QLD Buying Our Sister's Share of Deceased Estate - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Boogalooo, 11 March 2018.

  1. Boogalooo

    Boogalooo Active Member

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    We want to buy our sister's share of the family home, and she is being very difficult. We wanted to get a valuation and pay her from the rest of the estate, the fair market value. We got two informal estimates ourselves - one a market appraisal on the house site alone ($800,000), and one written price range estimate from a real estate agent (1.1 - 12 mil for both titles). We offered to agree on a value for both at 1.2, the upper end of the real estate agents quote and quote generous we felt.

    She quotes a verbal quote from a real estate agent we weren't party to that the seperate title sold on it's own would get $8-900,000 - and wants 1.6 mil for both, which she has 'kindly' dropped to 1.5.

    The house is in terrible condition and the real estate agent we spoke to thought of the seperate title attached to the house block as a 'perk' that could tempt a buyer to take on the massive project of the house.

    Our next step is to let the executor of will know we can't agree on a value, and from there he will arrange his own valuation that we must both agree on.

    So my questions are:

    1) Are we legally able to acquire her share if we want to acquire at the fair market value of the valuation we both agree to accept, or can she force a sale?

    2) If she insists more money can be gained at a sale than the valuation indicates, by renovating the house with funds from the estate before selling, do we just have to cop this coming from the estate?

    3) Should we start looking for a new house or can we just relax that she will be obliged to let us acquire the family house at market value according to the valuation?

    She's being absolutely horrid and bullying us terribly.

    Other info: The deceased estate is my husband and his sister's parent's who died last year and it has been in probate since, with us living in and trying to repair what we can in the property. The executor of will is an independent person, not a beneficiary, and his instructions are to liquidate and divide all assets (we think this might affect our ability to keep the house if my husband's sister pushes the issue).

    He has given us the option to agree on a value before getting his own valuation, and this is the point we found out our sister (my sister-in-law) thinks she can get more putting it up for sale.

    Thanks kindly to any who troubled to read all this!

    And thanks kindly for any answers, this is all so confusing.

    Also - we aren't living here because we have to, we do own our own house. We moved in when my husband's father went into aged care to clean, keep the lawn mowed, pool looked after etc to minimise costs to the estate. It's costing us money but we thought we were contributing to the family as a whole in the long run. We can move out at any time and leave the expenses of maintaining it to the estate.
     
  2. winston wolf

    winston wolf Well-Known Member

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    The short answer is its up to the executor. To some extent the wording of the will can affect the executors options.
    Beneficiaries have no authority and few rights apart from getting what the will bequests.
     
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  3. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Maybe, she's just not conveniently bending to your will.
    As a general thing, if you want to buy her out, then you can't use estate money to do it, you have to use your own.
    It may be helpful to remember that "market appraisal" and "valuation" are not the same thing
    (even when real estate agents speak and behave as though they are).

    None of you can sell it. At the moment, at law, the only person who can do that is the executor.
    And no, I don't see where you have any special right to buy it ahead of anybody else in the market.
    Hard to say without knowing all the back story.
    All in all, it's the executor's decision.

    There's a difference between genuine "repair", and "improvement". Improvement suggests spending with a view (speculation) to a downstream return greater than the "spend" (ie: a capital gain).

    Having regard to the executor's general duty to preserve capital, which can include generally avoiding using estate capital to speculate with, I don't see where any of the beneficiaries can compel the executor to do anything.
    Firstly, she's not doing the selling. It's the executor who has instructions to do that.
    The testamentary intent is to sell it and split the cash. It's pretty unusual for an executor to depart from instructions that are that clear.
     
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  4. Boogalooo

    Boogalooo Active Member

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    OK, thanks. I guess our next move is to, well, move. :)
     
  5. Boogalooo

    Boogalooo Active Member

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    We got the 'official' valuation from the executor today - not a proper market appraisal, just one from a real estate agent. It's much higher than the real one we got many months ago. We're expected to purchase at this optimistic stab at a price or send it to market.

    My problem is that it was intrinsically unfair of the executor and the other beneficiary to string us along thinking we'd be able to fairly divide the value, in fact even making the value go up as we cleaned and repaired it at our expense (and most of which we'll never even be able to claim for because it was mainly our time and hard work - like removing the hoarding, clearing fence lines and restoring the pool).

    If we'd been accurately informed - that we would have to acquire our sister-in-laws half at a real estate agents optimistic quote we would never have done all this, could have put the house on the market months ago, and saved ourselves so much time and expense. Our sister-in-law has in contrast benefited enormously at our expense, saving costs to the estate from cleaning and maintenance and repair and from the increase in market value while she dawdled.

    It would be really good if there were clearer guidelines to stop one sibling getting taken advantage of when real estate is distributed for deceased estates. But the main lesson I've learned is that I'm gonna make my will so damn specific there won't be any doubt - no expensive executor, just clear guidelines on how to value and divide my estate.
     
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