Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Maryland

my mother named me as personal rep. of her estate and at the time of my mother's passing she owned a home that had both mine and my sister's named listed on it as owners.I want to sell and my sister doesn't want to at this time What can I do as personal rep? Do I need her signature in order to sell the house ?I've tried talking to her and I've offered her to buy me out for a fair price but she won't .What can I do

Asked on 10/11/10, 10:37 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Phillip M. Cook Cook Legal Services, LLC

You MUST understand that you are wearing two hats here -- one hat is the personal representative hat. The other hat is the beneficiary hat. The personal representative has a FIDUCIARY DUTY to do what's in the best interest of the estate, regardless of how it personally effects the personal representative. If you are a beneficiary under the will, it means you get stuff from the estate -- real and personal property. As a beneficiary, you have NO DUTY to the estate and can do what's in YOUR best interest.

The answer to your specific question is that if you and your sister inherited the house, you are both beneficiaries. The personal representative (whether that's you or someone else) has NO SAY about what you and your sister do with the property because it's no longer in your mother's estate and therefore not subject to the personal representative's "jurisdiction."

Now, as a co-beneficiary of the property, if you want to sell the house and your sister doesn't, you can petition the Court for "partition" of the property. This basically means that the Court will order that the property be put on the market and sold and that the proceeds of the sale be divided between you and sister in accordance with each of your respective interests in the property. If your sister would instead like to buy your portion of the property from you, she is free to do so.

Best of luck.******The above is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client privilege.*******

Read more
Answered on 10/16/10, 2:08 pm
G. Joseph Holthaus III Law Offices of G. Joseph Holthaus

Having probated numerous estates in Maryland, I can say that partition is problematic where an outright sale to a third party has not occurred. Such a sale does not ordinarily bring an appropriate price given the economy.

You may need to look at several matters concerning the property which are better discussed rather than through the internet. I will need to see the title of the property.

I am available to review the financial situation and advise you in your capacity as both a personal representative and beneficiary of the estate.

Once a petition for probate is filed there are timelines that apply.

Contact me should you need legal assistance.

Read more
Answered on 10/16/10, 7:53 pm
Richard Abraham Abraham & Bauer, LLC

I am a planning and probate attorney in Maryland. If you and your sister's names appear bon the deed to your mother's house, at her demise (unless the titling reads tenants in common which would mean that potentially 1/3 of the house goes into your mother's estate), the both of you (you and your sister) are now co-owners. The house does NOT come into the estate because of its titling.

Accordingly as PR there is nothing you can do. A title company will normally require both you and your sister to sign. But you DO HAVE AN OPTION. You can seek a circuit court Order under a Petition for sale in lieu of partition. If you need assistance feel free to telephone me at 443-901-1333.

Read more
Answered on 10/18/10, 5:59 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Probate, Trusts, Wills & Estates questions and answers in Maryland