-08-2011 4:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    Why is there still a probate going on three years later?

    The executor likely should have deeded the land to the heirs and gotten himself out of it as executor.  That terminates his power over anything.

    Then he's just an owner with the sisters, and if any owner wants to sell he can bring an action for partition - a judicial sale of the property.

  • 01-09-2011 9:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    I'm sorry, maybe I used the wrong terms?? He was the executor of the will when it was probated at the time of her death. He oversaw paying off all her debts, and spent a couple of years dealing with the state highway department when they took part of the land to expand the highway.  Everything in the will has been taken care of. The land is the only thing left. At the beginning, no one wanted to do anything. My father isn't interested in the land - it's residential, but not in a very good location and would require a lot of work to be usable. As I mentioned, the two sisters have talked from time to time about building a house on it and living there, but they're both nearly 70. One grandson talked about buying it for a shop a few years ago, but then did something else. So the land is just sitting there empty. The siblings have been paying the land tax each year to prevent it from returning to the state.

    They could actually go on like that for some time, but to be honest, my father is tired of dealing with the sisters. They've mentioned a couple of times of buying his share, but when it gets down to specifics, they always back out. He was considering deeding it over to them just to be done with it. If he didn't have three granddaughters, and soon a grandson in college, he probably would have just to be free of it and them. Not that the money will pay for all of that, but it will certainly help. One sister finally contacted him this weekend. He told her that he wasn't going to do anything -  not deed it over to them, nor try to sell it right now. If they want, they can buy his share at 1/3 of what the tax assessor has appraised it for. I believe they think it will automatically go to them when he passes, but he let them know he has a will covering all his properties, passing to his wife (my mother), then on to us at her death. I don't know that he'll be willing to force the sale if they still refuse to do anything. I just wanted to know what his options are. I can tell you that if it ever comes to it, my brother and I will do something to sell the land. There's never been a relationship with our father's family, so there's no relationship for us to end. Thanks for all your responses! 

  • 01-10-2011 8:36 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    Your post is still short of 1 major detail! What does deed say?

    1. Is the deed in the estate name ?  If so the executor can very likely just sell the land  and deliver to each the correct share.

    2. Was the deed placed in the sibs names some time age by the executor? If so, Dad has about  4 choices. 

           A. Somebody in family buys somebody out.

           B. Dad sells his interest to any willing outside buyer

           C  Dad forces a sale of the whole by court action called a partition---an expensive step .

           D  Dad sits and waits and sees how the screw turns--at least right now its not costing him cash out of

               pocket to sit is it?

     



  • 01-11-2011 5:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    If he and the 2 sisters own equal shares he will need to file in court to force a partition. If they want to keep the land, they can buy him out. Otherwise it would be sold and the proceeds distributed.

  • 01-11-2011 6:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Executor's Powers if Co-inheritors refuse to cooperate??

    I'm not sure if the actual deed is in the three siblings names, or still in her name, but that answers a lot. I'll follow up on that. Thanks so much for all your replies - they've definitely given me the information I need to talk this over with my father for a resolution.

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