3 brothers are equal heirs to real property. One is appointed the executor. The executor enters into a sales contract for the property without the knowledge of or agreement of the other heirs. The other heirs believe the price is too low. When faced with this, the executor challenged the other heirs to prove the price is too low and they did by receiving a written offer with earnest money for $25,000 more dollars higher.
Can the brother in disagreement stop the sales contract?
Does the brother have power to stop the sale as it was made without his agreement?
Does the brother have cause for damages against the executor if he sells the property for substantially less than the offer?
Can the sale be stopped entirely and the property be relisted at a future date….a do over, so to speak??
2 Answers from Attorneys
The non-executor brothers need to hire a probate lawyer.
You do not indicate where the estate for the decedent is pending. It makes a difference as different states have different laws.
Also, what does the will say about the real estate? Does it provide the executor with sole discretion to sell the property or to sell it without judicial approval? Title to land vests in the heirs but if the will has contrary language in it then the executor may need no approval.
The other heirs would need to get a lawyer now and intervene to stop the sale if they believe that the property is worth more than what the executor wants to sell it for. He should not wait until the property is sold and then try to get the executor surcharged for the loss.
The other heirs will need a probate litigation attorney who practices in the county/state where the estate is pending.
The non-executor heirs should speak to a probate lawyer before the sale. Note that not all offers are equal - some buyers may lack the ability to get financing, or there may be other advantages to a sale other than the highest bidder, and there could be large litigation costs to challenge a sale, including legal fees for all three of you and penalties that would be owed to the buyer under contract.
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