Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts

my father died without leaving a will. Ive been appointed admistrator of his estate. I have 3 other siblings.2 want to sell his house while, 2 of us do we have any legal say in it not being sold?

Asked on 4/11/11, 8:55 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Alexandra Golden Golden Law Center

Since there is no will, your father left no direction about what to do. The property was thus divided equally among all the siblings.

You have two options: either sell the house or buy out the siblings who want to sell based on the fair market value of the property. If you do neither, the siblings who want to sell will have the right to go to court and file a Petition to Partition. The court will order the sale and appoint a commissioner to oversee the matter. A significant amount of the sale proceeds will be eaten up in court costs and the fee paid to the commissioner.

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Answered on 4/12/11, 4:28 am
Christopher Vaughn-Martel Charles River Law Partners, LLC

I'm sorry to hear that you have lost your father.

I agree with attorney Golden. Because there is no will (and assuming your father is not survived by a spouse), the property passes to the children in equal shares. The two children who wish to remain in the home can buy the other two out if they wish to remain owners of the house, but they cannot force you to own a house you do not wish to own.

The other, more time consuming and financially destructive option, is to bring a petition to partition in court. In that case, the court will order that the house be sold and the proceeds divided among the owners in an equitable fashion.

I have represented families in partition actions in the past, and would be happy to work with you to see if that scenario can be avoided by a negotiated buyout.

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Answered on 4/12/11, 6:01 am

As Administrator the decision to sell or disburse the home in 4 equal shares initially is yours. However, once disbursed your siblings can file a Petition to Partition and force the sale of the property.

Assuming it is possible to refinance the home and buy-out your siblings, this will be your best way forward in keeping the home and selling it later.

If you can't do that and your siblings are determined to sell the home, your best way forward is to either get a license to sell as Administrator from the Court and sell the home, or disburse the home to the 4 of you and force them to file a Petition to Partition.

If you feel you need assistance in dealing with this issue, I have been dealing with such issues for years and would be willing to assist you.

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Answered on 4/12/11, 10:47 am

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