Could I be responsible for a probate estate that was sold without my consent? How? 14 Answers as of June 17, 2015

Thank you for your help. Today, my brother called to tell me that he and my sister-in-law sold my parents’ home on a land contract and that monies were exchanged. My parents are deceased. The only asset left to be distributed was the home with the title being in a land trust at a bank. The home was owned outright by my mother and father. My brother and sister-in-law never informed me that a contract had been pending on the home, let alone that a contract had been signed on January 4th, monies exchanged, and the home sold. I had contacted the realtor a couple weeks ago, as well as my parent’s estate attorney, but neither the realtor nor the attorney contacted me back with any information about any pending sale, or anything else. My brother and sister-in-law claim they took money out of their personal savings of $6,000 to pay the realtor and that they further took $5,000 of the money they received from the buyer and gave it to the realtor for real estate fees. There is another $5,000 coming from the buyer on March 1st, but they will not tell me what they are going to do with it. My brother and sister-in-law informed that they will not provide me with a copy of the contract, or any bank transaction information. The home was sold on January 4th, with the buyer being moved into the home since then. Am I entitled to a copy of the contract and the transaction information? I have not received any money from my brother and sister-in-law. I am a full-time student attending college. I live on financial aid and do not have a regular income. I am working hard to get myself through school, all on my own. I am afraid that because I am an owner in my parent's house, that should problems arise with the home contract, I will be held responsible for something I never agreed to in the first place. I never agreed, nor did I know that a sale was pending on my parent's home.

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Since the house is in a trust, in order to answer your questions, I'd have to read the trust. ?The trustee(s) have a legal obligation to act in your best interest as a beneficiary of the trust and they are required to give you regular statements of the trust's assets and transactions. Unfortunately, many parents, unintentionally, wind up tearing their children apart with poor estate plans like this one. ? An $11,000 fee on a land contract? ?In most places the fee for a land contract is one month's rent (with a full commission being paid if the tenant buys the house within a set time - say 2 years). ?Unless this place is a mansion that rents for over $10 grand a month, somebody's getting ripped off here. ?The vast majority of land contracts never result in a sale (if the tenants had good credit and enough income to buy the place, they would have bought it not rented it.)
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/17/2015
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
This is bizarre. Your siblings cannot legally sell a house that you are part owner without your written participation. Either you are not an owner or they committed fraud on the buyer. It is important for you to make your objections known to the buyer immediately. If you remain silent, you will be prevented from objecting later. Your siblings also cannot refuse to account to you or to give you your share of the money. Something is very wrong here. Hire an attorney and get to work to protect your interests.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/17/2015
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
Who was identified as a beneficial owner of the real estate in the land trust. Was a probate opened for the last of your parents to die? Were you asked by the land trust to execute any documents related to the closing? There is too much missing information to fully respond to your question. If you receive a lump payment due to an ownership interest in the home your financial aid could be jeopardized. As a land contract you will not receive a lump sum but rather a share of the regular payments (usually monthly). This regular income could also affect your financial aid. If you are an owner under the land trust you are entitled to a full accounting of the sale and application of the proceeds.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/17/2015
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
I assume your brother is the administrator of the estate. Anything sold by the estate is not your liability, it is the estate's [although anything owed by the estate reduces the amount distributed to the heirs]. To sell a house that is in probate, the administrator must file a petition with the probate court and serve all people with a potential interest. Realtors take a commission from the actual sale of the house [the money is put into escrow and the escrow company pays the commission out to the sellers and their real estate agent]. There is no reason why your brother would have to pay the real estate agent out of his own pocket. It seems your brother may be cheating you [and perhaps his attorney is part of the scheme]. You need to see some local probate attorneys who also do litigation [some just draw up Wills and run the estates] in order to check the probate file and demand your brother follow the law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You are entitled to a copy of the contract. They may not have authority to enter into such a contract and could get sued if they cannot deliver title.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/17/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Without many more facts it is impossible to answer your questions. Do you have a copy of the Trust? Have you reviewed the chain of title? That is the starting place. I urge you to meet with an atotnrey. The attorney will need to review a lot of paperwork and court records to point you in the right direction. If you are on a limited income you may want to apply to see if you qualify for a pro bono attorney through Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Alternatively you may need to retain counsel to get the advice you are seeking.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    If there is a probate proceeding, you would have received notice, and that notice would have the court case number. With that, you can go on your local Superior Court?s web-site and see what is going on.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You should send your brother and the lawyer for the estate a written demand for an accounting of all money spent and received, along with copies of all documents pertaining to the sale. You could send a copy to the Judge of the probate case, too. You probably won?t be responsible for anything. Usually, a court must approve a sale of real estate in a probate and contracts of sale are not the preferred means of sale. Look for an order of the court approving the sale.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Your first action should be to take all documents you have and your parent's death certificates to an attorney who specializes in estate matters. Do not rely on any advice from the internet in order to protect yourself and your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    There are several things in your outline that make no sense. We would need to review actual documents in order to determine what has happened. You say your parents owned the house, but you say that title was in a "land trust." Those two statements are inconsistent. You did not say in what capacity your brother is acting is he personal representative of a probate estate? Is he successor trustee of a trust? Is your brother represented by an attorney? Really, you need to get a lawyer to review actual documents.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    I suggest you go to the public records to see for yourself if the property was sold. Because without either of your parents signatures it is highly unlikely that a reputable realtor would be able to sell the house without it being in probate. If itwas in probate a judge would have to sign the order saying that it would be ok to sell the house. All beneficiaries of the estates would have to agree to the sell. If your brother somehow pulled this off, I suggest you sue him and report the realtor to the state board.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    You don't provide enough information to answer your question specifically. The answer may depend upon your age (are you a minor?), who the executor of the estate(s) is (your brother?), the terms of your parent's wills (if they each had one), do you have any claim to the property other than being the child of your parents (was it willed to you?), the value of the property, how much debt the estate(s) owed and if there were any assets available to pay those debts other than the house, how much was still owed on your parents house and did the purchase price exceed that, and was there any other way to sell the house other than a land contract.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    If the estate was probated, the will will be on file at the court house. Sale documents for real property are filed with the Recorder's Office and Auditor. You can review these documents, sometimes online.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Suggest you seek an attorney experienced in probate/trust work at a legal aid agency for students, and they may be able to suggest a lawyer who will represent you pro bono.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2015
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