My family owns a house shared between my father and his three siblings. He spent $100,000 on renovations and wants to buy out his siblings. What can he do?

There has been a property in our family for decades. It was actually divided into four equal shares between the original owners, who are now all deceased. Thus, the children of the owners have the rights to the property. They each have 25%.

My grandmother and her son (my uncle) lived there rent-free for decades until my grandmother passed away a few years ago, and now the other family members want their share of the value of the house .

My side of the family has six siblings. They had a meeting to figure out what to do with the property. Two options: 1. Sell the property and split the proceeds. 2. They pool their money and buy the property from the rest of the family.

The only problem: no brother or sister wanted to shell out the money to buy the property. One of those siblings – my uncle – still lives in the property, lives off Social Security (about $800 a month) and really has no desire to have any kind of work for income.

“If they sold the property, my uncle would have nowhere to live without money to support himself. And he would be extremely unhappy with a certain type of small apartment.

If they sold the property, my uncle would have nowhere to live without money to support himself. And he would be extremely unhappy with a certain type of small apartment. Essentially, my dad was the only one with the financial means to buy the property to keep it in the family.

My dad has invested over $100,000 in it so far. Once he buys the property, he will own it. So he goes through all this hassle of contacting long lost family members to get their signatures for his purchase of the property in exchange for the money owed to them from the property.

Here’s the biggest problem: my dad’s other brother sometimes sleeps in the property, but he mainly uses it to store things from his yard business. The property is therefore quite ransacked. Apparently, he doesn’t make much of a profit from the junk-picking business, so it would be hard for him to pay my dad rent.

He borrowed a lot of money from my father and other family members over the years. My father’s patience with him is wearing thin and he wants his brother to get a real job, instead of trying to run a business while ransacking property.

My dad just wants the property clean, so he can eventually take out a loan to build a house on the land so he can sell it.

Frustrated family member

Dear Frustrated,

First, never invest $100,000 of your own money in a house (a) where you don’t live, (b) that other people use for housing and/or storage, and (c) that is owned to several people, many of whom don’t have the money to redeem you. I understand that spending money on this home will help it maintain and improve its value, but this increased value will likely be split evenly among owners if and when it sells. Your father will have a hard time getting that money back.

The problem is this: your uncle who lives there has every reason in the world to go along with the renovations and make his house more comfortable, but there’s not much reward in giving up that house and renting a bigger apartment. little. He loses the security of being able to live there rent-free and being the proverbial cog in the wheel, preventing the property from being sold and the proceeds being divided among his siblings. It’s a tough place.

Your father’s dilemma is the result of bad succession. Leaving a house to multiple siblings will stir up long-standing resentments and cast an unflattering light on the gap in their financial lives.

If he wants to sell the house rather than let it drag on for years, he should do his best to contact the other owners to let them know if they want to sell or not. Given what you’ve said about other siblings using the property for various purposes, it’s unlikely he’ll come to a consensus. As such, he can undertake a sharing action to force his brothers and sisters to sell their share. The court will decide if there is a valid reason to sell. It could be a costly and bitter legal challenge.

As the law firms of Weiss & Weiss put it in this blog post on the subject of partition: “Where two or more owners cannot agree on the disposition of the property in question, any of the owners can file a partition action in the appropriate court.” And what if there is someone living in the property? “A person remaining in possession does not have the right to block the potential sale of the property simply by living in the property,” the company said.

There may be an investigation: “Each co-owner has the possibility of justifying his contribution to the maintenance of the property, such as the payment of property taxes, insurance, property repairs, and any income he may have drawn from it. . rent the property,” the firm adds. “A court-appointed arbitrator then delivers a report to the court that details what each owner should receive from the sale of the property, incorporating evidence from the investigation.”

Your father’s dilemma is the result of poor estate planning by your grandparents. Leaving a house to multiple siblings will surely stir up long-standing resentments and only shed an unflattering light on the gap in each sibling’s financial life, exacerbating pre-existing tensions. This is where co-owners could take nefarious actions, such as shutting off water and electricity, in a dastardly effort to smoke out other co-owners.

Selling the house then or now would prevent that.

Discover Moneyist’s private Facebook group, where we seek answers to life’s trickiest money problems. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

The Moneyist regrets not being able to answer the questions individually.

By emailing your questions, you agree to have them published anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, in all media and platforms, including via third parties..

Read also :

“I respect all professions equally, but I feel like so many people look down on me for being a waitress”: Americans tip less. Should we step up?

“I am exploited by my own husband”: I pay the bills and give the deposit for our house. All he does is buy stuff and contribute to his 401(k)

My in-laws sold their house and bought an RV. They have $200,000 in the bank. How can they avoid having their assets used for nursing home expenses?

About Ian Crawford

Check Also

NFT rentals are the next big thing in the Blockchain game. Here’s why.

NFT rentals are an interesting idea when it comes to blockchain games, says Anton Link, …