Ask the Experts: Can we buy out our sister’s share of Mom and Dad’s house?

This week , Sacramento estate planning attorney Kay Brooks answers a reader’s question regarding buying out another siblings portion of assets from a living trust in the Sacramento Bee column “Ask the Experts.”

Q: My parents passed away recently, in December 2011 and July 29, 2012. There are three daughters; my two sisters and I are to divide everything equally, according to the living 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 on 2 1/2 acres. The attorneys had us have the house assessed and it 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 then come out of the trust? Does that 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 to the day that my dad died. Do we get a grace period before we have to decide? My sister, the trustee, says we have to decide by November 1, which seems too soon, as we are still grieving our parents. Thank you for any consideration you can give. — Linda, Rocklin, CA

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