How much time do I have to get out of my deceased parent’s house?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How much time do I have to get out of my deceased parent’s house?

I lived with my mother. She passed away. My sister and I will split the assets 50/50. The day my mother died my sister started aggressively moving to get her share. She wants me to get everything out of the house immediately so the house can be sold or pay her her share now. There are a lot of things to go through in the house. I think I need at least 6 months and that is not nearly acceptable to my sister. How much time do I legally have before I have to leave the house or else pay her her 1/2 of the value of the house?

Asked on April 4, 2019 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The law does not actually provide a time frame for this. It also most definitely does NOT require you to under anu circumstances pay your sister her 1/2 of the house's value. 
If house has been already transferred to your and your sister's ownership (been retitled in both your names), then if your sister is not satisfied with the pace of things, she can bring a legal action traditionally called an action "for partition" to get a cour order requiring that the home be placed on the market and sold, and that the proceeds of the sale, less the costs of sale and paying off any mortgages or liens, be divided between the two of you. This--a forced sale and division of proceeds--is the law's rememdy for a co-owner who does not agree with what her co-owner is doing with the property.
If the house had been been retitled in the names of the two of you yet, she cannot do this because she is not yet an owner; rather, the hoem is owned by your mother's "estate.") Whomever is the executor of the estate (if there was a will) or court-appointed personal representative (if there was no will) could, to better effectuate the intent and terms of the will (splitting the value of the house 50-50) put the house on the market now, even while you are in the house, and sell it; the executor or personal representative could also bring a legal action called an action "for ejectment" (think: eviction for someone who was not a rent-paying tenant) to remove you...but only the executor or personal representative could do this. While the house is still in--still owned by--the estate, the executor or personal representative has authority over it, to be exercised in a way consistent with the terms of the will.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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