What can I do if my sister wants to sell the house that we inherited but I do not?

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What can I do if my sister wants to sell the house that we inherited but I do not?

My mother made my sister and I her family Trust; she passed away 7 years ago leaving her home for us to share. I have maintained the house and for the past 3 years have paid all taxes, insurance and expenses out of my own pocket. My sister stopped contributing at that time yet she has more money than I do. Now she wants to force me to sell the house so she can give the money to her 40 year old daughter who has alcohol and drug problems. I don’t want to sell until I retire and have time to fix it up and live in it while I do. I can retire in about 3 years. Can she force this sale? I would have to dip into retirement money to buy out her share.

Asked on February 21, 2015 under Estate Planning, South Dakota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortuantely she may be able to force a sale through what is known as an action for partition. That is when a joint property owner can ask the court to split the property in half and make two separate owners.  Real property property can not be split so courts generally order it sold and then the proceeds split. But from what you have written you may have a way to recoup half of the funds you have enpended and use that sum to leverage a buy out.  The possibly apply for a mortgage and pay it off when you retire.  I would seek some financial counseling here.  Good luck.


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