My sister resides in an estate property. My mom passed about 2 1/2 years ago & I have repeatedly asked my sister to pay rent as she is living there for free. She has waffled back & forth repeatedly as to her desires to purchase the house. When I attempted to put it on the market, she removed the lockbox & denies me access to the property. Now, with pressure put upon her, she has offered a ridiculously low price for the property. Also, how would I get an appraiser into the property?
In order to answer your questions, we would first need to look at the provisions of your mother’s will. Did she instruct that the real estate be sold? If not, did she state that her estate should be divide equally among her beneficiaries? In Massachusetts, real estate ownership vests immediately upon death in the beneficiaries subject to divestiture. Therefore it is the beneficiaries’ right to use the property provided there is not a creditor lurking out there with a claim against the property.
If the will stated the estate was to be transferred to the children equally, you have the same rights as your sister to use the property and there is no right to restrict her use or charge rent. It also means that you are a co-owner of the property. You may force the sale of the home by filing a petition to partition the property. Please keep in mind that this is all conjecture as I have not read your mother’s will. I would be happy to review your mother’s will and discuss your options with you. There is no charge for an initial conference.