“If the will does not specifically provide a bequest of the home and the will says everything goes 50/50 to you and your sister, then the executor has the right and responsibility to sell the home to carry out the bequest.”
It’s not uncommon for a parent to leave his or her home to their children in equal shares.
Let’s assume that two sisters are both equal beneficiaries of their mother’s estate in New Jersey. Each adult child has retained an attorney. The executor, who’s a family friend, is moving slowly with the probate process, and it’s been more than a year of waiting. The executor of estate is the individual who is specifically designated in the deceased’s will to manage the estate.
In this case, the glacier-like progress of the executor is causing a strain on the sisters’ relationship. This results in the sisters fighting over the estate. One sister is in no hurry to sell the house, and the other feels frustrated and may have to just give her everything and walk away to save her sanity.
nj.com’s recent article on this topic asks “My mom’s executor won’t sell the house. What can I do about it?” The article says that these sisters probably tried to negotiate a resolution. However, there’s no reason to think the only way to resolve this is for you to “give her everything and walk away.”
The executor should sell the home and distribute the proceeds to the sisters.
If one of the children, her attorney, or the executor object to the sale of the home, a judge may need to intervene.
If there’s no issue, and the executor won’t act, a beneficiary can apply to the court to remove the executor. The judge may then name the two sisters as co-executors, so they can sell the home.
Although there would be legal fees and costs to go to court to get some action, if the executor won’t move, there may not be any other choice.
In addition, the sisters could ask the judge to decrease any executor commission that would be owed to the original slow-moving executor to cover the legal fees, if the judge agrees that the executor was acting improperly.
Reference: nj.com (August 10, 2019) “My mom’s executor won’t sell the house. What can I do about it?”