Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

sale of family home in joint ownership

my 3 siblings and mother have joint ownership of family home deed. mother recently died. all siblings want to sell home except one. how can we force a sale. one sibling says he won't sign real estate listing and is living in the house rent free. he won't sign tenacy agreement or cooperate with us.

Asked on 5/03/07, 3:54 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson

Re: sale of family home in joint ownership

It depends on exactly how title was held by your siblings and mother.

Probably, an estate must be opened for your mother before any transfers are made. Part of the legal administration of an estate is to find out what all the debts of the deceased were, and all the assets, pay debts and taxes BEFORE distributing any remaining assets, and only after all of those liabilities have been paid can any of the estate be transferred. Only a person appointed by the Register of Wills as the personal representative of the Estate has any legal authority to deal with the estate, and other transfers may be invalid if they were not properly done.

If there was a Will, the person named as Executor or personal representative may file, or probate the will with the Register of Wills for the County where your parent resided at the time of death. If there was no Will, then you and your siblings may apply for Letters of Administration, so that you may be the personal representative of the estate and do the administration.

The Register of Wills' office may be helpful if you go there, or you may need a local estates lawyer to assist you in this process, including evaluating how the home was owned and how your mother's interest in the home will be transferred.

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Answered on 5/04/07, 10:38 am

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