Can I reduce my sister's share of the sale of mom's home because of the legal expences she has caused me?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 26, 2016
Cornmc asked...

I am executrix of my mother's estate. One alcoholic sibling is living in the family home and refuses to move until house is sold. She filed a restraining order on me when I asked her to move out. So I am unable to into the house to prepare for sale. I had to hire a lawyer to expunge my record. Can I reduce her share of the sale of the home, buy the legal fees she has incurred?

Expert Answers

Judy and Fred co-mediate family property and financial conflicts, and each work individually as mediators as well. Judy Barber, a mediator and family business consultant, assists clients in resolving overlapping family and money conflicts so they are better able to make sound estate planning decisions. Frederick Hertz is an attorney and mediator who specializes in resolving co-ownership matters involving families, siblings, spouses, cohabitants and domestic partners.

It is unlikely that you could do what you would like to do here. A dispute between the two of you over the restraining order and its legal costs is not really part of the "estate" - and you typically cannot just deduct the costs of the legal problem from her share of the estate. Instead, you have a legal duty to carry out the terms of the estate plan. If you want to seek reimbursement of your legal fees regarding the restraining order you will either need to work this out directly with your sibling - or take it up with a local small claims court. Remember, just because you believe you are entitled to this reimbursement doesn't mean a judge will necessarily agree with you!