From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: After her divorce, my daughter moved into a rental property I own to get on her feet. She was supposed to pay rent, but never has. It now appears she will not be moving out. I don’t want to make an issue of it now. But, if I die, that property is supposed to be sold and the money divided up equally between my two children. If she refuses to move, selling the property will be a problem. Any suggestions?
Recognizing the problem is a good beginning. First, you should revisit whom you have named as the Personal Representative in your will. This person need be firm enough and diplomatic enough to handle this problem. You should consider naming a neutral party to reduce conflict between your children.
Second, consider revising your Will to clearly state that the property must be promptly sold and that any costs incurred because of your daughter will be taken from her share of the estate, plus a steep rental cost if she is not out in a short amount of time. This will prompt her to move, as there is a real cost to her squatting in the house. When she sees she will save money by moving, you have both the carrot and the stick to help her decide that moving out peacefully is in her best interest.
You should also address back rent. You have stated that she has not paid rent. The right to pursue that rent is an asset of your estate. Should this back rent be forgiven or should it reduce her share of the estate? Once you and I have spoken a bit more about your family dynamic, I may have some other ideas.
If you have any other questions about Probate or Estate Planning, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with one of our Burlington County Estate Planning Lawyers.