Ask Terry Questions Household proceedings of estate

Household proceedings of estate

By Terry Savage on March 29, 2024 | Wild Card

My brother is the executor of our mother’s estate (she died in March 2016). His answer to having filed (or not filed) the estate for probate is ambiguous. When I purchased the house from the estate in 2017, he said that he didn’t want to go through all the contents of the house (we have things from our great-grandparents) but that he thought the total worth of the contents was less than the amount for probate. A year later, he said that he would remove himself and our brother from claims on the contents if I would pay each of them $ 6,000.00 (and locate his childhood train set for him). I agreed, but apparently the swiftness of my agreement made him re-think the offer, and he raised it to $ 7,000.00 and “any other money coming to Mom”. When I have tried to get him to define that, he doesn’t answer me. His oldest son thinks he is just hedging his bets. My chosen executor is unwilling to accept the role of executor until this is settled. I have told both brothers that I will open a checking account, and divide the proceeds of the sale of anything between them. The other brother says he doesn’t want any money, and will sign the document drawn up by my estate lawyer, asking only for our father’s fedora. My reading is this: the older brother (the executor) made an offer, I accepted it, he rescinded his own offer, adding qualifiers to it. If I issue a cashier’s check for $7,000.00, must he accept it, and if he does, is that a “real” contract?

Terry Says

No, this isn’t a real contract. And it will not end the problems with your brother.
Here’s a thought. Are you going to keep this house til you die– or are you thinking of moving? If so, pick out the furniture and things you want to sell or get rid of, and put them in the garage. Tell your brothers they can come and get anything they want — each picking one thing, and the other picking the next thing. (Hand your “good” brother the Fedora as a birthday present before doing this!)
Have your lawyer, draw up an agreement that your brothers should each sign saying you are liquidating the final remnants of your parents’ personal property, before you sell the house (which you own, and is in your name). And this agreement should stipulate that any items picked must be removed from the garage within 10 days. Don’t let them into the house.

If they dont’ want anything, you’re set up for a garage sale!

If they want ANYTHING from this property, they must sign the legal agreement that these picks represent their only moment to take anything from the house, regardless of value. Don’t argue over furniture that you plan to keep; it is part of the house you bought from the estate. (And there should have been a sales agreement to this effect as part of the sale of the house and furniture.)

If your brother wants to be argumentative, let him go through the cost of suing you!! Having been give his chance, no judge will hear this case!

PS. Once you do this thorough house cleaning, you can change your mind and not sell the house! And you’ll have unloaded a lot of junk!



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