Let’s say Mom left the family home equally to all of the adult children, specifying that the child who had been living with her and caring for her in later years could stay for a year. What if that sibling continues to live there, with no end in sight, depriving the other siblings of benefitting from their share of the inheritance?
Try Amicable Solutions First
In many families, a home is the most valuable asset—making parents eager to pass it on, equally, to the next generation. Unfortunately, the logistics of how siblings end up equally benefitting from it can become challenging, especially given the cost of housing and the difficulties of relocating. Marketwatch, shares the story of a New York family in which “no one wants to be a jerk” but a stalemate among the siblings has patience wearing thin. Legal experts caution that legal remedies are not a magic solution, noting that they can become costly and time-consuming. NY Estates Lawyer suggests trying to make a deal with the beneficiary who has remained in the home, “perhaps signing an agreement committing to give them a bigger share of the house then they would otherwise have been entitled to. It’s not exactly fair, and it doesn’t allow the executor to evict the beneficiary, but it does save time and money for everyone.”
Appointing A Receiver
Ultimately, if a family is unable to resolve a situation like this on their own, one possible legal remedy might be a court-appointed receiver who sells the property at auction. NY Estates Lawyer explains:
The executor will face somewhat of a Catch-22. When the executor of the estate asks the Landlord-Tenant Court to evict the beneficiary, the Landlord-Tenant Court might refuse, saying that the beneficiary has a right to stay in the house as a partial owner. When the executor asks the Surrogate’s Court to ask the beneficiary to leave, the Surrogate’s Court will say that it’s not within their jurisdiction to evict someone from the property, you should go to Landlord-Tenant Court.
Faced with this run-around, the executor might have an option of instead of evicting the beneficiary, filing a partition proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court or in the basic trial court (called Supreme Court in New York). Because what the executor is dealing with is not an eviction but a determination of each beneficiary’s right in property. Once each beneficiary’s right is determined, instead of evicting a beneficiary, the court will appoint a receiver who will sell the property at auction. Once the receiver sells the property, takes his cut and gives the rest of the money to the estate, the executor will be able to distribute the money to beneficiaries of the estate.
It’s useful to know that when legal remedies are necessary, courts often require bonds. For example, pending the completion of the sale of a property and distribution of assets to the estate, a court can require a receiver bond. Essentially, a receiver bond secures the receiver’s obligations as required by applicable state law. The amount of the bond is generally set by the court. As a leading national provider of a wide range of court and fiduciary bonds, Colonial Surety makes it easy and efficient to obtain a receiver bond online: Receiver Bond Here.
Good To Know
Being designated as the executor of a loved one’s will is a big responsibility. As the earlier example points out, unforeseen family complications and conflicts can arise. Executors have a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries, avoiding conflicts of interest. That’s why probate courts sometimes request executors to obtain a type of fiduciary bond known as an executor or estate bond. Keep in mind too, that the probate process can turn out to be particularly helpful when conflict is a possibility.
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