From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My husband died several years ago, so I now own the family house. My children get along fairly well, but they should not own this house together. It would cause conflict. There is little else that I own, so I want to make sure that the house is sold and that there is no fight about it. How do I do that?
Two things come to mind.
First, in circumstances like this, I will place specific language in the will instructing the executor to sell the property for fair market value. A child may buy the property, but it must be without any loan from the estate. Therefore, the child is treated like any other buyer.
To further diminish the chances of your children trying to stop this sale, I put in language that any extra costs incurred by the estate because of a child delaying the sale will be taken out of that child’s share of the estate.
Next, you should consider naming a neutral person as executor. A neutral party, such as your lawyer or accountant, will move forward with the sale because it is their duty and responsibility, where a child may delay and hesitate which will cause family conflict. This might increase the cost of your estate, but avoiding a family fight is worth more.
If you have any other questions about probate, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.