Can my brother and sisters force me out of a house that my father left to all 4 of us

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Can my brother and sisters force me out of a house that my father left to all 4 of us

My father left my 3 siblings and myself equal shares of his estate which includes a beach house that I have been living in for several years. My brother

is the personal representative of the estate. He wants me to vacate the house so it can be used as a vacation home for other members of the family for

the next 3 years. The fees to maintain the house will come out of the balance of the estate. Can he legally force me to the house or does the estate have to buy my share out first?

Asked on February 19, 2018 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, he cannot force you out: any owner has the right to use and occupy the home. But what he or your other siblings *can* do is:
1) If the home has not been distributed to the four of you but is still part of the estate, the executor could decide that the best thing (given that the beneficiaries disagree as to what to do with the home) is to sell it and split the proceeds; that is within an executor's legal power and authority, in terms of determining how best to distribute assets.
2) If the home is no longer part of the estate but rather has already been titled to the four of you, the other owners could again force the sale of the home and distribution of the proceeds: the law does not require owners of property to remain locked into and owners of property where they don't like what is being done with it or don't want to be owners. The law therefore allows property owners, when they disagree as to what to do, to force the sale of property.
3) Bear in mind that they have the same right to use and live in the property as you do: if they choose to come and use it as a beach retreat, to bring friends or allow friends to use the home, etc. you can't interfere with them doing this; their rights equal yours. So you could have people coming and going from the place where you live full time. That you have been living there does not give you *any* greater rights than the other heirs.
It is in your and their interest, to avoid litigation (e.g. for a forced sale; and/or to remove you, if home is still in the estate) and the acrimony of fighting over property, for the 4 of you to come to some mutually agreeable arrangment or settlement.


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