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Attorneys

Asks the Experts:Trustee can act without her sisters' consent

October 31, 2012

What happens when siblings don’t agree on dividing up their parents’ estate?

That issue is addressed this week by Sacramento estate planning attorney Kay Brooks, part of our online "Ask the Experts" panel.

Q: My parents passed away in December 2011 and July 2012. My two sisters and I are to divide everything equally, according to their trust. Our middle sister is the trustee. Much to our surprise, she wants to make all the decisions without our consent. She insists that we sell the house, which was recently assessed and is well below what we thought it was worth. My other sister and I would like to rent it out until the market is up. I know we can buy her out, but what determines the price? Does the house come out of the trust? Does it involve a lot of legal problems? My parents also owned property in Nevada. Would we be better off just liquidating everything as opposed to waiting for a better market? It has been two months since my dad died. Do we get a grace period before we have to decide? My sister, the trustee, says we need to decide by Nov. 1, which seems too soon, as we are still grieving our parents.

To read Kay Brooks answer, visit the Ask the Expert column here on the Sacbee.com