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Old 08-01-2007, 04:51 PM   #21
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I am sure that there are some bad things to being a lawyer... but in this case they are the only ones that will make money..... now, maybe not as much as you could doing something else... but they are the only 'winner'..

OR... lets just say they are the only ones getting compensation for their trouble...
Guess what, when you don't get the result the Aunt thinks you should have gotten her -- you might be staring down a bar complaint or a malpractice claim from her. Money might not be sufficient to compensate for the headaches you might get in representing the Aunt, if she really is the way the OP has portrayed her.
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Old 08-01-2007, 05:10 PM   #22
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Trust me, she is that bad... Hard to admit she is family but true. The really bad thing is that we spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas together getting on perfectly well it seemed from 1966 when I was born to 2003 when my sister moved into the house and she lost it towards us. We always knew that my Aunt was a little off but never thought that she would take it out on us like this. I am sure my deceased Aunt would just be horrified at the problems this is causing.


No, I assure you that I wouldn't want this case if I was a lawyer :
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Old 08-01-2007, 10:54 PM   #23
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Guess what, when you don't get the result the Aunt thinks you should have gotten her -- you might be staring down a bar complaint or a malpractice claim from her. Money might not be sufficient to compensate for the headaches you might get in representing the Aunt, if she really is the way the OP has portrayed her.

Yea... I can see your point... but isn't that the Aunt's problem getting an attorney
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:49 AM   #24
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A skilled mediator might contact the other family directly without your direct involvement.
If the mediator finds that direct discussion of the parties does not work he might use a "shuttle mediation" style. This would mean that all communication goes through the mediator and is not dome between the parties directly. This takes out a lot of emotions.
I would still think that it is worth a try.
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:28 AM   #25
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Wow, JustMe. I don't really have anything to add, I'm just sorry you are going through this! Some family!

And, as much as I dislike the idea of lawsuits - it sounds like that will be your only option, unfortunately.
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Old 08-02-2007, 08:07 AM   #26
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I wonder if you could get away with something like paying the property tax/insurance, end then file a lien against the portion of the property held by the non-contributing relatives? As long as there is nothing in writing stating who pays the property taxes/insurance/upkeep, I'd presume that it's the equal responsibility of everyone? And if those two are shirking their responsibility, there should be SOME kind of legal recourse.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:31 AM   #27
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Who handled probate? Would they not be the logical intermediary. We had a similar problem when my ex-wife refused to sign a release for her cash stipend in my Dad's will. I had the lawyer handling probate explain to her what her options were. (It was to take the cash now or wait another 6 months getting no interest.)

The obligation of the Executor is to settle these matters. ISTM that the Executor can sell the property, pay off the debts, and then distribute the remaining cash. The cousin can refuse to take her cash so it can remain in trust. If there is insufficient cash to pay the property upkeep (I find that hard to believe. Was the cash already distributed?), then the Executor gets a loan for this purpose against the property that gets paid off with the eventual sale proceeds. The proceeds are distributed equally among the four cousins (with a holdback to cover taxes and other costs).

Any costs of maintaining the estate for the uncooperative cousin get deducted from her share because the estate would have been settled had she signed off on her share. Once she understands this, she will likely become cooperative. If not, who cares?

(Is there any chance that all four cousins have been named co-executors? On that case, there are likely legal obligations in the state that must be complied with.) YMMV
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:04 AM   #28
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Trust me, she is that bad... Hard to admit she is family but true. The really bad thing is that we spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas together getting on perfectly well it seemed from 1966 when I was born to 2003 when my sister moved into the house and she lost it towards us. We always knew that my Aunt was a little off but never thought that she would take it out on us like this. I am sure my deceased Aunt would just be horrified at the problems this is causing.


No, I assure you that I wouldn't want this case if I was a lawyer :
Ok, I trust you on this. But something went terribly awry with your Aunt and I suspect there's something more to it than the free-rent your sister received from your deceased Aunt, if things went along smoothly for 37 years with your family. Her conduct as you have described appears reprehensible, but I'm trying to figure this one out. Maybe she's become mentally unstable, in which case, she needs help, or maybe there's some dark secret in the family that caused her past grief that she's now wants to avenge. I know it's hard to feel some compassion for someone who does not appear to deserve any, but we all have our demons in life.

I hope you can navigate through this problem in a way that satisfactory to your family; I hope you will keep your eye on the prize, which might not just be dirt and some bricks and mortar.

Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:46 AM   #29
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kcowan, an attorney my aunt appointed? handled everything. My dad basically handled everything for my sister and me.

As far as my aunt goes, yes, everything seemed to be fine for all those years to me. We all knew that she was a little "off" she spend several short-term inpatient visits in the local mental facility over the years but all in all seemed to hold it all together. She is a total recluse and control freak and greedy as can be, we all knew that but I just never thought that she would get so upset that my sister used the house. I assure you that had either of my cousins used the house it wouldn't have bothered me in the least. I mean, how would it affect me? It was my aunts house at that time and she was the one who didn't get the rent for the year. We nor them lost anything on the deal!!

The original plan with the properties was to find a renter for my aunts house, and the other 2 houses already have tenents. Then, the whole "we aren't paying property taxes or insurance" thing came up with my aunt.

My father set up an apt with the attorney for early next week and I'll try and report back what he thinks is the best recourse.
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:35 PM   #30
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If it was me, I'd just walk away. This is one of those things I refuse to do. I will not argue with sibilings/aunts/uncles/parents/friends about money.

If somebody wants this so bad, let them have it. My life isn't worth that kind of stress, I don't need money bad enough to fight somebody over it.

My attitude in life is:
1. Today I am happy.

2. When I get property/money that I didn't earn, that somebody else feels they have claim to. (ie. lottery/inheritance/whatever)

3. If it causes me stress and unhappiness.

4. Give it back, give it away, get rid of it.

5. Return to state 1. Today I am happy.

It doesn't matter what is given and how "right" I am about it should be mine, there is nothing material that you could give me that I would be willing to "fight" and "stress" over. Material goods are just that, material goods. They aren't worth it.

You won't live long enough to spend even two months over this issue, let alone the years its going to burn out of your life.

Two months is about the amount of time I would spend trying to come up with a reasonable solution to something like this, and get everybody happy. Once I crossed that threshold, I'd just say... "Thanks, but no thanks. Since it means so much to you, I don't want X, you can have it. All of it. Do whatever you want with it, but I'm not going to fight over it. I have a life to live. I'm gonna go Mountain Biking, see ya when I get back". Then go back to doing whatever I was doing before my life was interrupted by something that has "baggage" attached.

But thats just me, I know I'm strange. I am close to FI, so I know that impacts my thinking process somewhat on these types of issues. I know what its like to have alot of money. I see that it makes life easier to a point, but it can't make you happy. Happy comes from somewhere else.

laters,
-d.
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:34 PM   #31
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If it was me, I'd just walk away. This is one of those things I refuse to do. I will not argue with sibilings/aunts/uncles/parents/friends about money.

If somebody wants this so bad, let them have it. My life isn't worth that kind of stress, I don't need money bad enough to fight somebody over it.

My attitude in life is:
1. Today I am happy.

2. When I get property/money that I didn't earn, that somebody else feels they have claim to. (ie. lottery/inheritance/whatever)

3. If it causes me stress and unhappiness.

4. Give it back, give it away, get rid of it.

5. Return to state 1. Today I am happy.

It doesn't matter what is given and how "right" I am about it should be mine, there is nothing material that you could give me that I would be willing to "fight" and "stress" over. Material goods are just that, material goods. They aren't worth it.

You won't live long enough to spend even two months over this issue, let alone the years its going to burn out of your life.

Two months is about the amount of time I would spend trying to come up with a reasonable solution to something like this, and get everybody happy. Once I crossed that threshold, I'd just say... "Thanks, but no thanks. Since it means so much to you, I don't want X, you can have it. All of it. Do whatever you want with it, but I'm not going to fight over it. I have a life to live. I'm gonna go Mountain Biking, see ya when I get back". Then go back to doing whatever I was doing before my life was interrupted by something that has "baggage" attached.

But thats just me, I know I'm strange. I am close to FI, so I know that impacts my thinking process somewhat on these types of issues. I know what its like to have alot of money. I see that it makes life easier to a point, but it can't make you happy. Happy comes from somewhere else.

laters,
-d.

Good for you... not many people would do this....

But, I am thinking she is talking some real money to her... and to me even if I was completly FI, I would 'fight' for the property some... but not stress over it at all... file the lawsuit and let the lawyer do the dirty work... show up when you need to and go back to being happy..


BTW, to the OP... why don't you or you sister MOVE IN to the property What are they going to do?? Then you pay the taxes etc and have a grand old time... would that piss her off or what
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:06 PM   #32
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Indeed I wish I was a big enough person to just walk away.... but I am not, LOL

Yes, It is a lot of money to me. Well into the 6-figure range. It will be the difference between quitting work at 45 or 55. It may be a pain in the butt to fight, but 10 years of the prime of my life is worth a little pain in the backside.
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:08 PM   #33
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My father set up an apt with the attorney for early next week and I'll try and report back what he thinks is the best recourse.
The lawyer will provide you with advice about the best legal course of action -- only you and your family can made the judgment call on what might be in the best interests of your family, taking into account many intangible factors. If your relationship with your Aunt and cousins is beyond repair for reasons other than property and money, then you ought to act in what is in the best financial interests for your side of the family. Acting in your own self-interest could merely result in adding damage to something that's already beyond repair.

But if you think there is some hope for your Aunt, Uncle and cousins to live in harmony the way you all did for 37 years, which must contain some cherished memories, then acting in your unmitigated self-interest would likely destroy any future hope of repairing the damage. I guess in my view, family means much more to me than dollars, cents, property. I think this whole idea about who's paying the damn taxes and insurance got spun way out of control by both sides of your family.

I think you need to find the right balance here. There should be a medium in keeping the family peace without sacrificing too much financially or emotionally. Before you retain the lawyer and file the partition papers, as he will likely advise, you should do everything in your power to avoid that step if you want your Aunt, Uncle and cousins to be part of your family, in the future.
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:19 PM   #34
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I absolutely understand what you are saying but there is no going back to being a nice happy family again.

This is why it is impossible for me to ever feel the same about her again:
My parents and my Aunt and Uncle vacationed together for many years. Europe, Hawaii, Cruises, RV trips.... etc etc They were close.
Then, my mom got cancer 7 years ago. She did really well for years then it came back last year and has spread very very quickly and she is mostly in bed now on IV morphine. Her time is very short. When my dad told my Aunt to try to put all this aside and come visit my mom before it was too late she said "I don't care, she deserves this suffering". I can not forgive that. I always try to remember that she is mentally not all there but sometimes it is hard. Especially when it comes to my mom.

Perhaps at some point there will be contact between my cousins and me but I am not counting on it.
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:10 PM   #35
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I absolutely understand the pain your Aunt has caused your family; she is not thinking or feeling right; she appears to be mentally impaired -- we generally do not hold people morally or legally accountable for things they say or do when they are not thinking straight because of a mental defect. I have several members of my own family that don't act right because of mental illness.

You don't have to go back to the days of being a nice, happy family; just acknowledging each other's existence might be all that is appropriate under the circumstances. You don't appear to show real malice or hatred to your Aunt -- most families have a crazy Aunt or Uncle they just as soon keep in the closet and never reveal to others -- Your Aunt might be acting in a delusional and paranoid manner which, unfortunately, has some financial consequences to the property you jointly own with your cousins. By all means, you should separate the common ownership bonds in the property among the cousins, but you should be able to keep your familial bonds somewhat in tact and not completely severed.

Good luck.
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Old 08-03-2007, 09:25 AM   #36
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kcowan, an attorney my aunt appointed? handled everything. My dad basically handled everything for my sister and me.
...
The original plan with the properties was to find a renter for my aunts house, and the other 2 houses already have tenents. Then, the whole "we aren't paying property taxes or insurance" thing came up with my aunt.

My father set up an apt with the attorney for early next week and I'll try and report back what he thinks is the best recourse.
I am confused. The aunt who died willed these properties to her four nieces and nephews equally. And the Executor decided, rather than liquidate the three properties and distribute the net proceeds to the heirs, that the heirs would keep the properties and continue to collect rent. Is this through some trust or corporation?

If so, then the organization holding title can make the decisions. The rentals from the 2 properties can be used to cover costs on the third property until it is rented. You need to understand the mechanism by which they planned to make this happen.

And I agree that your surviving aunt should not be required to pay anything.
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Old 08-03-2007, 09:48 AM   #37
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Keith, odds are the personal representative/executor did a deed to the four heirs as tenants in common. For example, when my FIL died my DH and his brother inherited a hunting shack. We just had the personal rep do a deed to DH and bro as tenants in common as neither one wanted to sell the shack.

In the OP's case, given the family dynamics, it was a bad decision not to have the executor sell.
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Old 08-03-2007, 09:51 AM   #38
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I don't think it is set up as a corporation or anything. It is set up so that my dad takes in the rents and distributes it between us 4 cousins. We did/do not want the property sold, the area is increasing in value tremendously. We are just outside of Raleigh right off the interstate. Property here right off the interstate has gone up about 500% or more in the last 10 years. The downturn in the real estate market has not hit this area at all. We have developers calling at least every couple months trying to buy the properties we have. It is not in our benefit to sell right now I feel personally.

Technically, my aunt hasn't anything to do with anything. So, no of course she shouldn't have to pay anything. But the cousins should, my sister living in the house 12 months several years back has nothing to do taxes today.
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:01 AM   #39
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If your dad is collecting and distributing rents, why doesn't he just pay the insurance and taxes from those rents?
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:10 AM   #40
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If your dad is collecting and distributing rents, why doesn't he just pay the insurance and taxes from those rents?
As someone else on the board does every once in awhile.... DING DING DING...

But to throw more onto this.... how did it become his job to collect and distribute? And who decides on new tenants Seems strange to me that he would have any legal right to be doing what he does and the other two might cause some stink if you file a lawsuit...
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