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Refusing To Move

Dear Phyllis,
My sister has been living with my mother for 20 years. My mother passed two years ago and as the trustee of the estate I want to sell the home. It’s horse property in Acton on over two acres.

For the last two years my sister has not paid rent. The trust has been paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance. She and I are the only beneficiaries of the estate. She can’t afford to buy me out and is refusing to move. I have offered her help with moving expenses and getting settled but my sister will not even discuss the sale of the home with me.

The home is completely gated with barbed wire on the top of the fence so there is no way to get a sense of anything from the street. The Realtor I spoke to advised me that I must evict my sister if she won’t cooperate with showings. Although we don’t have much of a relationship, I am unwilling to go that far. After the loan is paid there is only about $300,000 of equity and half goes to her. I am thinking I will just stop paying the mortgage and let the bank foreclose. Are there any other options?
~ Hank

Dear Hank,
I understand your reluctance to have your sister evicted. But as the trustee of the estate you have a fiduciary duty to both beneficiaries. Allowing the home to be foreclosed upon could be considered a breach of that responsibility.

As your sister is refusing to move and you won’t evict her, the only option I can come up with is to sell the home AS IS. The buyer will have to evict your sister. I am assuming that your sister will not cooperate with showings or buyer inspections. So, the buyer will need to purchase the home without access. And likely this buyer will be an investor who will want a hefty discount.

As access to the home won’t be possible, I think the Realtor you hire should have drone photography so that the buyer can at least have a sense of the land and horse facilities.

I wish you success in wrapping this up.