Phoenix, AZ asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California

Q: My step brother wants to use friend to sell house we inherited. No experience as realator. Can I stop this, he is truste

Myself my brother and step brother are the recipients of our parents estate, divided equally 1/3 each. Everything has been distributed except the house. My brother is Trustee, stepbrother is co trustee. Step brother is planning on useing a friend new to real-estate to sell the house. My brother and I want an experienced realator. Can we stop my stepbrother from doing this? We want someone none of us know and who has sold and closed many times. Not a rookie who may give half the commissions to my stepbrother for his first deal ever. Step brother can't be trusted. He used my father's credit card for months after my father's death. Too much money on the table for a rookie realator who is friends with a dishonest trustee stepbrother. The trustee's can work independently from eachother. Do I have a say since I own 1/3 of this house.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, as a beneficiary of the estate, you do have rights regarding how the estate, including the house, is managed. If your stepbrother, as co-trustee, is making decisions that you believe are not in the best interest of the estate or are potentially self-serving, you can take action.

First, communicate your concerns clearly to both trustees. Express why you prefer an experienced real estate agent and your worries about the potential conflict of interest with your stepbrother's friend.

If this doesn't resolve the issue, you can petition the probate court. The court oversees the administration of trusts and can intervene if a trustee is not acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries. You would need to provide evidence that the decision to use an inexperienced real estate agent is not in the best interest of the estate.

The court has the authority to order a change in the handling of the estate sale, including appointing a different real estate agent. It's advisable to seek legal advice to guide you through this process and ensure your interests are effectively represented. Remember, your right as a beneficiary is to ensure the estate is managed fairly and in the best interests of all involved.

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