If my sister and I are trustees of our family Trust and the family home is a part of it, since I’m purchasing the home do I have to pay rent before I close on it?

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If my sister and I are trustees of our family Trust and the family home is a part of it, since I’m purchasing the home do I have to pay rent before I close on it?

My father just recently passed and we became trustees. The verbiage in the trust says we are to “work together in concert and jointly”. I live in the family home where I have resided for over 10 years with my father. Taking care of him (he was 96 when he passed). I have established residency. I am currently working with a lender to purchase the home from the estate (she wants nothing to do with the home and is okay with the purchase). She is demanding I pay rent now stating that the estate must prosper. She is also threatening me with eviction if I do not pay and also harassing me to “hurry up and buy the home because I want my money”. Don’t both of us have to agree to “rent” the home?

Asked on October 28, 2014 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation that has arisen since your father has passed.  It is hard to say what the trust means with out reading it in its entirety but understand that fighting over it will only cause you grief and legal bills. So maybe try and come to reasonable middle ground. It sounds like you both have the right to live there but also the responsibility to maintain it - or the estate does.  So how about you pay for the electric, gas, water, etc., and any maintenance up to $100 say in exchange for living there until you can secure a mortgage. That may appease your sister.  Good luck.

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation that has arisen since your father has passed.  It is hard to say what the trust means with out reading it in its entirety but understand that fighting over it will only cause you grief and legal bills. So maybe try and come to reasonable middle ground. It sounds like you both have the right to live there but also the responsibility to maintain it - or the estate does.  So how about you pay for the electric, gas, water, etc., and any maintenance up to $100 say in exchange for living there until you can secure a mortgage. That may appease your sister.  Good luck.


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