Jacksonville Beach, FL asked in Probate for Kansas

Q: My father passed two years ago. My sisters have not sold his house and I am entitled to 1/3. 1 sister lives in it.

The trustee (other sister) expects me to pay 1/3 of taxes, insurance and repairs out of my share. How do I get the house sold and make sure I don’t pay for the sister to live rent free at my expense??

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2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: The best solution in these situations is for the sister in possession to buy out the shares of the other two co-owners. If she refuses, or if you simply can't reach agreement on a price, then you can hire an attorney to file a lawsuit to force the sale of the house and the three of you will split the proceeds.

Scott C. Stockwell
Scott C. Stockwell
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Lawrence, KS
  • Licensed in Kansas

A: Your question refers to one of your sisters as the "trustee." If the property is being held in trust for the benefit of you and one or more siblings, then the provisions of the trust would be the starting point in terms of determining whether the property could be sold, whether you could demand its sale, and whether there is an actual obligation to pay a contribution towards taxes, insurance, and repairs.

If, on the other hand, the property has been transferred to you and your siblings as tenants in common with indivisible ownership shares, then and in that event, you may--absent an agreement to sell or rent the property--compel the division or sale of the property through a process called a partition action. You could contact the Register of Deeds to obtain a copy of the deed showing how title to the property is currently held and obtain a copy of the trust document, if any exists. You would be well-advised to consult with an attorney about those documents and determine the best course of action.

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